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Voices From The Third Reich: An Oral History Paperback – August 22, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo Press ed edition (August 22, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306805944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306805943
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,423,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The result of a collaborative editorial effort by two German veterans of WW II and an American college professor, these recollections from more than 150 Germans cover a wide range of experience, civilian and military, during the Nazi era. Many of those interviewed, who were children or teenagers when Hitler came to power, speak frankly about the allure of National Socialism and of the "adaptations" forced on them, internally and externally, during the war. As the editors point out, heroism and self-sacrifice are evident in many of the statements, but so are egoism and self- deception. The book challenges certain assumptions common among non-Germans: that most citizens of the Third Reich were fully aware of the crimes perpetrated by the regime; that the survivors of that generation are conscious of a burden of guilt; and finally that older Germans are happy to forget the war. The men and women included here recall their attitudes and behavior in compelling and painful detail.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A thoroughly fascinating and occasionally depressing series of excerpts from hundreds of interviews of West German and Austrian survivors of the Nazi years. In 16 thematic chapters the authors have collated brief statements on topics such as the war, genocide, resistance, women, children, simple survival, and daily affairs. The contributors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and persuasion. The result is an intriguing and troubling picture of those who made the Third Reich. Two perhaps unavoidable shortcomings mar this otherwise excellent project. First, the excerpts are very brief portions of rather lengthy interviews; the reader wishes for a more representative and cohesive sense of each respondent. Second, no East Germans are included. It would have been fascinating to see how that very different postwar political culture might have colored recollections of the Third Reich. Highly recommended.
- James B. Street, Santa Cruz P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
This was perhaps the best of Johannes Steinhoff's books, since it does not deal with his own stellar yet tragic WW II and post war career. The insights of the average person living in Germany are of great importance to both social and military historians alike. Steinhoff offered this collective testament as a warning to all of us regarding war and the rise of a dictator. As Johannes said in an interview, "It is always the civilians who suffer the most, yet are remembered the least."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent work that shows the German side of World War II. Through many accounts, the tome reveals slices of German life from the rise of Hitler to the toppling of the Reich. It shows that the German people, even during the monstrous horrors of the Holocaust, were still just people trying to survive. It is a fine work and is worthy to be included in any library.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I guess that it's an easy enough idea, write a book about people who actually lived during the war. It seems to me that books of this kind have been of great interest, especially to us who find WWII the most fastinating period in our history. I thought that the book was needed, however, I didn't think that the overall character of the book was all consuming. The best part of the book is hearing the reactions of people who had experienced the Third Reich first hand, it was very interesting hearing how they felt about the world that was crumbling around them. It is my hope that all of these people leave a record of their lives, especially for future generations to read. This book has made me understand something about people.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Wilt on December 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have always enjoyed oral histories of warfare and this one told from the German point of view did not disappoint. The book is a perspective of the war based upon interviews with young boy-soldiers, housewifes, the typical adult soldier as well as political prisoners held by the German state.

The most interesting chapters dealt with the submarine warfare and the stories told by the soldiers who fought at the Russian front. I was surprised to learn that not all Germans treated Russians like animals, and vice versa.

However, the book has a major flaw that, I think, takes away from the overall flow of the book. There are way too many people interviewed for the book. Consequently, some of their stories come across as rather disjointed and much too precise to offer any good reading. I would have preferred longer stories which would have lead to a more cohesive story. Some people tell their story in one part of the book and then part of their story is related in another chapter. The problem with this is that when the person is first introduced, there is a very short biography of the person. When that particular person's text is related later, the biography is omitted which forces the reader back to the original location of the person relating the story in order to re-read their bio. Hence, the three star rating.

All in all, the book is definitely worth reading for the WWII buff.
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