A lucid account of a spectacular if disheartening success story.

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THE UNFATHOMABLE ASCENT

HOW HITLER CAME TO POWER

A history of the “stunning turn of events” that led to Hitler’s dictatorship.

That flamboyant men whom no one takes seriously become national leaders no longer surprises anyone, but Hitler’s rise shocked everyone, and Range’s lively addition to the groaning bookshelves on the Führer describes the critical years from 1919 to 1933. In 1919, a penniless immigrant from Austria but already a World War I veteran and fierce German nationalist, Hitler attended a meeting of the German Workers’ Party, a tiny Munich group whose extreme views appealed to him. He joined, and his dazzling oratory quickly made him the party’s leader and a Munich celebrity. By 1923, his party (now with “national socialist” added to its name) numbered over 50,000, and he launched his famous beer hall “putsch,” which failed but produced a great deal of publicity. Released from prison at the end of 1924, he resumed party leadership. For the remainder of the relatively prosperous 1920s, Nazis remained a negligible political force, but Hitler’s fierce anti-government, racist rhetoric kept them in the news. Matters changed when the Depression crushed Germany’s economy. To worldwide amazement, the Nazis received 6.4 million votes in the 1930 election (eight times their 1928 total) and over 100 seats in the Reichstag. Their vote doubled again in 1932. Germany’s leaders could no longer ignore the nation’s largest political party, but Hitler refused any government position except chancellor. Finally, after nearly a year of national paralysis, conservative figures convinced themselves that they could control Hitler from subordinate positions in the cabinet, and he took office on Jan. 30, 1933. Every reader beginning this lucid, provocative history will want to know how such a fringe character with views abhorrent to educated citizens could become a national leader. Range provides the answer: persistence, luck, and an ignorant establishment—all qualities as common today as a century ago.

A lucid account of a spectacular if disheartening success story. (8-page b/w insert; map; timeline; cast of characters)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-43512-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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