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Race after Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America Paperback – July 22, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0691133799 ISBN-10: 0691133794
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Editorial Reviews


"This thoughtful and carefully researched book represents some of the best scholarship being done on postwar Germany today."--Patricia Mazón, American Historical Review

"Fehrenbach has presented us with an interesting story of race, gender, and foreign policy and has ingeniously combined social and cultural history."--Heike Bungertt, Journal of American History

"The book contains such a wealth of new information and surprising insights that it can be recommended without reservation."--Reiner Pommerin, Historische Zeitschrift

"Fehrenbach adroitly portrays the subtle paths of the 'devolution' of German racial attitudes and makes an original, insightful contribution to postwar German studies."--Choice

"As an expertly argued and eloquently written study, Race After Hitler will certainly be of interest to a broad audience. The book has much to say about transnational constructions and articulations of race, gender and ethnicity as well as about the postwar democratization and transformation of West Germany."--Robbie Aitken, H-Net Reviews

"Heide Fehrenbach's Race after Hitler is a major contribution to both the history of Germany and the United States in the decade and a half after 1945. . . . Race after Hitler is a very stimulating book. Whether the subjects addressed would be new to American scholars, I cannot say. Fehrenbach scoured the archives, journals, and newspapers in the United States and Germany to produce a beautifully written book that raises many questions about the continuation of racial thinking among Germans and Americans in the decade and a half after 1945. Like any important book, it should motivate younger scholars to move into the budding field of African American, Afro-German, and German history."--Kenneth Barkin, Journal of African American History

From the Back Cover

"Clearly written, forcefully argued, very well researched and documented, and highly original, Race after Hitler is a major contribution to our understanding of the transformation of postwar German society and its complex relationship with the United States. This book will also be of great interest to students of gender, race, and ethnicity. A truly splendid accomplishment."--Omer Bartov, Brown University

"Heide Fehrenbach has written a fascinating and compelling tale of the children born after 1945 of unmarried German mothers and African American GI fathers. This brilliant example of the new international history will attract a wide readership on both sides of the Atlantic."--Thomas Borstelmann, coauthor of Created Equal

"At once sophisticated in concept and fully accessible, Race after Hitler is written with the mature fluency and authoritativeness of a seasoned historian and storyteller. The book is full of rich and evocative evidence and persuasive arguments that will give students and specialists alike much to debate and ponder."--Dagmar Herzog, Graduate Center, City University of New York

"Race after Hitler will have a significant impact that extends well beyond the community of those who study modern German history. It offers extremely interesting insights into how to think about the categories in which racial difference is articulated and expressed, and provides an exceptionally rich model of how to write a complex historical account. It is a major accomplishment that will change the way we think about German attitudes toward race in the aftermath of the Third Reich."--Robert Moeller, University of California-Irvine

"An exemplary model of the new transnational history with a strongly sociocultural bent, Heide Fehrenbach's pathbreaking book will be of great interest to historians of the United States and Germany alike."--V. R. Berghahn, Columbia University


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (July 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691133794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691133799
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,272,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David M. Sapadin on July 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have always been mystified by the apparent hypocrisy in the way America fought WWII, ostensibly to preserve democracy in the world and rid it of a racist tyranny, while at the same time remaining blissfully unaware of its own deep problems with race. Ms. Fehrenbach fills in some of the missing links through her examination of the role of the US in occupied Germany in helping to reshape the old Nazi racism into one more like its own - the binary of black/white color.

As Barbara Ehrenreich has pointed out, "Hitler gave racism a bad name." But Fehrenbach digs deeper to examine exactly what kind of racism got the "bad name" in Germany. Specifically, she posits, racially perceived anti-Semitism. (It remains a mystery to me how anti-Semitism survived as strong as it did in the US post WWII - and post Holocaust awareness - all the way through the mid 1960's). In its place, the new West Germany learned its lessons well from American occupiers, a lesson a about binary, color-based racism.

As Fehrenback points out, anti-Black racism was certainly nothing new to Germany. But a people seemingly eager to reconstruct themselves after the racist disaster of Nazism and the Holocaust learned quickly that its American sponsors did not practice what it preached -- so much so that even the Germans eventually realized it would be better to place its unspoken-for Black occupation children in Denmark than in the United States or Germany because in the latter two countries, it was felt by German officials, Black kids would never be accepted.

Very interesting social and cultural history that sheds light on the chain of events that eventually gave traction to the modern Civil Rights movement in the US - not the least of which was how hypocritical the US looked on the world stage and how fast the Communist bloc was to seize on it as propaganda fodder.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Percy J. Vaughan on June 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This an a excellent book. My father was in the USAF and stationed in Germany in the 1950s. All the stories that he told me about Germany were true. I felt like I had walked in my father's shoes by reading this book. Even though at times this books reads like a college text book, it really gets to the point. The interesting racial dynamics of American racial policy both abroad and at home. I also went to Germany in 1987. Germans and especially German women treated a black man better than Americans do.
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