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AN HONOURABLE DEFEAT

THE FIGHT AGAINST NATIONAL SOCIALISM IN GERMANY, 1933-1945

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)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 1994

ISBN: 0-8050-3514-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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