An intimate look at the horror wrought by Hitler.



The story of a Jewish family who watched in fear as a new neighbor rose to power.

In 1929, Feuchtwanger (Albert and Victoria, 2009, etc.), a former history professor in England, was 5 years old and living in an elegant Munich neighborhood with his parents when the family noticed that someone important had moved in across the street. He was Adolf Hitler, the leader of the rising Nazi Party, a man whom the young Feuchtwanger would sometimes pass in the street and could see in his windows. The Feuchtwangers were Jewish, and they felt consternation and confusion as the Nazis gained support, Hitler was named chancellor, and anti-Semitism flared into violence. With the assistance and encouragement of French journalist Scali, the author draws on his own recollections, a family memoir published in Germany, contemporary journals and newspapers, and the works of his uncle, writer Lion Feuchtwanger, to create a vivid, close-up picture of his experiences at school, where his teacher was an ardent Nazi; his increasing isolation from non-Jewish schoolmates; and the loss of his beloved nanny, forbidden to work for a Jewish family. Although friends and other family members left earlier, the Feuchtwangers were slower to acknowledge their vulnerability. “We’ve lived in Germany for more than four hundred years,” said the author’s father. “This madness will blow over like all the others that we Feuchtwangers have survived!” Still, he saw clearly that Hitler was a menace: “His friends are dangerous, ill-educated lunatics. But Hitler is the worst of the lot.” Although the author’s mother wanted to leave at the first sign of repression, his father claimed there was nowhere they could go: visas were hard to obtain, they spoke only German, and they would have to forfeit all their wealth and possessions. Once, he made a scouting expedition to Palestine, where relatives lived, but deemed the country unsuitable. But after Kristallnacht and Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, he finally acted, and the author, followed by his family, immigrated to England.

An intimate look at the horror wrought by Hitler.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59051-864-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Other Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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


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

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