A peerless work, the first of a projected three volumes. Of immense importance to general readers—and even some...

THE COMING OF THE THIRD REICH

A brilliant synthesis of German history, enumerating and elucidating the social, political, and cultural trends that made the rise of Nazism possible.

But by no means inevitable, writes Evans (History/Cambridge Univ.; In Defense of History, 1999, etc.); indeed, many of the material and cultural conditions for the rise of a regime that “would make a systematic attempt to kill all the Jews of Europe and kill nearly six million in the process” were more pronounced in France and Russia than in Germany. Yet, he notes, “Nazism, while far from being the unavoidable outcome of the course of German history, certainly did draw for it success on political and ideological traditions and developments that were specifically German in their nature.” Some of those traditions arose during the reign of Otto von Bismarck, who, in unifying Germany, universalized military service and “saw to it that the army was virtually a state within a state,” answerable to a strong leader alone. Others welled up from Social Darwinist thinkers who believed that the fittest should survive and the weakest be eliminated, thus improving racial stocks and building supermen. The early Nazis found comfort in the example of Weimar leader Paul von Hindenburg, who “had no faith in democratic institutions and no intention of defending them from their enemies”; they found more comfort in the brutal example of the Russian Revolution and the Leninist state, which threatened to spill over into Germany and drove many a middle-class man and woman far to the right. All these strains came together such that there was “substantial overlap between the Nazis’ ideology and that of the conservatives [and] even, to a considerable extent, that of German liberals”—opening the door to the Nazi ascendancy while offering hope to many Germans of the time that their country’s future would be one “in which class antagonisms and party-political squabbles would be overcome” and prosperity and national pride restored.

A peerless work, the first of a projected three volumes. Of immense importance to general readers—and even some specialists—seeking to understand the origins of the Nazi regime.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2004

ISBN: 1-59420-004-1

Page Count: 632

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2003

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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