Although this was a tempest in a teapot, readers will enjoy Selby’s account of a hitherto-obscure Nazi plot and the...

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THE AXMANN CONSPIRACY

THE NAZI PLAN FOR A FOURTH REICH AND HOW THE U.S. ARMY DEFEATED IT

An entertaining account of a last-gasp Nazi effort.

The director of Hitler Youth escaped Hitler’s bunker after his suicide and attempted to organize a postwar Nazi underground movement. He did not succeed. Selby’s (co-author: Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History, 2010) narrative is partly a dual biography of Artur Axmann (1913-96), an important Nazi official, and Jack Hunter (1921–2009), the American counterintelligence officer who tracked him. Mostly, the book is a procedural. The author follows Hunter, other American operatives and their German undercover workers as they investigate, infiltrate and, finally, after less than a year, round up Axmann and several dozen members of a trucking firm that employed a remarkable number of ex-Youth personnel but did not otherwise seem threatening. While the book’s title is wildly hyperbolic, contemporaries without the benefit of hindsight had to deal with Joseph Goebbels’ fiery 1945 warnings that loyal Nazis would retreat to a well-stocked fortress and fight on until the Allies tired of occupying the Reich. This “operation werewolf” was never more than rhetoric, and Axmann quickly dropped plans for violent resistance. His group planned to build a commercial organization whose income and influence would support a revived Nazi party after the occupation. Most of those arrested were tried, imprisoned for a few years, and then released to live out their lives in a prospering West Germany.

Although this was a tempest in a teapot, readers will enjoy Selby’s account of a hitherto-obscure Nazi plot and the energetic counterintelligence that foiled it.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-425-25270-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton Caliber

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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