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9 Works 324 Members 22 Reviews

About the Author

Oliver Hilmes, borin in 1971, studied history, politics, and psychology in Paris, Marburg, and Potsdam, and holds a doctorate in twentieth-century history. His best-selling work includes Malevolent Muse: The Life of Alma Mahler and Cosima Wagner: The Lady of Bayreuth. Most recently he has published show more Franz Liszt: Musician, Celebrity, Superstar and Ludwig II: Der unzeitgem e Knig. show less

Includes the names: O. Hilmes, Oliver Hilmes

Image credit: © Maximilian Lautenschläger

Works by Oliver Hilmes


Common Knowledge



On the whole, this feels like a good effort at capturing the mood of the Berlin Olympics, which is perhaps the last moment that one could pretend to there being normality before the juggernaut of war is unleashed once again. The one thing that gives me pause is that the library copy that I read was marked up by someone who felt that the author had made a hash of their getting the historic monetary costs of then compared to now wrong, so I don't know how much I should truly trust this work. Still, I have to admit that Hilmes does tell a gripping story, as Hitler and his leadership put their best foot forward, while making their future plans.… (more)
Shrike58 | 5 other reviews | Mar 20, 2021 |
Hilmes' "Berlin 1936" is a wonderful piece of social history.
Using a background of the Berlin Olympic Games, he takes us into the lives of the wealthy and poor, the privileged and powerful, the oppressed and threatened.
His research is meticulous, and I particularly appreciated the 'What became of...?' chapter that concludes the book.
This is an excellently written history.
buttsy1 | 5 other reviews | Nov 2, 2020 |
I received an electronic version of this book, #Berlin1936 from #NetGalley before it was released. This is my honest evaluation of the English translation, due to be published in early 2018.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I found it riveting for a number of reasons. My mother is German, and her family lived through this era in Germany. I visited Germany four decades later, and speak Germany fluently. Before leaving my corporate job to become an educator, I worked for a German multinational firm, so this is a culture with which I thought I was familiar. I also read Erik Larsen's book about the American ambassador to Germany at that time, and I teach American Government and International Relations courses.

With all of that background, I still learned about aspects of history that I did not know. The stylistic choice to present events each day, using the day's documents and reports, did keep it from being a smooth narrative, but while it was something that "bugged" me, I understand and respect the author's decision. Reading about the machinations of the propaganda machine that was the Nazi regime is something that I think would be beneficial to all of us, as a reminder of the dangers of appeasement and overlooking the intolerance of a tyrant in favor of a lot of bling. Hitler managed to do it in 1936. Did Putin do the same in Sochi? Is that what the history books fifty years from now will say?

Read this for a fascinating glimpse into Nazi Germany as it successfully fooled the world by hosting the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did - and if you're wondering about the 5-star rating despite my mention of the structure, it is because it does tell the story in the way the storyteller wants to tell it. So yes, I would definitely recommend this, and already have to several of my colleagues who teach history.
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ptkpepe98 | 5 other reviews | Mar 19, 2018 |
While I enjoyed the book, this was not the storyline I expected. The book was riveting in sections, as a student of German history. The back drop of this book is the Berlin Olympics, 1936, and is a montage of stories surrounding that event.

I am giving the book four stars for interesting subject matter, and not five as it wasn't a cohesive story as I expected. I found the politics frightening in relation to what I witness currently in the US.

Thank you to #NetGallery for the opportunity to receive this . book prior to publication as an advanced reader e-copy, in exchange for an honest review.… (more)
karennovakoski | 5 other reviews | Jan 17, 2018 |


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