A resounding victory in historiography.



Superbly written finale to Cambridge University historian Evans’s three-volume study of Nazi Germany (after The Coming of the Third Reich, 2004, and The Third Reich in Power, 2005).

Hitler had promised, “Give me ten years and you’ll see what I’ve made out of Germany,” and early on in the 1940s his subjects had the growing feeling that what he was making was not good. By 1945, one woman recorded, the promise “has for months been his most often-quoted, out of bitterness.” Daringly, she burned her Nazi flag, joining a resistance that had been gathering strength since 1943, when, as Evans notes, the French and various Yugoslavian factions, among many other groups, became a real military presence in German-occupied lands. Evans’s view is panoramic and thematic. Early in this sprawling book, he recognizes the Nazi “final solution” as a primary motive for war, particularly in the East, and he discusses the Nazi policy of Jewish eradication in chilling detail. Interestingly, the author is always looking for chinks in the armor. He notes, for instance, that Hermann Göring objected to the resettlement of Jews as detrimental to the war economy, even as Nazi typologists were trying to invent categories to admit pro-Nazi poles into the German ethnic ranks. (Uncomfortably for them, Poles in the resistance, by Nazi accounts, tended to have “a significant proportion of Nordic blood.”) Evans charts the steadily deteriorating German course of war, from the end of the U-boat campaign in the Atlantic to Stalingrad and the Allied advance into the German homeland. His notes on the denouement—including the incomplete denazification of German government and the arrival into the United States and many South American nations of known war criminals—are fascinating as well. But why another book on the Third Reich? Evans closes stirringly: It is necessary to study the Nazi regime as an example of what can happen if—well, let Evans tell that story for himself.

A resounding victory in historiography.

Pub Date: March 23, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59420-206-3

Page Count: 928

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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