QUEST: Searching for Germany's Nazi Past by Ib & Frank Brandenburg Melchoir

QUEST: Searching for Germany's Nazi Past

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Veteran thriller-writer Melchoir (Code Name: Grand Guignol, 1987; V-3, 1985, etc.) teams up with a young West German to detail the latter's research on the surviving Third Reich hierarchy. In 1979, Brandenburg, then 16, watched the American-produced miniseries Holocaust and became obsessed with discovering the truth behind that barbaric chapter of German history. Resolving to learn the realities of WW II by interviewing surviving Nazis, Brandenburg acquired dozens of firsthand accounts over the next seven years. He quickly learned that the ""so-called Holocaust,"" which was denied and downplayed by high-ranking Nazis, was an appalling fact. He broadened the scope of his original quest to incorporate ""more exciting, much more enigmatic questions,"" such as the postwar fate of Reichsleiter Martin Bormann; the extent of contemporary Nazi influence and power; the whereabouts of a missing planeload of Hitler's secret documents; and the facts concerning the planning of Rudolf Hess's flight to England in 1941. Continually warned of the danger of too much curiosity, Brandenburg discontinued his ""oral history"" when he realized that the Nazi organization was recruiting him and his ""new blood"" to perpetuate Hitler's ideology. Unfortunately, Melchoir's third-person narrative fails to explore Brandenburg's motivation fully for undertaking and then renouncing his schoolboy odyssey, while casting the events in clichÉd, cliff-hanging short chapters. And in spite of some suspenseful close calls with danger--a pointed gun, suspicious East German police, angry dogs--the narrative ends anticlimactically and falls to resolve the questions that had fueled the major portion of Brandenburg's quest. A potentially fascinating memoir obscured by a heavy-handed attempt to reduce it to a genre tale of suspense.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Presidio