THE BIRTHDAY KING by Gabriel Fielding
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Our fortunes are with Greater Germany"". We must survive the crisis with ""discretion and foresight"" -- this remark, by one of the characters in Gabriel Fielding's implacable, impressive novel of inside Hitler's Germany explains the spiritual metabolism of a great many of those who temporized and compromised in the touchy business of material self-interest and physical self-preservation. They are certainly as guilty as those that stoked the fires of the crematoria. Prominent here are the Weidmanns, an industrialist family of sufficient prestige to avoid the taint of their Jewish blood lines, thinned by intermarriage, and their old friends, the von Hoffbachs, who play the social game in Berlin with the Hitler hierarchy. Most of the characters pursue an expedient course but particularly Ruprecht Weidmann, the younger of two sons anxious to get his hands on the family factories, while Alfred, the older, with a strong religious drift, needs to resolve his own spiritual and political convictions. Thus he is an easy victim for Rupecht's betrayal which leads to a more comfortable internment first and then the horrors observed in an extermination camp. It is an admirable book, a forceful illumination and considered indictment of the ""innocent malevolence"" of the Germans and there are scenes and characters of depth as well as sharpness. To be read (reluctantly by some) and remembered, but perhaps less likely to appeal than the Greenbloom cycle.

Publisher: Morrow