INSIDE HITLER'S GREECE

THE EXPERIENCE OF OCCUPATION, 1941-1944

Up-close, anecdotal look at the Nazi occupation in Greece, by Mazower (Modern History and International Relations/University of Essex). What with ideology, global strategies, and battle tales, it's easy to overlook what daily life was like for a non-Aryan nation under the Third Reich. From the German anti-aircraft gun in front of the Temple of Olympus and children playing a few yards from resistance fighters left hanging dead by their necks, to the utter disruption of family life and complete economic collapse, Mazower elucidates the particulars of Hitler's fate for non-Aryans. The author's tone is almost detached, but his documentation is overwhelming: Rich and poor Greeks have their say, as do Germans and American observers, and it's clear that even at the peak of its success, Nazi rule—nearly unchallenged and seemingly invincible- -included ``sadistic overtones.'' Hitler wanted to plunder Greece, and, according to Goering's orders, the German leaders ``could not care less...that people...are dying of hunger. Let them perish so long as no German starves.'' Mazower examines how this brutal policy clashed with Greek culture, inspiring local brigands to resistance. Anecdotal evidence abounds here, including stories of priests, whores, politicians, defeated soldiers, black marketeers, and men shipped to work in Germany. Meanwhile, Mazower explores the German experience as well: the satisfaction of controlling what was respected in the West as the birthplace of culture; the profound relief of serving in Greece, away from the Russian front; and, ultimately, the SS terror system as it bore down on the resistance. A grinding, horrific experience, intimately explored. (Seventy illustrations)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 1993

ISBN: 0-300-05804-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1993

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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