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A Solid Narrative,
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This review is from: Munich, 1938: Appeasement and World War II (Hardcover)Few authors are able to write narratives that keep a reader's interest from beginning to end, especially when the subject is diplomatic history. As a product of the '50's I was inculcated with the saga of Munich, Chamberlain and Hitler from grade school through high school and mostly in brief episodic and anecdotal fashion. Faber has serious talent (understatement). For me this was re-learning history in spades and especially on a subject of deep interest. Parts of the book read like a thriller from Hitler's browbeating of Schuschnigg, his constant mad tirades over Eduard Benes to anyone within earshot, the Wermacht constantly alerted then told to stand down and finally the diplomats and secretaries running and scurrying back and forth to deliver eleventh hour messages. On who's neck would Hitler bring down the Sword of Sigfreid next?
I misunderstood Chamberlain for years but the book left me convinced that he was the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time, or in today's parlance, old school. I think Faber used diary excerpts well and was able to put the reader in the room. I was astounded by Chamberlain's obsequiousness and bootlicking of Hitler. In spite of this I continued to remind myself that Chamberlain and most of the British did not want another Somme. I'm also left with a better impression of how manifestly insane Hitler was. Faber rightly places the betrayal of the Czechs in the lap of Chamberlain but I'd also like to give the French their due for backing away from their part of the TOV. I don't think much about historical "what if's" but will always wonder what the outcome would have been if Churchill had been the PM. The Munich agreement was indeed a diplomatic blunder and the ripple effect continues today in the form of historical analogy.
This was not another dry, laborious exercise of a subject that's been revisited ad infinitum but an academic work with a feeling of urgency and drama.
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Initial post: Sep 4, 2010 8:52:36 AM PDT
WT Door says:
This is what D. Selditz posts elsewhere on Amazon Customer Reviews:
"Read John Dower's War Without Mercy and Embracing The Enemy. When you're finished with those, try Tsuyoshi Hasagawa's Racing The Enemy. I think you may discover why "ritual savagery" practiced by the Japanese wasn't innate. Let's explore examples of innate ritual savagery and cultural cruelty closer to home. To wit: American soldiers extirpating plains indians, company goons beating and shooting labor activists, strikers and war protesters, murdering of abortion providers, setting dogs and fire hoses on black women and children (not to mention over a hundred years of lynching), stripping civil liberties of Japanese-American citizens, imprisoning political dissenters and last but not least the defacing of synagogues and intimidation of cultures and religions other than white and christian. If this is what you mean by innate ritual savagery then we need a closer re-examination of ourselves as a culture lest we end up uninformed or under-informed. "Cultural cruelty" was not what forced the decision to drop the bombs but Hirohito's intransigence and an active military coup who wanted to fight to the death. Unfortunately the rational members of the cabinet failed to prevail soon enough. That's it in a nutshell. If you care to explore it further than read some historical (not revisionist) fact."
"ex-para" couldn't describe him better! His opinion of the American fighting man and American history is typical 'progressive' apologetics. The para-troopers I know would shun him.
This is clearly not a cogent, thoughtful review but a left-wing race-baiting screed. The problem with people embracing this kind of mindset is their intellectual and cultural ignorance and laziness. They can't be bothered with fact. I'm embarrassed for this reviewer.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2010 1:50:49 PM PDT
D. Selditz CAN'T be a US Paratrooper! Not with that scurrilous take on the history of the American Fighting Man.
Looks for all the world like a case of Stolen Valor...
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