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BOOK REVIEW:
THE SHIPWRECK OF A NATION:
GERMANY: AN INSIDE VIEW
BY H. PETER NENNHAUS

We hope you enjoy this book review by Diane Pollock.





This to me was intriguing for a number of reasons. For one, the point of view was that of an adolescent. A teenage perspective of life in Nazi Germany is a type of memoir that is needed to appeal to laymen, rather than the common musings of military historians who tend to focus on larger military/political events with very little about an average common family alive at a tumultuous time.

The historical fear that Germans had as a culture toward the Slav/Russian/Bolshevik/Stalinist threat is also enlightening to the average American reader, who is usually presented with "evil Nazi" simplifications when dealing with this era. The descriptions of the Germans as a defeated, abased people whose women were subjected to mass rape are stomach churning. Rarely, however, have they ever been effectively documented by Western historians. Neither are the causes of the conflict usually put forth from the German point of view, and this too is a refreshing change. Whether the Allies want to admit it or not, the unfair Treaty of Versailles led to the disaster of 1939.

The author's documentation of one brother's death in combat and another's loss of years of life in Soviet Gulags humanizes the story as well. War has consequences, and the worst are always felt by the family. The author's mother, who grasps at any hope that her sons will come back to her, is particularly compelling.

I would recommend this memoir to layman or professional historian alike.

REVIEWED BY DIANE POLLOCK

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, DIANE POLLOCK


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