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Swastika Night Paperback – January 1, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0935312560 ISBN-10: 0935312560 Edition: Reprint

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

KATHARINE BURDEKIN (1896-1963) published more than ten novels. DAPHNE PATAI is professor of Brazilian literature and women’s studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY; Reprint edition (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0935312560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0935312560
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

KATHARINE BURDEKIN was born in England in 1896 and, often writing under the name Murray Constantine, published more than ten novels before her death in 1963. Several novels, including Proud Man (1934), The End of This Day's Business (1935), and Swastika Night (1937), have been reissued by the Feminist Press.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Cody Carlson VINE VOICE on November 15, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Katharine Burdekin's 1937 novel, 'Swastika Night,' is a rare work of science fiction that explores not only the evils of military totalitarianism, but also closely examines the realationship between the sexes. Over 700 years into the Hitlerian era Europe has become a fuedel society where Hitler is God, Christians are persecuted, and women are reduced to the status of animal breeders. A Nazi leader, the Knight von Hess, gives a disillusioned Englishman the greatest of gifts- a book written centuries before that tells the true story of world history and not the Hitler version that Germany accepts as gospel. It's easy to see the many similarities between 'Swastika Night' and George Orwell's '1984.' Both novels take place in a repressive, totalitarian society where a government leader deigns to help a member of the lower class. Also, the themes of massive nation-states in constant competition and degradaded womanhood make one wonder just how much Orwell 'borrowed' from Burdekin. What makes this novel truly amazing, however, is Burdekin's prediction of the horrors to come. She wrote of the comming war with Germany, predicting both the extermination of the Jews and the prolonged, devastating war in Russia. A wonderful work on many levels, 'Swastika Night' is more than just an entertaining novel, it's an important one.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 2, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Swastika Night" was published in 1937, although the fact that "Murray Constantine" was a pseudonym for Katharine Burdekin was not revealed until the early 1980s (Burdekin died in 1963). The chief interest in this dystopian novel was that Burdekin was telling the story of a feudal Europe that existed seven centuries into a world in which Hitler and the Nazi achieved total victory. The novel begins with a "knight" entering "the Holy Hitler chapel," where the faithful all sing the praise of "God the Thunderer" and: "His Son our Holy Adolf Hitler, the Only Man. Who was, not begotten, not born of a woman, but Exploded!" With such a beginning it is hard not to look at "Swastika Night" as a nightmarish version of the Germany and England that would result from a Nazi victory. Given the time in which she was writing, two years before Hitler's forces invaded Poland and officially began the Second World War, it is equally obvious that Burdekin is simultaneously an indictment of Hitler's political and militaristic policies and a warning of the logical consequences of the Nazi ideology.
Burdekin depicts a world that has been divided into the Nazi Empire (Europe and Africa) and the equally militaristic Japanese Empire (Asia, Australia, and the Americas), a demarcation that raises some interesting issues all by itself. Obviously in the Nazi Empire Hitler is venerated as a god and all books and documents from the past have been destroyed so that the Nazi version of history is all that remains (the similarity is more to the efforts of the ancient Egytpian pharoahs than Orwell's idea of the continuous revision of the public record).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
It was a real surprise to excavate this marvelous book. The book is a chilling future Dystopian vision. All those who have never read the book, and love _Brave New World_ or _1984_ should go for it!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Helmut von Seydlitz on January 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
I found this book in the bargain bin for a dollar and it was a dollar well spent! I personally just found the setting of this book to be very interesting. It takes place hundreds of years into Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich," which won the war in this alternate world. The entire world is under the dominion of either the German or Japanese empires, who rule feudal male-centered empires. Between the two empires, most of the history has been either forcibly forgotten or grotesquely manipulated to serve the fascist states.

The story takes place in Nazi Europe and mainly involves a British man on pilgrimage, a German serf, and a Nazi Knight. Between the three of them they delve into the lost world of the past and try to create a better future. The characters aren't evenly flushed out but that does serve the atmosphere of the book, that taking away men's(and women's) liberty takes something out of life.

Part of the reason that the book is so powerful is because it was written before the Second World War, when Hitler was still on the rise and there was no guarantee that Fascism would not spread across the world.

All in all it was an interesting read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eric Campbell on December 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
A fascinating book on many levels. Burdekin wasn't afraid to tackle topics of religion and politics head on. If you like 'We' and '1984', you won't want to put this book down.
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By J on November 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This work gets five stars in part because it was so unexpectedly good. I had never heard of it before randomly ordering it one day and was really surprised that something so unknown could be so good. It moves along very nicely...not a draggy story at all. It reads like some sixties alternate history novel, but then you realize it was written pre-war and you're amazed. I would say it approaches Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale in the issues it tackles, in its story, and in its writing style. It would probably make a good companion piece for Atwood in a class or just for anybody actually...you'd could compare Atwood's work, which came out of Second-Wave feminism, to this one which from several decades before. One reviewer below gave this one star and claimed the book doesn't accurately reflect Nazi views on women, citing 1930s Nazi women's clubs and female party-membership as evidence. I think there is a lot to point to the fact that Nazi Germany was in fact rather oppressive of the development of women's rights, but that argument is out of place here and really missing the point entirely of the novel. The point of dystopian literature, some may argue, is to investigate and extrapolate social or policy attitudes as they would develop in the future. Burdekin is essentially taking one of the core Nazi beliefs ( the superiority of certain classes/types of people) and extrapolating how that could play out in a future. It is not much of a leap to go from belief in extreme racial superiority to then a belief in extreme racial and gender superiority.

Great book overall!
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