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Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics Paperback – September 15, 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0312022563 ISBN-10: 0312022565 Edition: First Edition, First Printing
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Working from public and private archives, Koonz analyzes in depth the question of women's participation in the Third Reich," reported PW , and "concludes that Nazi women, no less than men, 'destroyed ethical vision, debased human traditions and rendered decent people helpless.' "
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Despite what appears from a modern perspective to be a misogynistic approach to the "woman's question," the Nazi movement managed to appeal to large numbers of German women by exploiting their antipathetical reaction to the vocal women's rights movement and their negative perceptions of the late Weimar era. The Nazis tapped, among women as well as men, deep sentiments of nationalism, anticommunism, and disdain for democracy. Though the Nazis proscribed women from national politics and made careers in the professions difficult, the movement succeeded by ascribing to women their own sphere of traditional domestic and social service activities. Koonz's impressive research and lively writing provide a fascinating account of the leaders, organizations, and contributions of women in the movement. James B. Street, Santa Cruz P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition, First Printing edition (September 15, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312022565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312022563
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #909,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Danusha V. Goska on February 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics," is a scholary work, but I read it quickly, as if it were a popular page-turner. I asked myself why I was reading it so quickly.

I read this book so quickly, I think, because it fascinated me, of course, but also because it disturbed me and, given how informative the book is, I kept expecting that I'd turn the page and find THE EXPLANATION that would make it all make sense to me, and give me peace of mind.

The "it" I wanted explained, of course, was the absolute evil of Nazism. The Nazism in this book is not -- for the most part -- the public Nazism of "Trimuph of the Will" or the notorious Nazism of Auschwitz.

It's the Nazism of cookie bakers and apron wearers. It's the Nazism of women breast feeding their children and dreaming of a Judenrein Germany; their hearts aflutter at thoughts of their fuhrer.

Koonz has amassed a trove of data, including personal letters, memoirs, and newsclips, that one is unlikely to encounter in other volumes.

Inevitably, her book emerges as a social history of Nazism, the Nazism of the hearth, as it were, rather than the headlines.

As alien as Nazism is, the reader cannot help but draw parallels to the present moment.

Social reformers who oppose any birth control, and who have deep convictions about woman's place being in the home, having as many babies as possible, and quietly and unobtrusively devoting themselves to making life easier for their husbands and sons who serve the state, are not exclusively a thing of the past.

This book, in passages, made my skin crawl. It certainly made me think. It did make me cry. It is a worthy addition to the scholarship on the Nazi era, and an invitation to deep thought about misogynist ideologues' control over women's lives.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kelly on December 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was led to reading this book for a paper I did on the civil rights of women and reasons behind women's support of the state during Hitler's reign. Professor Koonz did a superb job of bring several elements together to form a large, descriptive view of the lives of all women, Christian, Jewish, Nazi, Socialist, etc. I found the interview done with Frau Scholtz-Klink, former head of the women's department under the Nazis, one of the most fascinating, especially since she has held on to her Nazism when other Germans such as Hemult Kohl have renounced and apologized for their role in Nazi Germany. For the first time in all my studies of Germany, I finally began to understand not only who, what and when but also how and why the German Weimar Republic of the 1920's could accept a dictator such as Hitler.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Adam D. Wilkins on May 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
In her book Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics historian Claudia Koonz tackles an interesting aspect of Nazi Germany and women's history. Koonz's topic is one that has been relatively unexplored, despite the vast abundance of historical writing and discussion on Nazi Germany since WWII. I enjoyed the book for the most part, and found her ideas and explanations for the many contradictions and issues women found in Nazi Germany to be satisfactory and enlightening. Using many previously unearthed documents and sources, Koonz attempts to explain how women survived and adapted during such a misogynist and time.
I found Koonz's writing to be both in-depth and comprehensive, but rarely boring or cumbersome. I think she did an excellent job of keeping the reader informed of her thought progression, and at times I felt that I was along with her looking for sources or trying to figure out an explanation to a problem. I liked her analysis of the Weimar republic and "New Woman" and how those factors influenced many women's decisions and opinions on submitting to Nazi dominance. I also found her chapter on Jewish women very enlightening and yet frustrating. Reading about how hopeless it seemed to the women when their children brought home Nazi propaganda from class provides a good example of the cruelty (and stupidity) of the Nazis. I do feel that Koonz tended to get bogged down in her examples of particular Nazi women. Although they were necessary, I feel that they ran long-winded at times. Overall, Mothers in the Fatherland is a very interesting and insightful analysis of this dark period of women's history.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sallie Powell on August 22, 1997
Format: Paperback
"Mothers in the Fatherland" the title alone strikes a chord for women's historical song, especially for those interested in the land of Bach and Beethoven. I was so looking forward to Claudia Koonz introducing me to the unknown women of Nazi Germany and in that she did not disappoint me. Koonz introduces the reader to a montage of women from her interviews with Nazi leader, Gertrud Scholtz-Klink to concentration camp survivor, Frau Dr. Jolana Roth. Koonz's presentation of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish women adds to the understanding of the woman's role during the Third Reich. With all of it's wealth of knowledge, do not expect this to be an easy read. At times, the book's molasses-like flow bogs down the reader with contrasting statements, vagueness and repetitiveness. Even with these disadvantages, I would strongly recommend the book for the serious feminist or German historian
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