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Tag Archive for ‘Nazi Germany’

An excellent Maisie Dobbs novel from Jacqueline Winspear

Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs #9), by Jacqueline Winspear @@@@ (4 out of 5) Throughout his life, Eddie Pettit was considered “slow.” Naive and trusting to a fault, he was indeed slow to understand much of what was said to him. But Eddie had two great gifts. He possessed a prodigious memory, not just for… Read More ›

My new book: a fresh look at dystopian novels

After the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the US, The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, and Brave New World returned to the bestseller lists. The reemergence of these classic dystopian novels prompted me to take a closer look at the genre. In the months that followed, I refreshed my memory of the three classics and other… Read More ›

Another excellent novel in the Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr

A German Requiem (Bernie Gunther #3), by Philip Kerr @@@@ (4 out of 5) It’s 1947. Berlin is a shambles. The meager amount of food available is rationed, leaving the surviving German population on the verge of starvation while the occupying forces eat their fill. The city is sharply divided between the eastern, Soviet-occupied zone… Read More ›

A Soviet spy in Nazi Germany

A Single Spy, by William Christie @@@@@ (5 out of 5) 1936. Soviet Azerbaijan. Alexsi, in flight from the violence of an orphanage since the age of thirteen, is living on the streets of Baku when he falls in with a gang of tribesmen who live by smuggling goods over the border between the Soviet… Read More ›

In an alternate history, the Nazis occupy England

SS-GB, by Len Deighton @@@@ (4 out of 5) In the literature of alternate history, Nazi Germany often wins World War II. Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, Fatherland by Robert Harris, and Jo Walton’s Farthing Trilogy (Farthing, Ha’penny, and Half a Crown, all reviewed here) are prominent examples. There are many others,… Read More ›

My 15 favorite detective novels

The 15 detective novels listed below may not be the 15 “best” detective novels, even by my uniquely idiosyncratic criteria. I’d read a lot of work in the genre even before I began writing these reviews in January 2010—and there are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of detective novels I’ve never read. This list consists… Read More ›

Reading “The Handmaid’s Tale” in the Age of Trump

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood @@@@@ (5 out of 5) In a front-page essay in The New York Times Book Review for March 19, 2017, Margaret Atwood reflects on writing her science fiction classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. “Back in 1984,” she notes, “the main premise seemed—even to me—fairly outrageous. Would I be able to… Read More ›

Forced sterilization, fascists, and serial murder—in Denmark

The Purity of Vengeance (Department Q #4), by Jussi Adler-Olsen @@@@ (4 out of 5) Many Americans harbor an image of Denmark as one of the most progressive and livable countries in the world. That may well be the case—the country’s rankings on global indexes support it—but you might well gain a different impression of… Read More ›

Nazis, pacifists, and spies in 1930s Britain

A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs #8), by Jacqueline Winspear @@@@ (4 out of 5) December 1932. Adolf Hitler is agitating to become Chancellor of Germany as his following grows. Many Britons, too, especially the aristocracy, are finding a lot to like in Herr Hitler and his Nazi Party. In increasing numbers, they are campaigning… Read More ›

Cynicism and romanticism in Nazi Germany

The Lady from Zagreb (Bernie Gunther #10), by Philip Kerr @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Philip Kerr has written a series of eleven novels featuring homicide detective Bernie Gunther in Nazi Germany. I hope there will be more. It’s hard to resist characters who would think such things as this: “Being a Berlin cop in… Read More ›