A lucid work of historical argumentation that succeeds in establishing compromise as a crucial instrument in Hitler’s...



An in-depth examination of the tactical compromises Hitler made in order to consolidate power.

Stoltzfus (Holocaust Studies/Florida State Univ.; Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany, 1996, etc.) offers a novel interpretation of Hitler’s rise to power and continued popularity as a dictator, depicting him as a surprisingly flexible tactician who frequently achieved more through compromise than he did through terror or his oft-cited charisma. In sharp contrast to Stalin’s brutal, inflexible methods, Hitler was willing to “compromise with the German people when the political stakes were high enough.” While Hitler took the “most extreme and brutal course” against Jews, “homosexuals, unproductive ‘useless eaters,’ or other social aliens,” he avoided using force whenever possible against “German-blooded” citizens. Stoltzfus convincingly argues that the Führer was obsessed with pleasing his populist base, giving ground or making deals whenever conflicts between the state and the people became exceptionally contentious or visible. The author relies on specific examples to prove his point, including Hitler’s determination—after the “notorious failure” of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch—to pursue the “legal course” in his quest for power, despite his loathing of democracy. Stoltzfus explains how Hitler’s determination to attend to the whims of the German public grew out of his understanding that “the radical dimensions of the Nazi mission” would require that the Nazi Party “try harder to ingratiate itself to the German masses in every way possible.” The author goes on to examine numerous unpopular issues on which the dictator compromised, such as the “euthanasia” policy, attempts to limit the church’s influence, and civilian evacuations. Rather than making purely academic distinctions, Stoltzfus advances a cogent argument with broad moral, historical, and sociological implications. While armchair generals might find the material dry, serious students of history will be thoroughly engaged.

A lucid work of historical argumentation that succeeds in establishing compromise as a crucial instrument in Hitler’s political arsenal.

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-300-21750-6

Page Count: 424

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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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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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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