A superb account of the growth and day-to-day functioning of the Nazi state.



Attaining power is one thing, as the first volume—The Coming of the Third Reich (2004)—in Cambridge historian Evans’s trilogy on Nazi Germany demonstrated. The challenge is keeping it.

If a European of 1910 had had to guess where a violent irruption of anti-Semitism would occur within a few decades, the answer likely would have been France. Germany achieved the distinction when the avowedly racist Nazi Party took its place at the head of government and promulgated laws “against class struggle and materialism, for the national community and an idealistic outlook.” After the Night of the Long Knives, the Nazis were effectively unopposed; yet, by Evans’s account, much of their effort was thereafter directed toward convincing the German people to buy into the antireligious, totalitarian tenets of the police state. As late as 1939, many German teachers paid only lip service to Nazism; one student recalls, “It was very difficult for me to accept any teaching at all, because I never knew how much the teacher believed in it or not.” The Nazi leadership had to contend not only with resistance on the part of adults, but also with an exuberant Hitler Youth as wild and uncontrollable as the Red Guards would prove to be in China. Eventually, the Nazis secured near-total power, yet what really won hearts and minds was the party’s fulfillment of “the basic desire of the vast majority for order, security, jobs, the possibility of improved living standards and advancement”—all the things that the Weimar government had not been able to deliver. That vast majority seemed largely unmoved that Jews, gays, the political opposition and other undesirables were disappearing, or that the government quickly forgot its promises to save the middle class and small businesses and instead took the interests of the major corporations as its own.

A superb account of the growth and day-to-day functioning of the Nazi state.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2005

ISBN: 1-59420-074-2

Page Count: 800

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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



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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