A GOOD GERMAN by Giles MacDonogh


Adam von Trott zu Solz
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 A close look into Hitler's Germany via the life of aristocratic anti-Nazi Adam von Trott zu Solz, by British historian MacDonogh. Handsome, highly intelligent, and principled, Trott (1909-44) was born to make his mark. As a Rhodes scholar at Oxford and part of the flourishing German/English culture of the time, he was both a social success and accepted by distinguished scholars like A.L. Rowse. MacDonogh looks at Trott's life via personal letters from and to his friends, comments by those friends, and descriptions of his behavior and basic concerns. The finely detailed narrative creates an impressive, tactile reality, making clear what it was like for Trott to be torn between love of country and knowledge of its corruption, unable to affect its course. Trott certainly tried to do just that, though, using his talents and connections to work from within the Third Reich--and in so doing lost many of those closest to him, Britons who could not forgive him for remaining at home. Trott rose to become an emissary of Hitler's Germany, dissembling at home, distrusted abroad, his proposals compromised into impossibility, his life poisoned, a tortured man, and at times an apologist. (Trott's stand on the Jews is ambivalent--he grew close to a half-Jewish British woman but seemed unable to grasp what was happening in Germany.) What to do when your country is bent on genocide and war? Whatever else he did, Trott remained very human, marrying the woman he loved and having children. In the end, all his cards played without effect, Trott joined the bomb plot against Hitler and died for his beliefs. A fine biography and an evocative portrait of Trott's times. (Twenty-eight b&w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: April 8th, 1992
ISBN: 0-87951-449-3
Page count: 358pp
Publisher: Overlook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1992


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