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

DEFYING HITLER

THE GERMANS WHO RESISTED NAZI RULE

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...

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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