Waldheim and Austria

Richard M. Bassett, Author Viking Books $19.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-670-82173-0
Bassett, former Vienna correspondent for the London Times , examines the Kurt Waldheim affair in light of the continuing denial by the Austrians of his complicity in Nazi war crimes. The author ventures to explain why so many of Waldheim's countrymen voted for the former United Nations secretary-general in the 1986 presidential election, and why Austrians reacted with either indifference or furious defensiveness to negative world opinion over the details of his wartime service. Bassett is harsh toward the Austrian people. Comparing them with ``demented sheep,'' he cites them for selfishness, greed, immaturity, pettiness, mental lassitude and their capacity for self-delusion. There is nothing shrill, however, in his devastating appraisal, and the book is elegantly written. In the end, after referring in passing to Waldheim's ``spinelessness,'' Bassett brings into focus the somber fact that the case against him was made in the main by Jewish organizations. Photos. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-14-013019-5
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