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Diary of a Man in Despair [Paperback]

Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen , Norman Stone , Paul Rubens
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Duck Editions; First Edition edition (3 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715630008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715630006
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14.9 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 461,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen, a Prussian aristocrat, began a secret diary in May 1936, which describes how a psychosis enveloped an entire society, enabling Hitler's rise to power, and the Nazi regime. His insider observations are set down with passion, outrage and almost unbearable sadness. This diary begins with the death of the corrupted Spengler (Decline of the West), describes personal encounters with Hitler (he considers shooting the Fuhrer) and abruptly stops when the diarist, at the depth of his despair, is arrested by the Gestapo. Reck-Malleczewen was executed by genickshuss (neck-shot) in Dachau on 16 February, 1945.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Ignore Norman Stone's confused and obscure introduction and go directly to this 'lost' masterpiece, available for the first time in its unexpurgated form. The author, Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen, was a minor nobleman of Prussian origins - a man of impeccable korrektheit. Unlike others of his caste, Reck-Malleczewen not only perceived the Nazi's for the guttersnipes they were, but said as much right from the outset. This man saw these vulgarians as a national shame - and sardonically remarked in his diary upon those who encouraged them when their vicious philistinism was manifest. For his opinions, Reck-Malleczewen was denounced several times to the Gestapo; his final internment at Dachau ending with a bullet through the neck just weeks before the end of the war. On a purely literary level, Reck-Malleczewen is a masterful, prejudiced and incisive commentator on the hideous carnival that was Hitler's Third Reich. It is Germany's good fortune that the contemporary observations of diarists such as Reck-Malleczewen and Victor Klemperer have survived. Not only do they bear witness to a modern Dark Age, but they reassure us that throughout it all there existed another Germany - a Germany which younger historians such as Daniel Goldhagen culpably ignore.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, eye-opening and agonisingly honest 3 April 2000
By A Customer
Much has been written about the history of Germany under the Nazi Party, but genuinely honest and critical accounts by Germans themselves have very rarely made it into the English language. This account by Friedrick Reck-Malleczewen, a Prussian noblemen who lived in Bavaria during the Hitler years, is marked by his complete despair with the German people for falling for the tricks and scams of Hitler.
This book is the first I've read by a German which seeks to explain - but not excuse - the way the German nation reacted to Hitler in terms of mass social-psychology, or sickness and disease as metaphors for the collective loss of what the author saw as the virtues of the German nation in more socially secure times. Hitler is referred to as a boil, a virus, an abortion; clearly, he associates Germany's mental collapse with the diminished human status of a satanic Hitler. His perspective as a Prussian aristocrat mourning for the loss of old virtues might, to some readers, diminish his capacity to comment on the willingness of a people to subject itself to tyranny. But I found that this does not get in the way at all with his assessment, progressing from 1936 right up to his arrest in 1944, of why Germany acted as it did.
His assessment of the drifting of the German nation into the hysteria and banality of "mass-man" psychoses is vitriolic and escoriating in its condemnation of all the elements of the - at that time - modern society. His scorn is reserved for the industrialists and petit bourgeousie who he felt had thrown their lot in with Hitler and, in so doing, betrayed the positive characteristics of the German nation.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This book was written by my father, whom I witnessed hiding the entries in our orchard from the Nazis. So to me, who is biased, it is the BEST account ever written about this time. He wrote with a passion that even one, who blissfully has not lived in those days, cannot help but being moved by.
Kind regards,
Viktoria REck-Malleczewen
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