American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power

Book - 2012 | 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed. --
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Hitler's rise to power, Germany's march to the abyss, as seen by Americans--diplomats, military, expats, visiting authors, Olympic athletes--who watched horrified and up close.

Some of the Americans in Hitler's Germany were merely casual observers, others deliberately blind, a few were Nazi apologists. But most began slowly to understand what was unfolding, even when they found it difficult to grasp the breadth of the catastrophe.

Among the journalists, William Shirer understood what was happening. Edgar Mowrer, Dorothy Thompson, and Sigrid Schultz, reporters, were alarmed. Consul General George Messersmith distinguished. Truman Smith, the first American official to meet Hitler, was an astute political observer. Historian William Dodd, who FDR tapped as ambassador in Berlin, left disillusioned; his daughter Martha scandalized the embassy with her procession of lovers, Nazis she took up with; she ended as a Soviet spy.

On the scene were George Kennan, the architect of containment; Richard Helms, who rose to the top of the CIA. The writers Sinclair Lewis and Thomas Wolfe, famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, and the great athlete Jesse Owens came through Germany; so did a younger generation of journalists--Richard Hottelet, Hans V. Kaltenborn, Howard K. Smith, and Ed Murrow.

These Americans helped their reluctant countrymen begin to understand Nazi Germany as it ruthlessly eliminated political opponents, instilled hatred of Jews and anyone deemed a member of an inferior race, and readied its military and its people for a war for global domination. They helped prepare Americans for the years of struggle ahead.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Simon & Schuster, 2012.
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed. --
ISBN: 9781439191002
Characteristics: 385 p. : ill.
Alternative Title: Hitler land


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Jun 21, 2017

I read many books on WW2 I thought this wasn't as good as I had hoped. It lagged in places and lost my interest here and there. Though I wanted to get inside of the mind of the normal German people which explains it generally.

Mar 12, 2017

Absolutely a must read. I wish he'd go on and write a book about the experiences of people from all of Europe as Hitler rose to power and why so many seemed to be in such denial. I'm going to check out, no pun intended, all his other books.

Jul 03, 2016

A well written account of Hitler's rise as seen by the Americans and others in Germany at that time. A stark example of evil succeeding while good men did nothing. It makes it possible to see that we have not come very far from those days in light of today's tyrants and how they are tolerated.

Feb 14, 2013

If you've ever wondered: why didn't anyone around Hitler stop him when they had a chance- this book's for you. Nagorski weaves inidividual perspectives of Hitler and his rise from various Americans living in Germany. And yet, even with these first hand accounts, you still can't completely understand who he was or why he was followed. Many were skeptical of his influence, many completely unaware of the reality. Few completely understood exactly how dangerous and tragic Hitler's reign would be.

KEVIN DOWD Sep 07, 2012

great read. easy prose and lots of great info. great background on the rise of Hitler.

Jason Wheelock Jun 13, 2012

I enjoyed this book but not as much as other WWII books i've read. There were times when this book was really engaging and others where it was a terrible bore. I couldn't quite place my finger on what the problem was other than one thing i really didn't like which was the structure of the book. There didn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to a lot of the chapters. It didn't seem to be strictly chronological and in some cases the chapters didn't seem to be terribly cohesive following a singular train of thought.

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