Nineteen Thirty-Three

Philip Metcalfe, Author Permanent Press (NY) $21.95 (316p) ISBN 978-0-932966-87-2
Using letters, diaries and memoirs, Metcalfe distills the personalities, viewpoints and day-to-day reactions of five alert and often directly involved witnesses to Hitler's consolidation of power. They are: U.S. ambassador to Germany, William Dodd and his high-spirited daughter Martha; Bella Fromm, a glamorous German society columnist who was Jewish and made no secret ot it; Ernst Hanfstaengl, Hitler's somewhat buffoonish foreign-press chief; and Rudolf Diels, the first head of the Gestapo. Events and trends related here include the Reichstag fire, the turning-loose of the Storm Troops, book-burnings and the outbreak of violent, organized anti-Semitism. The bloody Roehm purge of June 30, 1934, when Hitler liquidated the homosexual leadership of the SA, had a shock effect on each of the five witnesses on whom Metcalfe focuses. Their varied reactions form the climax to this exciting, historically important book by a first-time author. Particularly intriguing is the account of the Gestapo chief's ``courting'' of the American diplomatic circle (Martha Dodd found his ``sinister beauty'' fascinating), largely in hopes of protecting himself from his enemies. Photos. Paperback rights to Harper & Row. (October)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
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