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The Last Nazi: The Life and Times of Dr. Joseph Mengele Hardcover – 1985


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Donald I. Fine; First Edition edition (1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0917657462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0917657467
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,208,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Now that Mengele's remains have been exhumed and identified, we can expect a number of popular biographies. Astor spent several years preparing this loosely documented study. As to the ``Angel of Death's'' motives and inner psyche, the author has few thoughtful answers. The Auschwitz chapters are predictably shocking and melodramatic; it is only when Astor focuses on Mengele's decades of evasion in South America that the story becomes taut and meaningful. For it is only then that the aging and impenitent Nazi achieves those human qualities that make him seem plausible and understandable. A well-written albeit somewhat sensationalistic study that many public libraries will wish to acquire. Mark R. Yerburgh, Trinity Coll. Lib., Burlington, Vt.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on March 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Gearld Astor's biography of Dr. Joseph Mengele tells an important story to be sure. The notorious Auschwitz camp doctor who personally comdemmed thousands to their deaths and performed hideous experiements on many others is an important symbol of just how depraved the Nazi regime was. That a man of science, a man sworn to prevent human sufferning, could allow his profession to be so grotesquely perverted clearly demonstrates how fundamentaly evil Nazi ideology was. Mengele is a real life villian for the ages, someone the likes of whom humanity will hopefully not see again.
Unfortunately, Astor's portrait, while compelling and informative, fails to really capture essence of the man. Perhaps becuase the author apparently received little cooperation from Mengele's (prominent!) family, there isn't musch information about Mengele's early childhood or adulthood, nor of the period from the end of World War II to his escape from Europe in 1949. The two periods of Megele's life where Astor's information is most complete is his time at Auschwitz from 1943-44 and the last two decades of his life, when he lived in Brazil before drowning on the beach in 1979.
There's almost nothing in the book about Megele's marriage, nor of his service on the Eastern front with the Waffen SS before a battlefield wound sent him to the death camp and his infamy. Even the Auschwitz period is strangely stilted. There are eyewitness accounts of the atrocities committed by Mengele and of his experiments, but a thorough account of what he thought he was accomplishing is strangely lacking. It must also be said that Astor's prose is at times somewhat stilted, and he occasionally digresses into pop psychology--a dangerous thing to do in a case such as this. Ultimately, Menegele comes off as despicable but still a mysterious figure.
Overall, I would give this book a qualified recommendation only because of the importance of its subject matter.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bangkhen on January 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I work on an ambulance I was in my late 30's to early 40's and came across a woman with numbers written on the inside of her right arm. I believed it was a phone number she was looking for, she explained what it was, her id number for her incarceration inside a concentration camp, she was a lucky survivor. Needless to say I felt terrible for my ignorance and realized that I had ran into a remaining survivor, something not many people encounter every day. Well I began to desire the knowledge of this subject and I read EVERY book I can so I may learn as much as I can about this needless tragedy. It has made me a stronger person reading this and ALL books on this subject. PLEASE READ THIS AND ALL BOOKS... It shocks me people believe it was a hoax. Tell that to the 9,000,000 people suffered death.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
More than one indivudual - Dr Mengle - was also a larger society participeting in this tragedy Not only in Germany but in places of Laitin America as well. Be aware of the leftovers of these mainds, they are still aruound and sometimes without any desguise.Point welll presented in this boock.!!!.
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By Dbaseii on March 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
I found this book extremely informative and well researched as well as very well written. Most of the criticism of the book, feels (essentially) it's not biased enough, afterall, what Mengele did was heinous, indeed. I feel this type of criticism is unfounded. We cannot explain Mengele's actions but as Astor points out, Mengele was not a psychotic killer - that's an over-simplification. And I feel it doesn't do the subject justice. The sobering fact remains (as Astor again points out) is that humans can "learn" to ignor murder or accept murder as "necessary", the human rationalization process has allowed many heinous crimes against humanity and these continue today. It is highly important, though unsettling and uncomfortable, to make this distinction and NOT just write off Mengele as a psycho mass murderer. Astor points out that Americans ignored the millions of people killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Germans ignored the fetid stench of burning human flesh which hung in the air and today, by various accounts besides the 1.3 million unborn babies destroyed every year in the USA, eye witnesses have stated that the Chinese are still murdering 10,000 people per year, and so forth. Astor does a superb job of acquainting the reader with Josef Mengele, the man and facts surrounding his actions at Autzwitz - he does so without being overly dramatic but without white washing things either. This book should be a must read for our school kids, for college students and so forth - this is a part of history which albeit uncomfortable to read about, everyone should become familiar with. We should never forget "he who does not study history, is doomed to repeat it".
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chadwick H. Saxelid on April 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Gerald Astor has done an excellent job recounting Joseph Menegele's life both before and after the Nazi regime. He paints a pretty depressing picture of a man with no remorse for his crimes against humanity while hiding from a world that hates him, and rightfully so, and the family that protected him. He also shows the greater impact that the personification of Menegele as Evil Incarnate had on the world and media. However the psychological motives for Menegele the man's actions during the Nazi regime remain a mystery. Perhaps this kind of evil always will.
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