- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: MacLehose Press (May 5, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1623653339
- ISBN-13: 978-1623653330
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 285 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Look Who's Back Hardcover – May 5, 2015
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Look Who's Back, the film, is streaming on Netflix!
"We're startled into a genuine laugh . . . Vermes plays all of this straight, or at least deadpan. He is not a historian, but his presentation of the minutiae of Hitler's life amounts to an impressive feat of historical research . . . the ventriloquism here is impressive . . . The most striking and provocative feature of the narrative, in fact, is not the decision to resurrect Hitler but the choice to use him as a first-person narrator - to risk telling us more about Hitler than could be known, in Forster's phrase.―Daniel Torday, The New York Times
"Look Who's Back is Hitler satire at its best . . . while there has been much debate over whether or why it's appropriate to laugh at Vermes's relentless Hitler satire, this well-researched and uproariously cringe-worthy book makes it hard not to . . . It is ultimately a sort of commentary on Hitler's first ascent to power-on the point at which a charismatic man starts being taken seriously, and what that transition entails . . . laugh-out-loud funny."―Kira Bindrim, Newsweek
"A hilarious, yet poignant look at today's world through the eyes of one of its most horrific villains . . . the political and social satires translate will through the language barrier as the translator, Jamie Bulloch, did a fantastic job in the writing."―Seattle Post Intelligencer
"Look Who's Back offers searing cultural and political commentary in the guise of a wildly entertaining story."―Paste Magazine
"[A] wickedly satiric first novel . . . Hitler is, of course, deadly serious, and the dissonance between his earnest bigotry and the vacuousness of our media-soaked age is the comic grist that propels the novel toward its truly ironic conclusion. While German journalist Vermes has a good deal to say about the state of contemporary Germany, his reach here is more universal, as he's crafted a sardonic send-up of a media and a world where the message doesn't matter so long as your ratings are high and your videos go viral on YouTube."―Library Journal
"Thrillingly transgressive."―The Guardian
"The joke is not on the reanimated Fuhrer, spouting predictably on immigrant and Jews, but on the ironic flippancy of the YouTube generation . . . rollickingly enjoyable."―Angel Gurria-Quintana, The Financial Times
"It is 2011 and Hitler is back and going viral in a darkly entertaining satire."―The Sunday Times
"Hilarious . . . The appeal of the story is our our own reaction to a monster's view of how we live today. And being chilled by our own empathy with his disgust toward the media, politicians, government and, of course, technology . . .Vermes could have made the star of this book anyone from history. He's really telling us about ourselves."―Esther Cepeda, Washington Post syndicated columnist
"Packed with wry, close-to-the-knuckle hilarity, and builds to a gloriously ironic conclusion."―Mail on Sunday
"Both funny and frightening, this is a subtle, historical study of the commanding nature of a fanatical demagogue, as well as a savage critique of contemporary western culture . . . a powerful and important book."―Sue Gaisford, The Independent on Sunday
"Very funny"―Financial Times
About the Author
Top customer reviews
Is this book satire, or a cautionary tale, or both? Regardless, it pushes the buttons of horror, disbelief, humor, irony, and suspense. It's hard to say this book is destined to become a classic, simply because divorced from its historical context, much of the impact of the book would be lost.
Regardless, for this present moment, it's a work I recommend for everyone.
Vermes's conceit: Adolf Hitler wakes up in a field near a soccer pitch in modern-day Berlin, with his last memories being of several hours before his suicide in April 1945. He has not aged, he has no bullet hole in his skull, and Vermes wisely does not pretend to come up with an explanation -- Hitler is just back, as the title says, still 56 years old. After a few bits of luck, he ends up a featured regular on an evening comedy show, where his unscripted rants about the decline of Germany and the infestation of immigrants are taken to be an uber-deadpan form of alt comedy. Some are offended, some are confused, but "Herr Hitler" becomes the media sensation of the day.
Vermes spends a bit of time, but too little, on the most interesting thing to satirize here -- that Hitler's capital city is now one of the most liberal and multicultural in all of Europe. A bit too much time is spent on the gymnastics of Hitler's media enablers, and by focusing on this aspect of the story, Vermes unfortunately draws attention to just how much the reader must suspend disbelief here to accept that they would make him a star despite the fact that their "comedian" refuses to give them his real name (they assume he must have one), and never breaks "character". Also, the shock value of Hitler's rants wears thin fast; it's hard to see why such a performer would be more than a flash in the pan.
The reader should also be cautioned that this is a book for a modern German reader, and there are many references to German political and entertainment figures that are not always clear.
All said, "Look Who's Back" is worth the read for anyone intrigued by the concept; it is superior to the American novel "Taft 2012", published in that year, with the conceit of that noble but obscure ex-president similarly awakening and becoming a star.
Others have reviewed the book more precisely - I can only say that it was a great read and in some ways added to my understanding of how Hitler rose to power and just how gullible (or culpable) people (especially the media) remain to this day.
Some folks don't like the book's humorous approach to 'What if Hitler returned?'... but I think they're missing the whole point of the book: Just as in this book; many people dismissed Hitler as a kook and they laughed at him before he rose to power. The author makes a succinct presentation of just how it could very well happen again.
Is he funny? Not really. Lost in translation, I suppose. But daringly brave to not make him a the typical nut-job buffoon. It's very probable that this is some cryptic dog-whistle Germany for Germany's sake. I've rarely met a German who didn't take great pride in anything German. My old landlady said they had the best hot dogs and would only buy German products (foolishly in the case of that Bosche dishwasher).
Forgive the typos, I'm an American. You should see our public school system.