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Last Stop Vienna [Hardcover]

Andrew Nagorski
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 269 pages
  • Publisher: James Bennett Pty Ltd (1 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743237501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743237505
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,820,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Metafictional Exploration of History 22 Sep 2009
A grave on Vienna`s Central Cemetery is the final destination for a young man from inter-war Germany. Karl Naumann is a timid, fatherless 15-year-old boy when the Great War ends and the Weimar Republic is established. Impressed by the nationalist veterans of the Free Corps in Berlin, he becomes embroiled in their violent street fighting with communist revolutionaries following the murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Once he has got into contact with Nazi activist Otto Strasser and joined a storm trooper unit, he is sent to Munich to help the rising Nazi movement and support its alliance with the right-wing parties of the Kampfbund.

The capital of Bavaria proves to be the place where Karl is initiated into what has long been regarded as true manliness. Not only does he succeed in gaining the respect of his tough comrades by guarding the public speeches of Adolf Hitler but he experiences the joys of sexuality when he falls in love with a blonde, busty nurse named Sabine Koch. Instrumental as he is to Hitler`s struggle for power, Karl has neither an inkling of his political plans nor an interest in his racial ideology. Instead, he simply contents himself with beating up political opponents and running personal errands for leading party members.

Years later Karl is given the assignment of showing Hitler`s niece the sites of the city. Angela Geli" Raubal turns out to be a 16-year-old girl from Vienna whose vivacity attracts his attention immediately. Struck by her elusive seductiveness, he cannot but feel that she is weighed down by some mysterious burden. This does not prevent him from having a passionate love affair with her as soon as she moves to Munich and settles into an apartment next to her uncle`s in Thierschstrasse 41.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book! 12 May 2003
By A Customer - Published on
I derive no greater reading pleasure than when I learn something while being highly entertained. Andrew Nagorski�s Last Stop Vienna is an amazing novel that manages to teach as well as engage. The rise and rule of Adolf Hitler is the most notorious tale of the twentieth century, yet how many people truly understand the dire social, economic, and political climate in 1920�s and 1930�s Germany that enabled the emergence of a man like Hitler? Perhaps better than any novelist in recent history, Nagorski does. Through the eyes of young and idealist Nazi Brownshirt, Karl Naumann, Nagorski tells a story that demonstrates in eerie and vivid detail how readily evil can rise out of desperation. Last Stop Vienna is not only a compelling book but also an important one. We live in an age where the conditions in many countries throughout the world are jarringly parallel to those of pre-World War II Germany. It would behoove us all to gain an understanding of such matters. Andrew Nagorski has provided us a great service by making it easy and enjoyable to edify his readers using his 288-page gem, Last Stop Vienna.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Eh. What is there to say? 14 Nov 2006
By Tony Gonzalez - Published on
I started reading the book believing it was about something totally the opposite of how it ended. Does that make sense? It begins as a good illustration into just what kind of people enlisted into the Brown Shirts, then the SA, and ultimately, the SS. I thought that was excellent... really getting into the mind of a troubled angry youth that did what thousands of others did. The SA gave the angry, brutish, and the uneducated a place to belong. They just had to sell their souls. That I got. Nagorski's depiction of the main character's mindset I got. The reacton of the main character's wife as she detests his beliefs, I got. It went so well until...well honestly around the time Geli was introduced. It departed its roots and really became a dirty novel with facist undertones. I'm not totally sure exactly what the description of the sexual encounters added to the story, but to each his own.

Maybe it was the main character, himself, that let me down. Another reviewer said it correctly, HE LEARNS NOTHING. After a while it's just outright annoying to see him walk around in the same stupifying haze he began the book in.

The ending, well I don't want to give it away if you plan on reading this book... but it was unexpected. Here, the final departure from what the book initially said it was occurs. You're left with a WTF reaction. Not so much for the sheer climax of the story, but for the "damn it, the book outright lied to me! " type reaction. Again, it may just be me. But really. What the hell? The book ends after the strange and almost silly climax. You have no real idea what the ramifications are.

If you want to read a book with a decent grasp on history with an ok fictional component, this may be worth your while. If you can get over the idiocy of the main character and simply enjoy a piece of well written fiction, read this book. If you have some time to kill, read this book. It's an easy read. I'd borrow it or buy it at a deep discount. Or you will end up like me...not knowing what to do with it after you're done. I almost feel dirty for placing it in the bookcase with my other books. Basically, this book is the reason why I normally do not read historical fiction.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and Edifying 1 April 2005
By Raphael - Published on
A vivid and engaging piece of historical fiction, Nagorski's tale traces the life of a young Karl Naumann against the stark backdrop of Germany's decaying liberal order. What begins as a coming of age story quickly maps to the increasingly dramatic events culminating in the Nazi takeover. But Naumann's investment in the events shaking Germany take on an entirely different character as he meets -- and falls in love with -- Hitler's troubled niece, Geli. Nagorski's prose is absorbing, and his grasp of the period's history is excellent. At turns thrilling and edifying, it's a story not to be missed.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 9 Mar 2003
By Tracy Rowan - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Nagorski is probably an excellent journalist. He can write, but his characterization and plotting aren't up to snuff here. The protagonist (I hesitate to use the word "hero" in this case.) is a young man who learns absolutely nothing in the nearly 300 pages of this book. He begins as an angry, irresponsible teenager who deserts his widowed mother in the aftermath of the first World War, and he ends as a prisoner who comes to hate the man (Hitler) he once worshipped, but still shares Hitler's values and beliefs. Perhaps this would have worked in a book about private people, but once you involve a public figure like Hitler, the story you're telling will grow to fit the myth that surrounds that figure.

I think referring to this novel as an alternate history is perhaps misleading. The event which makes it so occurs at the very end of the novel, and we're never really given any indication of how the event changes history as we know it. And that too, is a disappointment.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THOROUGHLY ENGROSSING 6 Jan 2003
By CAP - Published on
I read this novel in one sitting, but it stayed with me well beyond that. Nagorski has written a fascinating alterna-history that makes you wonder how our world might have turned out differently if a Karl Naumann-like figure had existed. Nagorski is masterful in evoking the time period, and he's a brilliant, even profound, writer. For anyone interested in a thought-provoking historical novel...this is a must-read.
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