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Tag Archive for ‘Nazi Germany’

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 ›

An intimate take on German history

The House by the Lake: One House, Five Families, and a Hundred Years of German History, by Thomas Harding @@@@ (4 out of 5) There are several ways to approach history. You can focus on the broad political and social trends in society at large and how they evolve over time. You can look into… Read More ›

Mass murder in the Katyn Forest

A Man Without Breath (Bernie Gunther #9), by Philip Kerr @@@@ (5 out of 5) In the spring of 1940, Josef Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD, systematically murdered some 22,000 Poles. Among the victims were half the members of the Polish officer corps, police officers, government representatives, royalty, and leading members of Poland’s civilian population…. Read More ›

17 books that illuminate the World War II era

If you’ve been reading my reviews for very long, you’re aware that the World War II era holds special fascination for me. This might have something to do with the fact that I was born then — in fact, about six months before the USA entered the war. Or maybe it’s just because it all… Read More ›

The penny press, Amos ‘n Andy, and pop-up ads

The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads, by Tim Wu @@@@@ (5 out of 5) If you’ve been paying attention, you can’t have missed the changes in the character of advertising over the course of your life. Certainly, I have. Chances are, you were born in the age of radio, at… Read More ›