Provides a focus for further insight into the workings of Hitler's Reich and its repressive apparatus.




The story of Georg Elser, the man who tried to kill Hitler.

In the fall of 1938, Elser made the decision to assassinate the dictator around the time of the celebration of the anniversary of the 1923 Munich Beer Hall Putsch. Elser later told one of his interrogators, “I wanted to prevent even greater bloodshed through my act.” Haasis recounts how Elser placed an explosive device in a pillar supporting the roofing above the speaker's platform of the beer hall. His device worked exactly as planned, killing eight people, but Hitler had left for Berlin shortly before. Haasis provides a clear portrait of the different components of the Nazi police state and details Himmler's personal involvement in brutal beatings of Elser. He was executed at Dachau in 1945. The author has put the story together from recollections of family, co-workers and others, as well as historical records. His effort has been as much to celebrate Elser's indomitable courage as to rescue his reputation. In the decades since his execution, Elser has been accused of being an SS agent and provocateur who was given special treatment within the concentration-camp system. Haasis details just what that special treatment involved for Elser, his family, his work mates and the communities where they lived and worked.

Provides a focus for further insight into the workings of Hitler's Reich and its repressive apparatus.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61608-741-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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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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