- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Kindly Ones Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 3, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From The New Yorker
Top Customer Reviews
After a brief prologue in which the narrator introduces himself as a war criminal in hiding, the action opens with the Germans' brutal invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and concludes, almost a thousand pages later, with Berlin in ashes in 1945. The protagonist and narrator, Dr. Max Aue, bobs along with the flow and ebb of German fortunes on the Eastern Front like a stormtrooper Candide--except that he inflicts as well as endures enormous suffering.
Aue is not only an enthusiastic Nazi, but a first-class catastrophe of misdirected sexuality. Without giving anything away about his issues, let's just say that he gives anyone in Dr. Freud's files--or Greek tragedy--a run for their money. Yet whatever sympathy the narrator may occasionally earn for his tortured personal backstory, sporadic self-awareness and reliable literary flair is quickly squandered by his willing participation in many of the Nazi regime's atrocities, as well as several that are entirely his own.Read more ›
The Kindly Ones will certainly not be to everyone's taste and Littell took a huge risk in tackling such a sensitive and explosive topic in the way he did. I have been haunted by this novel from time to time since I read it, but I dont regret it. There is a case to be made that it's garbage, but in the end, for me, I found it deeply illuminating in places, and ultimately satisfying as art. Human evil remains a mystery here and that is as at should be.
The truth is that although the opening chapter of the book concentrates substantially on the "ordinary men" theme, the rest of the novel seems to largely abandon it. The most telling evidence of this is that having opened with a question, the book has no conclusion. It simply crash-lands where the narrative ends. And in case you're guessing that the book is *deliberately* left open-ended to keep the reader thinking, I must say that I find that hard to credit. The story just ... stops.
The moments that I have been able to identify, however, where the narrative *substantially* ponders the issue of "ordinary men" - and the horrors they perpetrate - are as follows:
Max Aue (the narrator), witnessing the massacres of Jews in the east, realises that his own urge to be "radical", his yearning for "the absolute" has led him to this point;
Aue muses that the apparent sadism and brutality of the SS is a result of them psychologically reaching for the converse of the pity for "the other" which they recognise in themselves;
Aue realises that he is becoming inured to the horror surrounding him, and attempts to regain that "initial shock";
pp.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book still haunts me a few years after reading it. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever read (psychologically speaking), but also one of the best. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jaybee
This was a dense and difficult book that I did not enjoy reading. I found the main character to be self-indulgent and not very sympathetic.Published 1 month ago by Vic Galfano
I am not sure why this book is not popular with the American audience. It is really good and showed the Nazi system from inside out with some nice historical fiction. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Artur Kedziora
Amazing novel about the Eastern Front and I give kudos to Littell for how much work he put in and it definitely shows. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Anna
This book is many things; (1) a Tolstoy-ish historical novel (complete with philosophical and political analysis), one of the absolute best ever written --- lucid prose,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by P.H.
This memoir of a fictional, high-ranking bureaucrat in the Nazi SS was recommended to me years ago by, of all people, a young Israeli Jew who insisted it was the finest thing she... Read morePublished 4 months ago by jafrank
I don't understand why this book failed to catch on in the States, but to me this title is right there with McCarthy's Blood Meridian for narratives that I can pull off the shelf... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Wendi Wolfe
I was one of the 17,000 people who made this an "extremely low" purchase number in the USA. This, of course, does not (necessarily) reflect on the quality of the book. Read morePublished 6 months ago by srrecords