Books by Anton Gill

Released: July 1, 2003

"Overall, there are better choices in this crowded field."
Disappointing account of the creation of a great work of art. Read full book review >
ART LOVER by Anton Gill
Released: April 8, 2002

"Serious but plenty juicy: a treat for both aficionados of modern art and readers of celebrity bios. (24 pages b&w photos, not seen)"
An inclusive account of the eventful life led by a driving influence in the world of modern art, by British playwright and historian Gill (An Honourable Defeat, 1994, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 11, 1994

A succinct, informative, and well-written history of attempts by Germans to kill or overthrow Hitler. Gill, an Anglo-German historian (A Dance Between Flames: Berlin Between the Wars, p. 192), focuses largely on the resistance network within the German ``establishment'': the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church, the Foreign Office, the Abwehr (German secret service), and, above all, the army. Focusing on the years 193844, he chronicles such key events as the coup d'Çtat planned by a group of officers at the time of the Munich crisis, a coup they would have implemented had Hitler gone to war instead of winning major concessions from British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. Such efforts culminated in the July 20, 1944, near-miss of a bomb assassination attempt against Hitler by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. It resulted in massive bloodletting against thousands of real and suspected conspirators, was widely denounced within the Third Reich, and was undervalued both abroad and in postwar West Germany, but a July 1944 New York Times editorial aptly called the bombing an ``honorable treason.'' In colorful prose, the author demonstrates how possible anti-Nazi uprisings and assassination attempts were repeatedly thwarted by the conspirators' dawdling and individual failures of nerve, by Allied (particularly British) indifference and mistrust of the conspirators, and by bad luck. He scants communist resistance, although he does delve into the White Rose and other German student groups. Unfortunately, Gill makes almost no mention of Germans who hid or otherwise aided Jews, political dissidents, or those threatened by the ``euthanasia'' campaign. Still, he skillfully uses German and English sources and provides a chart illustrating the resistance network and a ``Who's Who'' of anti-Hitler conspirators. Like the late Barbara Tuchman, Gill has deftly synthesized scholarly and more popular historical writing to produce an impressively accessible and interesting work. (Maps, 25 b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >
Released: April 15, 1994

In a vivid, detailed, and powerful depiction of political and cultural life in Berlin from before WW I to 1938, Gill (The Journey Back from Hell—not reviewed, etc.) conveys the passion, diversity, energy, as well as the waste, rage and alienation that inspired the art, the politics, and ultimately the Second World War. Gill details the warring artistic ideologies of the time with an intensity equal to that with which he treats the political clashes: the nihilism and discontent of Dadaism; the architecture of Gropius and van der Rohe; the experimental art of Kandinsky and Klee; the obscurities of poets and novelists such as Rilke and Mann; the social commentary of playwrights such as Brecht and Weil; the film industry, which was reborn in a city where the air is ``like a dry white wine''; and the sense of possibility and novelty created by a remarkable concentration of talent that included publishers, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts of all stripes. Behind the glamour of all that creativity, however, there was a level of decadence, that was reflected in a preoccupation with sex, crime, and suicide, exploited in the press, and captured so brilliantly in Isherwood's Good-bye Berlin. The cultural diversity included the rioting lower classes, the politically dispossessed trade unions, the displaced Russian emigrÇs (Stanislavsky, Eisenstein, Gorky, Pavlova), and the Jews, who were prominent in the sciences, the universities, and the entertainment industry until shortly before 1933, when Hitler initiated the campaign of anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust. Against the great cultural background and the creative individualism of the artists, the emergence of Hitler is all the more sinister. While scrupulously maintaining his documentary perspective, Gill reveals the conditions that generated those crucial concerns about art and politics with which contemporary societies—the free and the unfree—are still preoccupied. Read full book review >