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Germania: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416558829
  • ASIN: B003D7JV66
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,366,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former journalist McNally puts a magical spin on the last days of the Third Reich in his debut, a busy, beguiling novel perhaps too overstuffed with a dizzying cast and troves of lesser-known historical footnotes. Embedded in politics and far from the atrocities of the Nazi regime, figures like Albert Speer, Heinrich Himmler and Karl Dönitz become curiously sympathetic as they try to manipulate their ways out of their ineluctable futures. Woven throughout is the story of the Loerber quadruplets (known before the war as the Flying Magical Loerber Brothers—think: the Comedian Harmonists), who have psychic abilities and positions of power inside and in opposition to the Nazi regime: Manni is an assassin who can manipulate people's wills; Sebastian, long thought dead, works for the Blood of Israel resistance and can mass-broadcast dreams; Ziggy is a U-boat captain who can hear and control others' thoughts; and Franzi is a triple-agent in the SS's occult studies division and becomes Himmler's masseur and psychic adviser. The Loerber brothers, however, turn out to be less interesting on the page than Himmler, Speer and their contemporaries, though McNally's blending of the fantastical with historical record broadens and enriches an oft-told story. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Set in the closing days of the Third Reich, this is the story of quadruplets, the Flying Magical Loerber Brothers. Twelve years earlier, the brothers were the toast of Berlin with their high-energy mixture of acrobatics, mind reading, and vaudeville. Now Hitler's regime is falling, and the brothers have gone their own ways: Manni is an assassin, Ziggy a decorated U-boat captain, Franzi adviser to Heinrich Himmler but really a double agent for the Russians and the British, and Sebastian, long thought dead, is undercover with a Zionist terrorist group. The Russians want Franzi dead—he knows too much about their operation—and his brothers unite to spirit him to safety. In this wild debut, McNally throws in everything from flying boats and a fleet of miniature subs to mind control, a repulsive Himmler, and a narcissistic Albert Speer. There's enough energy here but, unfortunately, not enough direction. The plot goes astray halfway through, the psychic element adds nothing, and the conclusion doesn't point anywhere. This isn't a bad first novel; it just isn't a good one. Not recommended.—David Keymer, Modesto, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Before turning to fiction, Brendan McNally worked as a defense journalist, first at the Pentagon and later in Prague, where he investigated the Eastern European arms trade. His investigative work included uncovering the Czech government's role in helping supply nuclear technology to Iran for the Prague Post and Iraqi deployment of Chemical Weapons for the New York Times. Brendan currently writes feature and news stories for The New Yorker, Wired, Smithsonian Air & Space, The Rotarian, D Magazine, Telematics Update, Defense Media Network, and Weider History Group. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and daughter.

Check out my blog at www.brendanmcnallynazisanddinosaurs.blogspot.com or visit my website: www.brendanmcnallyauthor.com

Customer Reviews

It is fascinating for its historical detail while very entertaining.
wdsblh
I'd thought all along that the main problem here was that less experienced writers (This is McNally's first novel) tend to try to juggle too many characters.
Tracy Rowan
It's a book that will keep popping back into your thoughts long after you've read it.
D. O'Reilly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. O'Reilly on July 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a cracking read, both as a piece of history and a character study. It is fascinating in the detail of a little-known and short-lived period of German history immediately after the Second World War and also as a story of sibling rivalry.
I didn't know what to expect when I picked it up and I stayed that way until the final sentence.
It's a book that will keep popping back into your thoughts long after you've read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ANT VINE VOICE on December 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
At first glance, Germania appears to follow the lives of the Four Magical Flying Loerber Brothers, a fictitious Weimar-era troupe of acrobats and performers, who were huge stars in pre-war Germany. While the stories are centered mostly around these characters, I came to find that the main crux of the story was the brief period after Germany's surrender known as the Flensburg Government, when Grand Admiral Dönitz was ruling (in a loose sense) the country. Between the facts presented surrounding those principal characters (Albert Speer, Henirich Himmler, and others), and the fanciful addition of the Loerbers, there is an incredible dynamic created that not only expresses the absurdity of three weeks after surrender, but tries to explain the actual historical events in the same strange light surrounding the defeated Axis power.

