A deeply researched work that passionately challenges the popular myth that “the German people followed Hitler as if as one...




Stirring portraits of a motley assortment of unlikely heroes in the fight against the Nazis.

Recently deceased investigative reporter and author Thomas and documentary filmmaker and journalist Lewis (co-authors: Shadow Warriors of World War II: The Daring Women of the OSS and SOE, 2017) plunge readers directly into the action, offering an entertaining account of the diverse group of people who managed to subvert the Nazi intentions in some way. The authors move chronologically, from Hitler’s assumption of the chancellorship in early 1933 and the first demonstrations of brutal Nazi tactics to the cataclysmic end of the war. The public burning of books alarmed American-born academic Mildred Fish-Harnack, who was married to a senior German economics official, Arvid Harnack. With her friends, they galvanized sympathetic colleagues against the regime, providing secrets to the Americans and to the Soviets in the form of the Rote Kapelle group. The authors note that 45 people connected to that group were “sentenced to death,” and Mildred was “the first and only American woman executed on the order of Hitler.” Within the official Nazi apparatus, Gen. Hans Oster was working against the grain, with ambivalent Adm. Wilhelm Canaris looking the other way. In a very strange case, Kurt Gerstein reluctantly joined the SS and became one of the first to reveal the horrific inner workings of the concentration camps. Most poignantly, the authors delineate the courageous work of the young Munich students Hans and Sophie Scholl and others, whose White Rose group prevailed at least for a short time. The authors also recount the valiant, failed attempt by the group led by Col. Henning von Tresckow and Col. Claus von Stauffenberg to assassinate Hitler. All paid dearly for their brave defiance.

A deeply researched work that passionately challenges the popular myth that “the German people followed Hitler as if as one mass, mesmerized like the children of Hamelin by the Pied Piper.”

Pub Date: April 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-451-48904-3

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Dutton Caliber

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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


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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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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