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Crossing Hitler: The Man Who Put the Nazis on the Witness Stand Hardcover – September 18, 2008
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"Hett has written a riveting account of Litten's life."--Jewish Book World
"Hett's well-researched history is an excellent introduction, and a creepy reminder of the insidious power of evil."--Dick Cady, ForeWord Magazine
"Hett adroitly explains the workings of the Weimar legal system and challenges the conventional wisdom that the German legal profession was, prior to 1933, so right wing that its transition to Nazism was an easy and logical step.... Recommended for all libraries."--Library Journal
About the Author
A former trial lawyer, Benjamin Carter Hett is now Associate Professor of History at Hunter College and the author of Death in the Tiergarten. He lives in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
Hett doesn't dedicate much space to Litten's personal life, if, indeed, he had a personal life. He was an obsessive man for whom everything revolved around the goals he pursued in the courtroom. There is detailed coverage of Litten's role and Hitler's difficulty in the 1931 Eden Dance Palace Trial in which four Nazi stormtroopers were accused of the attempted murder of three people at a Berlin party, a trial that may have sealed Litten's fate years hence. A year later, Litten was expelled from court for politicizing another trial of Nazi stormtroopers, this time for a violent clash with the communist Combat League Against Fascism. The book then follows Litten's movement through a series of prisons and concentration camps as a political prisoner after he was arrested in 1933.
Hans Litten is an interesting, if not likeable, man who had an important career at a pivotal time and place in history.Read more ›
My apologies for mentioning another book. However, the reason why I do so, is because Crossing Hitler is a biography of Hans Litten, who put Hitler on the witness stand in the Eden Dance Palace trial of 1931. What few realize is that Litten's questions had the potential to cause Hitler to pejure himself (thus throwing him in jail) and fracture the Nazi party. Indeed, it takes little imagination for an "alternative history" sci-fi reader such as I, to wonder what would have happened if such a thing had come to pass? How many lives would have been spared? How much destruction avoided? How different would the world now be?
This is the concept that intrigued me into deviating into the realm of non-fiction.
The book really delves into Hans Litten's personality, beliefs and motivations. It looks closely at his life both from childhood right up to his death in Dachau concentration camp - the ultimate price paid for humiliating Hitler. Likewise, it looks closely at those who surrounded Litten, and the consequences of their association with him. To give him credit, Hett (the author) did a fantastic amount of research for the book, basing the arguments he provides largely on documented historical fact, backing it up with notes at the end citing the exact references.
Likewise, while the author clearly is familiar with other biographies of Hans Litten, he strives to fully understand this brave lawyer and uses historical facts to justify his views.Read more ›
Litten who esposed left wing political causes and embraced his Jewish heritage found himself in constant conflict with the Nazi party and what they were attempting to do in Germany. The result once Hitler took power was that Litten was thrown into Dachau first as a political prisoner and, later, because of he was a Jew. Hitler had Litten tortured, humiliated and tried to defeat him. All the while Litten held on to the knowledge of that he was on the side of right and that eventually Hitler would get his due.
A fascinating biography, Crossing Hitler is well researched and written by Benjamin Carter Hett. Hett knows his history--he is an Associate Professor of History at Hunter College and also knows the law having practiced as a former trial lawyer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very detailed biographical history of a man who made his mark, stood by his principles and was not a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. Very well documented. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Gary R. Oltrogge
Opened my eyes to an unsung hero. Each of the six million victims have a fascinating story.Published on June 29, 2014 by David Olson
It is very well written. easy to read and informative. I am not one to read many biographies but this one really caught my attention.Published on June 6, 2014 by Elan
They could have got Hitler before he created all his mayhem had the German judiciary backed-up the unsung lawyer of this tragic story. Coincidentally, the Justice Dept. Read morePublished on July 23, 2012 by Whackercarthy
I did not enjoy this book at all.....I thought it was a boring account of the subject matter. Not the best written account I have read on the subject.Published on May 14, 2012 by Pat StPierre
Until this book came out, I was not aware of this situation. Hitler was a truly evil man, and he was thinking evil at the start of 1923. Read morePublished on March 22, 2012 by Kevin M Quigg
In 1931, many still felt that Hitler was a fairly light weight nut case. After all, the putsch was 8 years behind, the world was in a great depression, and two more years came... Read morePublished on September 22, 2011 by Hans Castorp
The first thing you should know: the actual trial where Hitler was cross-examined is only a tiny part of the book. Read morePublished on January 10, 2011 by N. Perz