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Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the…
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Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power (2012)

by Andrew Nagorski

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I am always interested in how something like the rise of the Nazis happened. This gives a good understanding, viewpoints of outsiders who were given a priviliged view of this horrible transformation. He does a pretty good job of keeping the characters identified. Very interesting book. ( )
  Luke_Brown | Sep 10, 2016 |
My Review: I can't remember ever reading a book that I took such an interest in that was factually based on history. Everything I knew prior to reading this book on Hitler I got from history text books and what I was taught in school. I was amazed by how much I did not know. I came out of this asking questions, which, I believe, is essential to great literature. When your mind is further engaged to want to do further research on what you've just read, then the author has truly done their job. Of course not every book is written with that outcome in mind but this book definitely got me wanting to learn more about WWII. So much so I will be purchasing and reading the book on the History of the Third Reich written by Shirer, one of the main people in this book, Hitlerland.

If you want to get a first hand feel of what it was like to be an American living in or just visiting Germany just before Adolf Hitler came into power, this is the book to read. Not only that, but this takes the journal/diary entries of several journalists who were able to interview Hitler himself! It's mind-boggling to understand their mindset as they were sent to Germany with the express purpose of informing those in the United States is this man was truly a threat. Many either felt he was too insane to pay any real attention to while the few who had a bad feeling were told not to "over exaggerate" their isolated feelings so as not to incite an unnecessary fear here in the U.S.!

Read the rest of my review here. ( )
  ericadrayton | Jan 8, 2015 |
A companion to Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts. Author tells the story of pre-war Nazi Germany through the eyes of American journalists and others who are residing in Germany. ( )
  Waltersgn | Mar 26, 2013 |
A very detailed and thorough look at an interesting slice of history. There were quite a few times when things became repetitive with references to quotes, people, and events being mentioned as if the author forgot he included them earlier. For an excellent look at this period in history I would recommend Eric Larson's "In the Garden of Beasts" - a much better work. ( )
  labdaddy4 | Nov 8, 2012 |
This 2012 book examines in much detail the doings of Americans in Germany who had contact with Hitler and his party. Particular attention is paid to Putsi Hanfstaengl, a Harvard grad who sought to be an intimate friend of Hitler. Also the not very stellar roles played by the American aambassadors (Frederick Sackett, William Dodd, and High Wilson) is related. William Shirer and Edgar Mowrer are newsmen who were perceptive and one thinks well of. The account of the 1930's and Hitler's interaction with Americans is of consideable interest, but the accounts of the time prior thereto and after seemed less deserving of one's attention. On balance, this is probably not a very important book and I cannot think my time was well spent reading it. ( )
  Schmerguls | Nov 2, 2012 |
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Even today, people treat Berlin in the 1920's like a Rorschach test.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 143919100X, Hardcover)

Hitler’s rise to power, Germany’s march to the abyss, as seen through the eyes of Americans—diplomats, military, expats, visiting authors, Olympic athletes—who watched horrified and up close. By tapping a rich vein of personal testimonies, Hitlerland offers a gripping narrative full of surprising twists—and a startlingly fresh perspective on this heavily dissected era.

Some of the Americans in Weimar and then Hitler’s Germany were merely casual observers, others deliberately blind; a few were Nazi apologists. But most slowly began to understand the horror of what was unfolding, even when they found it difficult to grasp the breadth of the catastrophe.

Among the journalists, William Shirer, Edgar Mowrer, and Dorothy Thompson were increasingly alarmed. Consul General George Messersmith stood out among the American diplomats because of his passion and courage. Truman Smith, the first American official to meet Hitler, was an astute political observer and a remarkably resourceful military attachÉ. Historian William Dodd, whom FDR tapped as ambassador in Hitler’s Berlin, left disillusioned; his daughter Martha scandalized the embassy with her procession of lovers from her initial infatuation with Nazis she took up with. She ended as a Soviet spy.

On the scene were George Kennan, who would become famous as the architect of containment; Richard Helms, who rose to the top of the CIA; Howard K. Smith, who would coanchor the ABC Evening News. The list of prominent visitors included writers Sinclair Lewis and Thomas Wolfe, famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, the great athlete Jesse Owens, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, and black sociologist and historian W.E.B. Dubois.

Observing Hitler and his movement up close, the most perceptive of these Americans helped their reluctant countrymen begin to understand the nature of Nazi Germany as it ruthlessly eliminated political opponents, instilled hatred of Jews and anyone deemed a member of an inferior race, and readied its military and its people for a war for global domination. They helped prepare Americans for the years of struggle ahead.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:17 -0400)

Hitler's rise to power, Germany's march to the abyss, as seen through the eyes of Americans--diplomats, military, expats, visiting authors, Olympic athletes--who watched horrified and up close. By tapping a rich vein of personal testimonies, Hitlerland offers a startlingly fresh perspective on this heavily dissected era. Some of the Americans in Weimar and then Hitler's Germany were merely casual observers, others deliberately blind; a few were Nazi apologists. But most slowly began to understand the horror of what was unfolding, even when they found it difficult to grasp the breadth of the catastrophe. The most perceptive of these Americans helped their reluctant countrymen begin to understand the nature of Nazi Germany as it ruthlessly eliminated political opponents, instilled hatred of Jews and anyone deemed a member of an inferior race, and readied its military and its people for a war for global domination.--From publisher description.… (more)

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