THE DEFENDERS by Franz Hoellering


Email this review


This is a book that should have had more chance than circumstances are likely now to award it. The period and setting are Austria of the pre-anschluss period, when members of the same family did not know where one or another stood, and where friends and acquaintances and strangers regarded each other with mutual suspicion. Nazi penetration, socialists, communists, set conservatives and liberals at each others' throats, civil war trembling just beneath the surface. Against this background is told the story of a cross section of Vienna, from the upper titled ranks to the dregs, with the central plot built around a doctor's daughter, engaged to a man of the landed aristocracy and finding (himself) falling in love with a youth who was caught in the wrecking of the Socialist party. It is a story packed with implications of vital concern to us now, but the rank and file of readers seem to be turning from such books at the moment. Watch the trend. By August it may have swung again -- and this book may catch on the upward rise of interest in the steps by which events launched themselves in Europe in 1936, the last stand of liberalism in central Europe.

Publisher: Little, Brown