The Bohemians: The Lovers Who Led Germany’s Resistance Against the Nazis

Norman Ohler. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-328-56630-0
Husband and wife resistance leaders Harro and Libertas Schulze-Boysen, who established a network of anti-Nazi spies in WWII-era Berlin, receive the full Bonnie-and-Clyde treatment in this colorful yet lopsided account from German novelist and historian Ohler (Blitzed). Though the “young and good-looking” couple both came from well-pedigreed family backgrounds, Ohler writes, their love-at-first-sight meeting, unconventional communal living arrangements, artistic pursuits, and open marriage marked them as bohemians in 1930s Germany. Arrested and brutally beaten by the SS in 1933, magazine editor Harro witnessed the murder of his Jewish friend and colleague. He went undercover as an office clerk in the Air Ministry (“a nerve center of the Nazi brain”), and shared military plans with the Soviets while secretly writing and publishing anti-Nazi propaganda and establishing links with other resistance groups. Meanwhile, poetry-loving, accordion-playing Libertas used her charm to help advance Harro’s military career and talk her way out of an espionage charge for photographing Jewish refugees, though politics were not “her cup of tea.” Unfortunately, Ohler glosses over potential reasons, including sexism, why Libertas’s contributions to the resistance movement were perceived as more “superficial” than Harro’s. Still, this deeply researched and stylishly written account unearths an appealing yet overlooked chapter in WWII history. Espionage enthusiasts will be riveted. Agent: Robin Straus, the Robin Straus Agency. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/09/2020
Release date: 07/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-328-56623-2
Compact Disc - 320 pages - 978-0-358-30946-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-0941-4552-5
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-358-50862-5
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