A dense but valuable contribution to the endless literature surrounding the Third Reich.




Some had their heads shaved, and some became NASA engineers: a thoroughgoing look at the various ways Europeans accommodated their conquerors.

There are many ways to cooperate or collaborate with an enemy power, and people do so for many reasons. As Morgan (Senior Fellow/Univ. of Hull; The Fall of Mussolini: Italy, the Italians, and the Second World War, 2007, etc.) notes, drawing a distinction between collaboration and collaborationism, Hitler’s conquest of Europe occasioned many variations on those themes. Some people acted willingly according to the dictates of the occupying Nazis because they were true believers; some of them did so because it gave them advantages and favors and earned them money. Some did so, less willingly, out of desperation and hunger, and some collaborated in order to be left alone. As Morgan shows, the more ethnically alike the conquered people were with the Germans, the more independent they were allowed to be—at least for a time. The author charts an irony: In order to keep the peace, a German bureaucrat stationed in Denmark warned that the Jews were going to be deported to concentration camps, having been protected by the government until Hitler, miffed at a presumed slight on the part of the Danish king, decided to end an exercise in self-rule. The Jews left for neutral Sweden, allowing the Danes to declare, in keeping with the Nazi desideratum, that their country was “Jew-free.” Crisis averted. On that instance, writes the author, “you could not make this Danish story up: a German SS officer ‘saves’ the Jews in order to salvage collaboration.” The story did not always end so well. In an illustration of the banality of evil, Morgan chronicles the story of a Dutch record-keeper whose methods of determining who was Jewish or not were superior to the Nazis’ own techniques, making him a key ally—one who was punished only lightly after the war, proving that collaboration sometimes does pay.

A dense but valuable contribution to the endless literature surrounding the Third Reich.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-19-923973-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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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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