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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex and captivating story about loss, power, honor and hope
1940, first and foremost, is a beautifully crafted book. It captures a time-period and portrays a cast of characters with eloquence and realism. With varying tempos and scenes, it often feels fugue-like as its several parallel stories intertwine and play off each other, building to a crescendo at the end. Despite an aversion to the book's premise, or perhaps because of...
Published on April 3, 2008 by Peter H. Schweitzer

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still Waiting
Several subplots of moderate interest are presented, but not enough emphasis is given to the most intriguing story behind the story--Dr. Bloch's realtionship with Adolf and the rest of the Hitler family in pre-World War II Germany. I see great potential in a fictionalized account of that realtionship. And I'm still searching for it.
Published on August 15, 2008 by Cary B. Barad


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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex and captivating story about loss, power, honor and hope, April 3, 2008
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This review is from: 1940 (Paperback)
1940, first and foremost, is a beautifully crafted book. It captures a time-period and portrays a cast of characters with eloquence and realism. With varying tempos and scenes, it often feels fugue-like as its several parallel stories intertwine and play off each other, building to a crescendo at the end. Despite an aversion to the book's premise, or perhaps because of its taboo nature - does one really dare to humanize Hitler in a portrayal of his youth? - readers will be drawn in and challenged to travel along with its narrator (Dr. Bloch) and, ultimately, his creator, Jay Neugeboren, as they courageously face this topic and others without flinching. Can we say the same for ourselves?

Neugeboren has written a complex, deeply analytic book about memory, attachment and loss, about mental health and mental illness, about power and impotency, about honor and responsibility, and, ultimately, about hope. Most poignantly and not least of all, this is also a love story, written from the heart, between two separate souls, an older man and a younger woman, who discover a comfort, a connection, and a caring that will make them cherished soul-mates.

Rabbi Peter H. Schweitzer
The City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism
New York City
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still Waiting, August 15, 2008
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This review is from: 1940 (Paperback)
Several subplots of moderate interest are presented, but not enough emphasis is given to the most intriguing story behind the story--Dr. Bloch's realtionship with Adolf and the rest of the Hitler family in pre-World War II Germany. I see great potential in a fictionalized account of that realtionship. And I'm still searching for it.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe It's Because I Don't Think in German, September 5, 2008
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Peggy Stone (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1940 (Paperback)
I had this on my library queue for months, and then found I could not make it more than halfway through the book before losing all patience with the bloodless characters and unconvincing dialogue, the over-analysis of every character's thought and movement, and its strained academic naval gazing. I could not believe that these characters were supposed to represent living, breathing people, as not one conversation had the cadences of normal human speech. Thoughts, conversations and narrative were equally loaded with dependent clauses and stultifying qualifications. There was no humor, no warmth and ultimately, no reason to continue reading as I absolutely didn't care what became of anyone.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1940, June 11, 2008
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This review is from: 1940 (Paperback)
1940 is Kafka an aquired taste to be sure. The the main chracters are Elisabeth Rofman age early 40's, Jewish, and a medical illistrator, Dr. Eduard Bloch an Austrian Jew, Doctor, age mid 60's and Daniel, Elisabeth Rofman's, child age almost 18.

Dr. Bloch had treated the family of Adolf Hitler during Hitlers youth and tended to Hitlers mother during her last illness breast cancer as well as the young Adolf. His reward from Hitler was safe passage out of Europe in 1940 to the United States. There are many sub plots that revolve around this fact.

Elisabeth is the mother of Daniel who has spent most of his life in a mental institution in Baltimore where the Doctors wanted to perform an opeation on his, we are not told what procedure was to be done but that it would result in his castration. Daniel escapes from the institution and ends up staying with Dr. Bloch in the Bronx where the doctor ended up after escaping from the Nazis.

The main minor characters include Eliasbeths ex-husband, her father, two NYRD dectectives, an employee of the home, a female friend and an instructor at Johns Hopkins.

Since this is Kafka thats about all I can give you. One quote from the story that describes the authors view of the Bronx,"... cement buildings set in from of a concrete sky." The text like many novels about Jewish culture is full of Bibical references and plays on names and like Kafka most of the plots and sub plots are not resolved.

I very much enjoyed this novel.
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1940
1940 by Jay Neugeboren (Paperback - April 1, 2008)
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