Sebastian Haffner was a non-Jewish German who emigrated to England in 1938. This memoir (written in 1939 but only published now for the first time) begins in 1914 when the family summer holiday is cut short by the outbreak of war, and ends with Hitler's assumption of power in 1933. It is a portrait of himself and his own generation in Germany, those born between 1900 and 1910, and brilliantly explains through his own experiences and those of his friends how that generation came to be seduced by Hitler and Nazism. The Germans lacked an outlet for self-expression: where the French had amour, food and wine, and the British their gardens and their pets, the Germans had nothing, leading to a tendency towards mass psychosis. The upheaval of post-WWI revolution, factionalism and inflation left the Germans addicted to excitement and action: Hitler provided this, and more.
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To add to our wonderful collection of reviews, we've now amassing a good setof recommendations for Summer Reading: AC Grayling says it "offers several kinds of valuable insight" in The Guardian and we've three recommendations in the Sunday Telegraph. Miriam Gross says it's "as gripping as any thriller I've ever read", Anthony Daniels says "brilliant, moving and terrifying evocation of destruction of civilisation in Germany by the Nazis" and Richard Overy says "Brief, well-written, honest, this memoir of growing up in Germany after the First World War suddenly begins to make sense of the question: How was Hitler possible?" Susan Greenfield in the Observer praises "The dual perspective of the author not knowing what the outcome would be, and that makes it vivid and menacing." And also in the Observer, Robert McCrum makes this his firstchoice for history to take on holiday: "an unforgettable memoir of life in Germany during the rise of the Nazis, a mesmerising study of the way a generation surrendered to Hitler." And Elizabeth Buchan also chooses this in The Times. Richard Overy in the Literary Review: "At one point in Defying Hitler itsauthor asks the reader the rhetorical question: why bother to read this book? For many writers this would be a merited act of authorial self-destruction.In Haffner's case the answer is mercifully kind: his book simply cannot be put aside. As a memoir of live in Germany during the Nazi rise to power, it isunsurpassable." And another by Antony Beevor (who needs no introduction) in the Daily Telegraph: "This book, like the diaries of Viktor Klemperer shows that one can often learn far more about the psychological collapse of decent Germany from the observations of a sharp-eyed and honest witness than from thousands of pages of academic analysis years after the event.... This account, written in 1939 during Haffner's exile in England, and hidden away until a couple of years ago, provides an astonishingly effective and well-written explanation of how the Nazis managed so easily to exploit Germany's psychological weaknesses, with such devastating results for everyone." "There could not be a better time than now to be given a fresh, close-up eyewitness account of how Germany allowed Hitler to slide into power in 1933...The book has already topped the bestseller list in Germany for a year. No wonder. It reads as compellingly as a top-class thriller."Peter Lewis, Daily Mail "This is a short, stabbing, brilliant book."Max Hastings, Sunday Telegraph "If you have never read a book about Nazi Germany before, or if you have already read a thousand, Iwould urge you to read Defying Hitler. It sings with wisdom and understanding, and through a deft patchwork of the historical and the personal, manages somehow to explain the inexplicable."Craig Brown, Book of the Week', Mail on Sunday "Each of us sometimes asks what we would have done if we had been youngand German in 1933. There could scarcely be a better way to explore this question than to read Haffner's book." Evening Standard 'Written with all the pacing of a good novel, it is a page-turner, with the necessary suspense made up for by an all-pervasive sense of menace.'Adam Zamoyski, Sunday Times "It isnothing less than a clear-eyed autogiographical analysis of the German character as it appeared to the writer, and who experienced it, in his own heart and mind, in Berlin during the inter-war years." The Times "Episodes from everyday life provide memorable illustrations of what was happening throughout the country... This is a riveting story." Spectator With a very successful event (with Sebastian Haffner's son) at the London Jewish Cultural Centre on 9 May, and further reviews confirmed in all the major national newspapers, including The Independent on Sunday, Times and Sunday Times, plus a big interview wi
About Sebastian Haffner
Sebastian Haffner (orig. Raimund Pretzel) was born in 1907 in Berlin. He emigrated to England in 1938, and changed his name to protect his relatives in Germany from persecution. He wrote for the OBSERVER for many years, and became a British citizen in 1948. He returned to Germany in 1954, where he was a prominent journalist and historian, writing for DIE WELT and STERN. He died in 1999.
Defying Hitler: A Memoir by Sebastian Haffner
Used - Very Good
Orion Publishing Co
Winner of Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Non-fiction 2003
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.