Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


The Hand That Signed The Paper

by Helen Darville

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1302170,561 (2.3)10
The story of the colonised people of Ukraine and those that sided with the Nazis during the Second World War.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 10 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
I read this before the revelations of her true identity etc. The writing is self-conscious in an irritating way. The story, though repulsive, shows a writer with an independent mind, willing to go places others would not. But unfortunately, her style is so lumpy and awkward that the whole thing becomes a chore to read. There is not enough light and shade, the characters are all so much the same, full of an unending brutality that numbed me. It reads more like a sort of propaganda, showing an undeveloped sense of understanding of humans and society, and how to portray them. ( )
1 vote thewordygecko | Jun 23, 2006 |
Winner of the Franklin Literary Award (leading Australian award), but very controversial when it was discovered that the author was not who she said she was, i.e., the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants and who, it was proven, had committed plagiarism in her past. The personal fabrications of the author were quite fantastic and seem an interesting comment on the gullibility of the media or the lack of critical faculty when dealing with a "popular" phenomenon. Those aside, we can judge the book on its own merits.

It is not up to the standard I would expect for a major literary award, nor to the standard I know from other Australian writers. In fact, it is not a book I would recommend to a friend. One friend noted a gross inconsistency in the considerable unlikelihood of the use of Gaelic in that time and place (as was supposedly done by a couple of characters when they did not wish to be understood by others). There were a couple of other elements that jarred. One was the completely undeveloped and unexplained metamorphosis of Kretschmann, the true believer and devoted Nazi who, post-war, experiences some sort of epiphany and devotes his life to the Peace Corps in a life-long struggle against racism. Not impossible, I suppose, but hard to swallow at face value. The treatment of the "cultured" German officer is superficial. There is a line about him regarding the Ukrainians with anthropological disinterest because he was steeped in the writings of Margaret Mead which struck me as a bit over the edge. I looked up the dates of Mead's publications; it is possible to have been reading some of her earlier work at that time, but I somehow doubt that it was on the interest lists of very many National Socialists. I really laughed at the description of the German officer reprimanding the concentration camp inmate who was loading books in a truck with, "empiricism over here...How dare you put J.S.Mill beside Nietszche?"! Somehow the dialogue does not ring true.

The book has been attacked as an apologia for Ukrainian complicity in the Holocaust. The problem lies in the confusion between understanding and exculpation or, as a friend put it, the a lack of moral stance. The author does a decent job of showing that it would not be much of a stretch for someone who grew up in the benighted, anti-Semitic atmosphere of the Ukraine, to become an active participant in systematic murder of Jews. However, to understand the social or historical milieu is not to excuse or approve and it is here that the author fails.
1 vote John | Nov 29, 2005 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Orig. publ. under pseudonym Helen Demidenko
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


The story of the colonised people of Ukraine and those that sided with the Nazis during the Second World War.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (2.3)
0.5 1
1 2
1.5 1
2 1
2.5 1
3 1
3.5 1
4 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 166,130,649 books! | Top bar: Always visible