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HITLER'S ARISTOCRATS

THE SECRET POWER PLAYERS IN BRITAIN AND AMERICA WHO SUPPORTED THE NAZIS, 1923-1941

Highly readable drama of highborn traitors who enthusiastically aided the Nazi ascent to power.

A character-driven chronicle of the numerous British and American elites who abetted Hitler’s efforts to seize and maintain power.

Many of these names (the Mitford sisters, Sir Oswald Mosley) will be well known to students of fascist history. However, British American biographer Ronald, author of Hitler’s Art Thief, among other books, capably unearths the efforts of dozens of others who helped pave the way for getting Hitler’s “big lie” accepted by so many. The inability to accept Germany’s defeat in World War I and the ramifications of the punitive Treaty of Versailles fed the fantasy that the old order of ruptured aristocracies could be restored. Shady characters with aristocratic ties—e.g., Ernst “Putzi” Sedgwick von Hanfstaengl, a German American businessman and “Nazi English-speaking foreign press service,” and Princess Stephanie zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, a wily spy and monarchist—acted as Hitler’s go-betweens in wooing the British and American upper crust to advocate for the Nazi regime, write favorable stories about Hitler, and infiltrate the embassies. Putzi coached Hitler on his rhetoric, while Princess Stephanie enlisted the favors of Harold Harmsworth, Lord Rothermere, the British press baron, and got Hitler to appoint Joachim von Ribbentrop as head of the German foreign office in England. In this keen study, Ronald emphasizes the shocking extent to which American corporations like Du Pont and General Motors supported the pro-German fascist groups in the U.S., not to mention the behind-the-scenes support of Hitler’s own “alchemists” like I.G. Farben. The biggest-name sympathizers were, of course, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, ultimately exiled by Churchill to govern the Bahamas to keep them out of mischief. Even Martha Dodd, the daughter of William Dodd, the fervently anti-Nazi American ambassador to Germany, was seduced by the Nazi machine, and she went on to become an unrepentant spy.

Highly readable drama of highborn traitors who enthusiastically aided the Nazi ascent to power.

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 9781250276551

Page Count: 464

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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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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