What struck me as interesting was the historical basis for this novel. Just as with Shaara's works, McNally provides us an insight into World War II through use of fiction, but in a different sense. Rather than merely rely on imaginative powers to conceive of words that historical figures might have used, there is the additional element of fictional characters who serve to move the plot forward, as well as signify the era in a sense.

Not knowing a great deal about the Flensburg Government as I began to read this novel, I was intrigued by the political atmosphere and social upheaval of the time. I think the absurd nature of the Loerbers perfectly captures this period in time, however. My only complaint would be that I felt somewhat empty at the end. I suppose that is due to the very nature of the topic, in which case, bravo to McNally for wonderfully capturing his point.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ron Chicaferro on August 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
Brendan McNally's first novel, Germania, is superb. It's the history of what happened at the end of World War II in a part of Germany called Flensburg. Much has been written about the start of World War II but reading about the ending was an eye-opener. How some of the SS tried to escape punishment. How some of the regular German military officers had to pay the ultimate price for the excesses of the SS. How the regular German military had to admit, first to themselves then to history that they really did know what was going on in the concentration camps. An amazing story about a terrible time in world history. Truly a 'Must Read' book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M Ballon on August 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I absolutely love this book and heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good read. Brendan McNally deftly weaves an intriguing tale that centers around the fictional Loerber brothers, four German-Jewish entertainers, and their interactions with Nazi mass murderers, Zionist pioneers, arrogant Englishmen and, perhaps most engagingly, with one another. This book took me on a wonderful journey away from my daily life. I look forward to reading McNally's next opus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harold Harefoot VINE VOICE on October 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really flew through this book. It's written in a very interesting and readable style. The format is similar to the movie "Titanic", in that a true story - the Flensburg Reich at the end of WWII - is told through the eyes of fictional characters - in this case the Magical Flying Loerber Brothers. The great part of the book is that it covers a part of the end of WWII that usually isn't addressed by the history books. That doesn't mean there aren't problems with it. I really didn't see the need to make the Loerber Brothers actually use magic. They would have been more captivating characters without it. To me that actually detracted from the story by introducing the factor of disbelief. And that's a shame because the real, historical events that are brought to light here are riveting. Overall, I'd recommend the book mostly for the historical significance of the events it portrays. That part makes for very intriguing reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nice Lady VINE VOICE on October 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It chronicles the ending days of the Third Reich from an unusual standpoint.

Clearly, many different people made up the society of the old Weimar Republic and they were all caught up in the ensuing maelstrom of the Third Reich.

This tells the story of some such "innocent' bystanders-The Flying Magical Loerber Brothers (a popular vaudeville act of the Weimar Republic).

This is actually a terrific adventure story with lots of subplots and twists & turns. Here we read about the famed hidden Nazi Gold, the U Boats, and various intrigues as all strive to gain Power.

I turned the pages on this book quickly-I really got caught up in it and found this a very original way to explore one of history's darkest chapters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Gibbard on October 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Germania" is an odd and original book that mixes authentic historical characters from the twilight of the Third Reich (Himmler, Speer, Doenitz and a host of others) with a surreal narrative about a family of Jewish acrobats called the Flying Magical Loerber Brothers. As the tale begins, Manni Loerber works as Albert Speer's driver, helping him in his desperate attempt to countermand Hitler's scorched earth orders. Franzi Loerber serves as Himmler's massage therapist and astrologer. Ziggy Loerber is a U-boat captain. And Sebastian Loerber is missing and presumed dead. As the tale progresses to period after the fall of the Reich, they converge on the temporary German government in Flensburg staffed by ex-Nazis and created to handle the surrender to Allied powers.

Why and how are these Jewish acrobats (one of them gay) working at the highest levels of the crumbling Nazi empire? Therein lies the tale. The Loerber brothers, you see, have certain magical powers. In addition to their ability to perform fantastic acrobatic stunts, they possess the power of telepathy, mind-control, and the ability to project their thoughts into other minds. This allows them to insinuate themselves into the highest levels of the Reich.

But how can they square their work there with their Jewishness? It is a question of moral compromise. Franzi works as a spy. Ziggy wants to do his duty as a German. They stumble their way forward, like everyone else in occupied Europe, trying to find ways to survive and to do the right thing.

The superimposition of the light-hearted and the horrifying makes reading this novel a dizzying experience.
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