To my wife Anne, without whose silence this book would never have been written. Dedication
Japan and Germany have won World War II and have taken over the world. Hitler is dying from syphilitic incapacitation in an insane asylum, while his henchmen maneuver for power.
The US, as we know it, has been divided into three regions: the Eastern US controlled by the Nazis, Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere (the Pacific states) controlled by Japan, and a buffer zone called the Rocky Mountain States.
This should have been a gripping story, given the premise. But overall, I found the characters bland, and the dependence upon the I Ching an overused plot device.
Title: Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 Author: Madeleine Albright Published: 2012 ISBN-13: 978-0-06-203031-3 Publisher: Harper Collins
I have long admired Madeleine Albright, the first woman to become Secretary of State in the US. To rise to that level and make a difference seems to me to be an astonishingly difficult job. To do it as a woman raises the difficulty scale even higher.
In The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs, Albright discusses the role religion has played in world affairs, something that isn’t going to go away any time soon. She also reveals hard truths about herself, including the fact she didn’t know she had lost relatives to the Holocaust or that she was, in fact, Jewish.
Prague Winter is a product of Madame Secretary’s research into her own history, which is intertwined inextricably with Czechoslovakia and World War II.
This is not an easy book to read. This is well-researched, often emotional, retelling of one little girl’s life as Hitler rose to power and began to exterminate millions of people. Albright was only a child, but her memories, backed up with research, make for sorrowful reading.
Focusing on Czechoslovakia and its struggle to remain a united, independent country in the face of internal divisiveness between Czechs and Slovaks, and the onslaught of Nazis and Communists under Stalin, Albright’s story reminds the reader that nothing, truly, is every simple when zealots and ideologues are in charge.
She is fair in her assessment, through the long lens of history, that decisions made by Western leaders, while short sighted, were what politics of the time demanded. Neville Chamberlain will always be remembered as an appeaser, but what is rarely discussed is the force of Hitler’s personality and his ability to fool people into thinking he was a reasonable human being who simply wanted to strengthen Germany in the face of the disempowering Versailles treaty of World War I.
Albright’s story is one of heartbreak, and agony. It’s also an important story to know, because the true atrocities of Hitler and Stalin often get masked by the statistics and overwhelming amount of information available. Madeleine Albright’s story is about one family, and one country’s struggle during World War II. It puts into perspective the horrifying truth of what it is to be “other,” when that means certain death.s to change.
Wendy Lower focuses on the women in Eastern Poland serving the Nazi regime during World War II.
While narrow, this exploration of women’s roles in the bureaucracy of the Third Reich is grimly fascinating. All roles from civilians through low-level administrators to those with access to the powerful men who made the decisions are covered.
What was it like to live during this horrific period of time in Europe? And what was it like for women whose roles were limited both by the Nazis, and their gender? 70 years after the end of World War II, a multi-disciplinary list of researchers and readers are still trying to come to grips with the horror of the Holocaust. I find myself strangely fascinated by it and, like so many others, keep asking the question, “How could this happen?”
Despite the sometimes salacious, gossipy nature of the narrative, Wendy Lower offers a look at women in history that has only begun to be researched. Most women who served the Nazis were looked over or not taken seriously because of their gender. Yet, here are more examples than I could care for of women who were closely involved in the banal bureaucracy which kept the camps running.
As with all books having to do with atrocities, the sheer horror described can be nightmare inducing. There’s no getting around that if one wants to know what happened.
Hitler’s Furies is not for everyone. But I do believe it covers an important, often overlooked, facet of Nazi bureaucracy. The world needs to know what happened then, because something like is happening now.