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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.
Credulous characters have always proffered sustenance and succour to tyrannies and tyrants. Much of the literature concerning “useful idiots” has, understandably given the phrase is attributed to Lenin, concentrated on Soviet sympathisers and those misinterpreting a dystopia for Utopia. It is timely therefore that light was shone on dark individuals duped into saying good things about another bad regime: Communism’s totalitarian twin Nazism. Yet Julia Boyd’s Travellers in the Third Reich is not it.
I say this because her book is more about travellers than fellow-travellers. Testimonies from a Jewish Boy Scout and Quakers – who bookend the chronologically-themed, 456-page hardback that starts and finishes in 1919 and 1945 respectively – feature alongside a Prussian princess and African-American academics. The cast is colourful though it is a black-and-white photograph that stands out. Arguably more striking is Boyd’s novelistic yet nuanced account, specifically her ability to add grey to the black-and-white, post-war perspective of issues facing the inter-war traveller. Anti-Semitism inside Germany was not confined to Nazi Brownshirts or simply green outsiders, however, since this period is rightly described as ‘unashamedly racist’.
The monograph-of-sorts by Kristin Semmens is not cited in the bibliography, which is surprising because Seeing Hitler’s Germany concentrates on the regime’s use of tourism as a propaganda tool. Andrew Nagorski’s Hitlerland is similarly overlooked but Oliver Lubrich’s edited Travels in the Reich features.
A fascinating insight into the rise of a dictatorship as seen through the eyes of ordinary people.
I have to admit up front that I am not a great reader of nonfiction, but this title caught my eye and I have to say I was not disappointed. I have always wondered how ordinary German people somehow allowed the Nazis to garner the power they did, and this book goes a long way in explaining it for me. In a relatively short space of time, a country which had been brought to its knees after the Great War was somehow seen by the German people and indeed, the world at large, as a country to be envied and emulated. National Socialism had brought a sense of purpose and order to the nation along with a sense of pride. If on occasions the methods employed seemed harsh this could be forgiven.
It was a complete revelation to me that so many British and American youngsters were dispatched to Germany on educational trips and the fact that this continued to happen until early 1939 is almost beyond belief.
Stylistically, the reader is quickly drawn in and the different points of view of people from all walks of life and experience paints a very complete picture of life in inter-war Germany. This book caught my attention, held my attention and continues to stay in my mind now that I have finished it, for someone who doesn’t read much non-fiction that is quite impressive.
Very interesting account, lots of different points of view to point a full picture-how this could ever happen to humanity?
This book is something else!
The accounts of people portrayed in this work paints a painful picture of how indeed holocaust could ever happen. How could an average man ever think Nazism was possible and something that has grown so much, and so out of proportion?
Holocaust as a result seems so hard to understand-and here we can get a true picture of its beginning of the creation of evil. It's not a depressing book,but very,very eye-opening and educating. Very cleverly put together and crafted from little scraps sometimes, you get another perspective.
Would highly recommend.
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.
Julia takes us into the world of Germany following the war to understand what is was like for the citizens and the tourists. There is an honesty throughout the book as the story is told that shares the false entertainment to the tourists and residents with undertones that things hadn't change since the end of the war and that it still wasn't over. We see Hitler in the eyes of many people for some who hail him as the hero for admiration and others who genuinely fear for themselves. We see the instability of a country who is trying to get back to the normality for its people but failing in many ways. It is a well written book that takes you into the world of Germany that will leave you with many questions but also a greater understanding.
|Publication date:||10th May 2018|
|Publisher:||Elliott & Thompson Limited|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, History,|
|Categories:||European history, Fascism & Nazism, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,|