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on September 2, 2015
Michael Minnis is an unsung genius. This book blew me away starting from page one. YES, it reminded me of Slaughter House Five but NO, it wasn't a direct clone of Vonnegut in anyway. It's resemblance was from the non-linear story form. Which I love, and I think more stories need to be told that way. Pulp Fiction and Catch 22 were written that way, and they all have their own vibe to the story structure. It also has that shoulder shrugging quality to tragedy like Vonnegut's work as well. The worst moments weren't so much the death, but the futility and hopelnessness after the fact. The whole "Now what?" after all was lost. Albert Behrens was such a remarkable character. Here was this dude who's ideals were nothing like mine. I saw how brain washed the people of Germany were via the Nazi's propaganda. Here was a man who contributed to said brain washing and propaganda in the most delightful, goofy sort of way...which was ultimately terrifying. Albert was just a hopeless, pathetic sack of (bleep) too. Practically handing over his true love to the enemy, and taking his once beautiful life for granted...only to realize what he lost from his need to feel important. Albert Behrens is like too many people I know. And they aren't Nazi's. We're also subjugated to the same goofy, whimsical propaganda akin to Albert's provision. Marvel super hero movies anyone? Xbox game addiction? Hey, why not get on Facebook and go RA RA RA to a group of people who believe in the same ideals.

The end was particularly poignant. While some have stated it felt like it was a different story at the end, I felt it was perfect. There was an allegory to his Hare character to how we treat technology and the internet.

I hope to see this book rise from the ranks of "discounted independent published book" to "a modern classic, and part of a top 20 recommended reading list" I loved this book so much, I shall order a print version very soon.

My last words are: Mr Minnis, I do hope you're writing some new tales in the same spirit and quality soon. I can't wait.
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on December 4, 2012
The People's Hare is an interesting and engaging book which introduces a cartoon hero, a Hare, as a believable propaganda weapon for Nazi Germany in WW II.

The People's Hare follows the journey of Albert Behrens, a young Berlin artist, who acquires fame as the creator of a propaganda comic strip hero. Albert's success is short lived and he encounters a dramatic and continuous downward spiral from celebrity, first to the eastern front, with its rain, mud, heat, cold, death and despair, to capture by the Russians and imprisonment in a gulag for ten years, repatriation to both east and west Germany, to Chile in 1967, and then to Israel after he is captured by Mossad.

Albert's creation of the Hare is a serendipitous idea formed by our protagonist, after reading an article about Superman in an SS publication. Albert believes Germany needs a weapon of deception, perhaps a cartoon hero, not unlike Superman, but different- clever, cunning, fearless and full of tricks.

Although he is just a young unknown artist, Albert's suggestion finds its way to Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler, chief of the Gestapo and head of the SS-"the second most powerful man in the Reich."

The dialogue between Albert and Himmler, over a period of many months, almost makes you believe Minnis personally transcribed those comments in the deep recesses of SS headquarters. Tension filled and believable are the conversations between Albert Behrens and Himmler as they discuss Berliners' disinterest in the war and "Germany's Jewish Problems."

Albert's comic strip, "Lights Out" is an immediate success, but with celebrity comes romantic temptations to which Albert succumbs, resulting in the loss of his true love, Renata, another young Berlin artist. Albert is sent to the Eastern Front in February 1943, captured by Russians in April 1945, and is sent to a Russian gulag where he reunites with Willi Morgen, a former colleague.

Albert emigrates to Chile in 1967 where he, a girl friend, Annmarie, and others plot to overthrow President Allende, and his cybernetic approach to the Chilean economy. Albert's farcical attempt at a coup of Allende is usurped by General Pinochet in 1973.

Minnis injects a balance of history, romance, intrigue, excitement, subtle humor, and not so subtle humor, throughout The People's Hare. It is very unique and striking.
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on October 29, 2012
Albert Behrens, the protagonist in The People's Hare, proves to be the perfect character to navigate the reader through the heart of World War II Germany, a Soviet Gulag, and all places in between, whether they be in his mind or in the world he inhabits. Written convincingly and accessibly by Mr. Minnis, Behrens gives us a glimpse into the life of a normal man caught up in events that come to propel him to places and experiences most of us can only wonder at.

At face value, Albert's tale of rise, fall, and possible redemption follows a fairly traditional arc, but it's the deeper context, the historical and almost mythological underpinnings of the book that move it from an above average read to one that should absolutely be read. Readers willing to give the book the time it deserves will discover layers of meaning not often found in literature today, making The People's Hare a novel that can be revisited again and again, yielding something new each time.

Those many layers do not, however, make the book dense or inaccessible. It is quite the opposite, being well-paced, and very well written, easily keeping the reader engaged in the story. If you are at all interested in historical fiction, The People's Hare is a must read. If you're interested in a well told story filled with memorable characters, it's a must read. In short, The People's Hare is just that: a must read.

I would highly recommend it.
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on August 28, 2015
The other 7 readers who responded awarded this tome 4.5 stars and their summary of the story was indeed accurate. However I found this a tedious read with the story jumping almost randomly in both chronology of events and the within the events themselves. It was also weighed down heavily by minutia which simply added to the confusion of the plot(s). The story has significant periods of historical time entirely missing leaving the reader wondering what happened in those missing periods to the protagonist. I almost stopped reading it at roughly the half way point. The author's writing skill in this book is between poor and okay.
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on October 28, 2014
Don't let the description of the book mislead you. This is a rare look at Nazi Germany from the view of a German. Although a work of fiction, it takes you through life as a citizen under the SS and within the SS, providing a view that is rare. It is not a polemic for the Nazis. It is an average German getting into the cogs of the machine, and eventually facing the consequences.

The book tends to leave the tracks in Chile after the war. There, it becomes weird. Otherwise, it is a fine book and a recommended read.
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on June 25, 2015
One of the reasons why I liked this book was because it gave a different look of one man's view point from pre to post Nazi Germany up to the present. You followed him through his ups and downs, his hopes and dreams, his successes and failures. And in the end you came away with a thought provoking story about a man finding himself. I enjoyed reading it and hope others feel the same way.
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on September 7, 2015
A sophisticated idea and an interesting look at the psychology of propaganda, the power of an idea and the cost of simple mistakes brought on by emotions like bravado and jealousy. Great detail concerning military aspects of SS life and believable action. The changes in locale are handled realistically and the flavour of each one rings true.
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on June 29, 2012
This novel about a Nazi cartoonist is the freshest look at World War II in a long time. Albert Behens is a fascinating lead character, showing how a sympathetic underdog can turn evil in extreme circumstances. He is supported by a strong cast, including the convincing portraits of his lover Renata Sanger and Heinrich Himmler. The writing is superb, both in its depictions of wartime Germany and the Eastern front and in its interior work, making the reader feel he is right inside Albert's head. Highly recommended.
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