ISBN13:978-0312421137 ISBN10: 0312421133 This edition has also been released as: ISBN13: 978-0374161576 ISBN10: 0374161577
Summary: Written in 1939 and unpublished until 2000, Sebastian Haffner's memoir of the rise of Nazism in Germany offers a unique portrait of the lives of ordinary German citizens between the wars. Covering 1907 to 1933, his eyewitness account provides a portrait of a country in constant flux: from the rise of the First Corps, the right-wing voluntary military force set up in 1918 to suppress Communism and precursor to the Nazi storm troopers, to the Hitler Youth movement; fro
m the apocalyptic year of 1923 when inflation crippled the country to Hitler's rise to power. This fascinating personal history elucidates how the average German grappled with a rapidly changing society, while chronicling day-to-day changes in attitudes, beliefs, politics, and prejudices.
Summary: Written in 1939 and unpublished until 2000, Sebastian Haffner's memoir of the rise of Nazism in Germany offers a unique portrait of the lives of ordinary German citizens between the wars. Covering 1907 to 1933, his eyewitness account provides a portrait of a country in constant flux: from the rise of the First Corps, the right-wing voluntary military force set up in 1918 to suppress Communism and precursor to the Nazi storm troopers, to the Hitler Youth movement; from the apocalyptic year of 1923 when inflation crippled the country to Hitler's rise to power. This fascinating personal history elucidates how the average German grappled with a rapidly changing society, while chronicling day-to-day changes in attitudes, beliefs, politics, and prejudices. ...show less
Edition/Copyright:02 Cover: Paperback Publisher:St. Martins Press, Inc. Year Published: 2002 International: No
"An astonishing memoir . . . The book does two things extraordinarily well. The first, as Haffner's son notes in an afterword, is to provide persuasive answers to questions that continue to pit thinking Germans against their parents and grandparents: 'How were the Nazi's possible?' and 'Why didn't you stop them?' A second accomplishment is to present a series of vignettes that vividly convey the texture of life under an emerging totalitarian regime . . . A minor unfinished masterpiece."
--Gabriel Schoenfeld, The New York Times Book Review
"In a little over 300 pages, Haffner offers a solution to one of the great mysteries of the 20th century: why one of the most civilized nations in the world capitulated without a struggle, prostrating itself before the most fiendish gang ever to seize control of a modern state . . . I cannot think of another book that shows us, so concisely and so eloquently, what became of the Germans, and how and why they became Nazis."
--Daniel Johnson, Commentary
"Sebastian Haffner's Defying Hitler has joined All Quiet on the Western Front on my list of essential texts for an undergraduate course on the World Wars. Clearly written and gripping, this young German's memoir of coming of age between the wars allows students to understand the abstractions they read about in conventional history texts: Haffner's descriptions--sometimes sardonic, sometimes humorous, always honest--of how he and his friends responded to the loss of World War I, rampant inflation, political instability, and the increasingly oppressive presence of the Nazis make fascinating reading. But Defying Hitler is more than a narrative, although students will be caught up in the suspense of the story; Haffner also pauses for original and fascinating reflections on the meaning of his experiences, the appeal of Nazism to his own generation, and the nature of historical writing. This is one of those rare books that teaches as it delights."
--Professor Elisabeth Gitter, John Jay College, author of The Imprisoned Guest
"A remarkably insightful and refreshing account, unfettered by the impulse to apologize or penchant to eulogize victims that burden many memoirs written after Nazism's evil reached its peak."
--Galina Vromen, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Young Americans often have only a vague understanding of what daily life in a totalitarian regime is like. What makes this memoir of growing up in Germany before and during Hitler's seizure of power so remarkable is the fact that its young protagonist was not the member of a persecuted minority but a solid bourgeois headed toward a law career. Yet he chose to stand out, inspired by his liberal beliefs and by the depth and firmness of his hatred of Nazism. Equally remarkable was his ability to analyze the flaws in the German political culture that led to the wide-spread popularity of Hitler. Haffner's comments on the domination of private life by public affairs in and after World War I; on Walter Rathenau, the Jewish foreign minister assassinated in 1922; and on the ways in which non-Nazis made their peace with the regime are but a few examples of his insights . . . Haffner's story ends in 1933. In 1938 he left for England, where he became a prominent journalist and political writer, but he never returned to his memoir, which his son published in Germany in 2000. This English-language edition is a marvel of intelligence."
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