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Travellers in the Third Reich

by Julia Boyd

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month History

LoveReading View on Travellers in the Third Reich

The acclaimed history of the rise of the Nazis based on fascinating first-hand accounts. One of the Daily Telegraph's Best Books of 2017; A Guardian `Readers' Choice' Best Book of 2017; Without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what's right in front of your eyes?; 

Based on fascinating firsthand accounts, this illuminating book asks what it was like to travel in the Third Reich during the interwar era. Was it possible to know what was really going on? Was it possible for a visiting outsider “to grasp the essence of National Socialism”? 

The accounts of a multitude of travellers are surveyed - ordinary tourists, academics and athletes, alongside royalty, celebrities and creative types like Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. Their experiences and responses are recounted in all their intriguing variation - bewilderment, obliviousness, internal outrage, scholarly outrage. I found the chapter on African American academic and Germanophile Professor William Edward Burghardt Du Bois particularly engrossing. Du Bois visited Germany in 1936 seeking to study race prejudice, but the organisation that commissioned his trip instead permitted him to investigate education and industry. He returned to report the “vindictive cruelty” of the “campaign against the Jews” and, while he experienced no “personal insult or discrimination” himself, he posited the view that matters might be different “if there were any number of Negroes in Germany”. 

Spritely in tone, and finely researched, this is an engaging must-read for those with an interest in German history, and in social history per se. It might also serve as a cautionary tale to pay closer attention to the world around us.

Joanne Owen

Travellers in the Third Reich Synopsis

The events that took place in Germany between 1919 and 1945 were dramatic and terrible but there were also moments of confusion, of doubt - of hope. How easy was it to know what was actually going on, to grasp the essence of National Socialism, to remain untouched by the propaganda or predict the Holocaust?; Travellers in the Third Reich is an extraordinary history of the rise of the Nazis based on fascinating first-hand accounts, drawing together a multitude of voices and stories, including students, politicians, musicians, diplomats, schoolchildren, communists, scholars, athletes, poets, journalists, fascists, artists, tourists, even celebrities like Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett. Their experiences create a remarkable three-dimensional picture of Germany under Hitler - one so palpable that the reader will feel, hear, even breathe the atmosphere.; These are the accidental eyewitnesses to history. Disturbing, absurd, moving, and ranging from the deeply trivial to the deeply tragic, their tales give a fresh insight into the complexities of the Third Reich, its paradoxes and its ultimate destruction.

Travellers in the Third Reich Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

The American-centric and anthology are charged with failing to provide analysis, something Boyd is not entirely innocent of, yet her well-written book nonetheless remains a guilty pleasure. Full review

Lee Ruddin

A fascinating insight into the rise of a dictatorship as seen through the eyes of ordinary people. Full review

Annette Woolfson

Very interesting account, lots of different points of view to point a full picture-how this could ever happen to humanity? Full review

Agnieszka Higney

A fascinating journey through Germany between the world wars. We see many viewpoints from tourists who feared the journey & those who loved it plus the changing cities for those who live there. Full review

Cathy Small

Travellers in the Third Reich Press Reviews

'A compelling historical narrative ... both flatters and challenges our hindsight. [Boyd] lets her voices, skilfully orchestrated, speak for themselves, which they do with great eloquence - The Daily Telegraph; Fascinating ... surreal scenes pepper Boyd's deep trawl of travellers tales from the scores of visitors who were drawn to the new Germany in the 1930s'- The Spectator

'Contains many amazing anecdotes ... It warns us that we, with our all-seeing hindsight, might ourselves have been fooled or beguiled or inclined to make excuses, had we been there at the time. I can thoroughly recommend it as a contribution to knowledge and an absorbing and stimulating book in itself - Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday; A fascinating book' -- Robert Elms, BBC Radio London

'To a younger generation it seems incomprehensible that after the tragic Great War people and political leaders allowed themselves to march into the abyss again. Julia Boyd's book, drawing on wide experience and forensic research, seeks to answer some of these questions.' -- Randolph Churchill

'With an almost novelistic touch, [Boyd] presents a range of stories of human interest ... The uncomfortable moral of Travellers in the Third Reich is that people see and hear only what they already want to see and hear' -- David Pryce-Jones, Standpoint

'Fascinating ... This absorbing and beautifully organised book is full of small encounters that jolt the reader into a historical past that seems still very near' - Lucy Lethbridge, The Tablet

'In the 1930s the most cultured and technologically advanced country in Europe tumbled into the abyss. In this deeply researched book Julia Boyd lets us view Germany's astonishing fall through foreign eyes. Her vivid tapestry of human stories is a delightful, often moving read. It also offers sobering lessons for our own day when strong leaders are again all the rage' -- Professor David Reynolds, author of The Long Shadow

'The Great War and the 20th Century; Drawing on the unpublished experiences of outsiders inside the Third Reich, Julia Boyd provides dazzling new perspectives on the Germany that Hitler built. Her book is a tour de force of historical research' - Dr Piers Brendon, author of The Dark Valley

'A Panorama of the 1930s What was Nazi Germany really like in the run up to the Second World War? Julia Boyd's painstakingly researched and deeply nuanced book shows how this troubled country appeared to travellers of the 1930s who did not have the benefit of hindsight. A truly fascinating read' -- Keith Lowe, Sunday Times bestselling author of Savage Continent and Inferno

'Engrossing ... skilfully woven together to create a three-dimensional picture of Germany under Hitler that has many resonances for today' -- Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller

'A revealing and original account. Some of Adolf Hitler's fellow travellers, lulled by self-deception, gulled by propaganda, deluded themselves about Nazi Germany as they deceived others.' - Sir John Tusa

'Julia Boyd has conducted a vast range and volume of research. The numerous witnesses of Germany under Hitler whom she quotes have different ages, nationalities, backgrounds and opinions. Out of the multitude of first-hand accounts she spins a tapestry which is full of vivid detail and gradually creates a coherent whole. The horrors of the Hitler regime and how it came to power, and the suffering of ordinary people, are brought to life. The book is comprehensive, informative and full of life. I wish I could have read it before I first worked in post-war Germany. I would have understood better the Germans whom I knew and admired even more what West Germans achieved after 1945. A glorious read for anyone with an interest in the history of the twentieth century.' - Sir Christopher Mallaby, former ambassador to Germany and France

'Unique, original and engagingly written. This account of visitors and tourists to Germany brings to life these difficult decades in a most refreshing way [and] should attract a wide circle of readers' - Dr Zare Steiner, author of The Lights that Failed: European International History 1919-1933 

'An entertaining popular history ... a fascinating book. Boyd lets the voices from the past speak to us ... opinions that are sometimes shocking and often thought provoking. Traveller attitudes give an insight into the feelings before the war, often at odds with or in more depth than many standard histories ... very readable' - Paul Burke, nudge-book.com


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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781783963812
Publication date: 10/05/2018
Publisher: Elliott & Thompson Limited
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781783963812
Publication date: 10th May 2018
Author: Julia Boyd
Publisher: Elliott & Thompson Limited
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 496 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, History,
Categories: European history, Fascism & Nazism, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,

About Julia Boyd

Julia Boyd is the author of A Dance with the Dragon: The Vanished World of Peking's Foreign Colony, The Excellent Doctor Blackwell: The Life of the First Woman Physician and Hannah Riddell: An Englishwoman in Japan. An experienced researcher, she has scoured archives all over the world to find original material for her books. As the wife of a former diplomat, she lived in Germany from 1977 to 1981. Previously a trustee of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, she now lives in London.

More About Julia Boyd

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