Over 400,000 hardback copies sold in Germany alone and was a number one bestseller list for 42 consecutive weeks A ground-breaking and critically acclaimed memoir that received unprecedented reviews in the UK and rights have been sold to eighteen countries so far This is the first English language paperback edition in the world Selected in newspapers as a Summer Reading choice more times than any other book Paperback to include a new Postscript 'If you have never read a book about Nazi Germany before, or if you have already read a thousand, I would urge you to read DEFYING HITLER. It sings with wisdom and understanding' Craig Brown, MAIL ON SUNDAY As a memoir of life in Germany during the Nazi rise to power, it is unsurpassable' Richard Overy, LITERARY REVIEW 'This account ...provides an astonishingly effective and well-written explanation of how the Nazis managed so easily to exploit Germany's psychological weaknesses' Antony Beevor, DAILY TELEGRAPH
Sebastian Haffner was born in 1907 in Berlin. He emigrated to England in 1938 and wrote for the OBSERVER for many years. He returned to Germany in 1954, where he became a prominent journalist and historian, writing for DIE WELT and STERN. He died in 1999.
A sample historical headline: "1890: Wilhelm II dismisses Bismarck." No one's life was disrupted, writes Haffner. "No family was torn apart, no friendship broken up, no one fled their country." Compare that with "1933: Hindenburg sends for Hitler." In this case, "[a]n earthquake shatters 66 million lives." Thus begins a vivid examination of just how Hitler's ascension affected an ordinary German, a young lawyer with no strong political views, whose career and life were disrupted by the Nazis. Written in 1939, this memoir was not published until 2000, when Pretzel, Haffner's son, brought it out in Germany, where it was a bestseller. Haffner alternates political analysis with accounts of how the rise of the Nazis in the 1920s and early '30s affected his attempts to build a career, keep friendships alive and kindle romantic liaisons. His analysis of the failure of post-WWI German society to create stability is familiar, but Haffner writes with a close familiarity that makes the old new again. And his description of the way the Nazis invaded people's daily lives shines. It becomes clear how many "good Germans" struggled against impossible odds to keep their personal lives politics-free. Unfortunately, Haffner's manuscript ends with 1933 (Pretzel covers the rest of Haffner's life, beginning with immigration to England, in a brief afterword). This intimate self-portrait stands with Victor Klemperer's two-part memoir, I Will Bear Witness, as evidence that the personal can offer insight into the political tragedy of Nazism. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
If you have never read a book about Nazi Germany before, or if you
have already read a thousand, I would urge you to read DEFYING
HITLER. It sings with wisdom and understanding * MAIL ON SUNDAY
As a memoir of life in Germany during the Nazi rise to power, it is unsurpassable * LITERARY REVIEW *
This account ...provides an astonishingly effective and well-written explanation of how the Nazis managed so easily to exploit Germany's psychological weaknesses -- Antony Beevor * DAILY TELEGRAPH *