Bad Times, Good Friends: A Personal Memoir

Ilse Margret Vogel, Author, Ilse-Margaret Vogel, Author
Ilse Margret Vogel, Author, Ilse-Margaret Vogel, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $16.95 (239p) ISBN 978-0-15-205528-8
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This outstanding work examines an underrepresented subject: the attitudes and actions of anti-Nazi Germans. Vogel, a German artist ``approaching 30'' in the last years of the war, describes how she and her friends in Berlin resisted Hitler in ways small and large--and always risky. Feigning a severe limp as part of an elaborate scheme to avoid being drafted, Rudolph shares books by ``forbidden'' authors like Kafka; during an air raid, Oskar forges ration coupons and government documents at a printing press in his building's bomb shelter; and the author herself sweet-talks the police in order to give the outlaw hiding in her apartment enough time to escape. Riveting as these episodes are, the most striking aspect of Vogel's work is her complete candor. Uninterested in convincing the reader of her heroism, she relates moments of both fear and fugitive glee, and openly examines her problematic loyalties. Her resolutely undramatic tones enable her to incorporate otherwise sensationalistic themes (wartime promiscuity, the comforts of drink) as inevitable parts of the landscape of a nightmarish time. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)
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