The German War: A Nation Under Arms: Citizens and Soldiers, 1939–1945

Nicholas Stargardt. Basic, $35 (720p) ISBN 978-0-465-01899-4
How a people takes to defeat has been a staple of historical inquiry since ancient times, and in this gut-wrenching work, Cambridge University historian Stargardt (Witnesses of War) examines the German experience during WWII. His extraordinarily deep and wide research allows him to fill in an otherwise solid history of the war with intimate, newly unearthed recollections of harrowing service on the battlefield and homefront. Such is the complexity of human nature that, after millions of deaths, massive destruction, and unbelievable “psychological shock waves,” Germans maintained their fierce nationalism and took pride in their ability to endure individually and collectively. What will be difficult for many readers to believe is that the people of the country responsible for the Holocaust long considered themselves the victims—of failed Nazi leadership, the Allies (whom they saw as Jews in another guise), and the Soviets. Seeing the bombing of their cities as equivalent to the death camps, and sustaining unbelievable losses on the battlefield, many Germans preferred outright destruction to a negotiated peace as in 1918. Only the next, postwar generation of Germans could get beyond disbelief and disillusionment and begin to free itself of ruinous attachments and convictions. Stargardt has produced a brilliant, sobering work. Maps & illus. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/24/2015
Release date: 10/13/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 760 pages - 978-0-465-07397-9
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