A considerable work that promises to be the preferred text in English on the brown-shirted stormtroopers for some time to...

STORMTROOPERS

A NEW HISTORY OF HITLER'S BROWNSHIRTS

An exhaustive examination of Hitler’s Sturmabteilungen, aka the SA.

As Siemens (History, Philosophy, and Theology/Bielefeld Univ.; The Making of a Nazi Hero: The Murder and Myth of Horst Wessel, 2013, tec.) reports in this revelatory scholarly survey, the SA, founded soon after the Treaty of Versailles in the 1920s, was once not the only popular substitute for Germany’s demolished war machine; it soon became the sole “people’s militia” serving as an adjunct of the nascent Nazi Party. The stormtroopers were generally undereducated and unemployed young men with a gang mentality, and they shared a love of uniforms and a distinct hatred of Bolsheviks and Jews. Hitler often wore the stormtroopers’ uniform, made by Hugo Boss. The SA became so powerful as their rancorous numbers increased that the Führer had their erstwhile leader, Ernst Röhm, murdered along with many others during the notorious “Night of the Long Knives” in 1934. The SA, no longer a threat to the regime, still had important functions under their new boss, Heinrich Himmler, and the group took a prominent role in the murder of Jews. Stormtroopers were instrumental in the deadly Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, and they excelled as guards in prisons and concentration camps. During the war, a few stormtroopers were selected to resettle on farms in enemy territory, and some were appointed as diplomats in occupied regions. Many others were drafted into the Wehrmacht, where their sociopathic tendencies were well-employed. Siemens’ book, land-mined with Teutonic compound nouns, is decidedly not a pop history. It is a scholarly work, assiduously researched and filled with illustrative examples and case studies covering the development of the SA, its role in a fight against Versailles and Weimar, its cruelties, its survival, and its legacy today. It will be a significant source of discussion and an influence on the historiography of the Third Reich.

A considerable work that promises to be the preferred text in English on the brown-shirted stormtroopers for some time to come.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-300-19681-8

Page Count: 504

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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