A sturdy account of the financial side of Nazi evil that resonates today.

NAZI BILLIONAIRES

THE DARK HISTORY OF GERMANY’S WEALTHIEST DYNASTIES

An unflattering investigative history of German big business over the past century.

Financial journalist de Jong reminds us that many of today’s superwealthy Germans are heirs of entrepreneurs whose companies prospered under the Third Reich through use of slave labor and seizure of companies. This is old news, but de Jong explores how all walked free after the war and their heirs do little to acknowledge their ancestors’ crimes. Few entrepreneurs paid attention to Hitler until he grew powerful after 1930. Some became ardent Nazis, but most approved of his hatred of socialism, worker activism, and democracy. Once Hitler began rearming, they scrambled for contracts, which involved currying favor with Nazi leaders. An enormous source of profit was Jewish businesses, often acquired for a pittance. Readers searching for an industrialist who disapproved will come up empty. As de Jong shows, nearly everyone approved of the methods of the business community. Orders increased, and a flood of slave laborers from the conquered countries poured into the factories. Though most “employees” were treated horribly, few employers objected. During the final year of the war, companies continued to sell their products and overwork their laborers even as the Allies overran Germany. Then they made themselves scarce. Their activities were no secret to Allied intelligence, but the first Nuremberg trial involved major political figures rather than business owners. Later, the trials of businessmen received little publicity and largely flopped, handing out a few short prison sentences and fines. It’s to de Jong’s credit that he brings many of these events back into the historical spotlight. The defendants mostly kept their businesses, handing them on to heirs, who were not inclined to discuss the wartime years. As decades passed, a good deal of dirt turned up, persuading some to apologize and make modest gestures of restitution, but others stonewalled. The author recounts perhaps more details on German business dealings than American readers may seek, but there is enough chicanery to maintain interest.

A sturdy account of the financial side of Nazi evil that resonates today.

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-328-49788-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Mariner Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

more