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Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics [Paperback]

Claudia Koonz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1988

From extensive research, including a remarkable interview with the unrepentant chief of Hitler’s Women’s Bureau, this book traces the roles played by women – as followers, victims and resisters – in the rise of Nazism. Originally publishing in 1987, it is an important contribution to the understanding of women’s status, culpability, resistance and victimisation at all levels of German society, and a record of astonishing ironies and paradoxical morality, of compromise and courage, of submission and survival.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 8 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press; First Edition edition (31 Dec 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312022565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312022563
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.2 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 720,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Reviews from the original edition:

‘A splendidly thorough analysis (thought it often reads like a story) of an element of Nazism which has rarely been properly examined.’ Independent

‘A fascinating and intensely personal new study of women in Nazi Germany...a crucial insight into the role of women in that ruthless anti-feminist regime.’ Guardian

‘The first thorough treatment of women’s collaboration in the madness and evil of Adolf Hitler’s Germany...powerful, reflective and cathartic.’ Chicago Tribune

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
"Mothers in the Fatherland" the title alone strikes a chord for women's historical song, especially for those interested in the land of Bach and Beethoven. I was so looking forward to Claudia Koonz introducing me to the unknown women of Nazi Germany and in that she did not disappoint me. Koonz introduces the reader to a montage of women from her interviews with Nazi leader, Gertrud Scholtz-Klink to concentration camp survivor, Frau Dr. Jolana Roth. Koonz's presentation of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish women adds to the understanding of the woman's role during the Third Reich. With all of it's wealth of knowledge, do not expect this to be an easy read. At times, the book's molasses-like flow bogs down the reader with contrasting statements, vagueness and repetitiveness. Even with these disadvantages, I would strongly recommend the book for the serious feminist or German historian.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Out of personal interest (family members were executed by Nazi military--they weren't Jewish but they were poor--i.e. undesirables) I wanted to read this book. It is the history that American(I grew up there)kids should be taught. It is real life men and women from pre-Nazi to post-Nazi Germany, their fears motives, politics and secrets. The fascist empire that was Nazi Germany could well happen in the US yet. This book should be taken very seriously before we forget what happened.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Disturbing, Informative 27 Feb 2005
By Danusha V. Goska - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics," is a scholary work, but I read it quickly, as if it were a popular page-turner. I asked myself why I was reading it so quickly.

I read this book so quickly, I think, because it fascinated me, of course, but also because it disturbed me and, given how informative the book is, I kept expecting that I'd turn the page and find THE EXPLANATION that would make it all make sense to me, and give me peace of mind.

The "it" I wanted explained, of course, was the absolute evil of Nazism. The Nazism in this book is not -- for the most part -- the public Nazism of "Trimuph of the Will" or the notorious Nazism of Auschwitz.

It's the Nazism of cookie bakers and apron wearers. It's the Nazism of women breast feeding their children and dreaming of a Judenrein Germany; their hearts aflutter at thoughts of their fuhrer.

Koonz has amassed a trove of data, including personal letters, memoirs, and newsclips, that one is unlikely to encounter in other volumes.

Inevitably, her book emerges as a social history of Nazism, the Nazism of the hearth, as it were, rather than the headlines.

As alien as Nazism is, the reader cannot help but draw parallels to the present moment.

Social reformers who oppose any birth control, and who have deep convictions about woman's place being in the home, having as many babies as possible, and quietly and unobtrusively devoting themselves to making life easier for their husbands and sons who serve the state, are not exclusively a thing of the past.

This book, in passages, made my skin crawl. It certainly made me think. It did make me cry. It is a worthy addition to the scholarship on the Nazi era, and an invitation to deep thought about misogynist ideologues' control over women's lives.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for Modern German History Majors! 18 Dec 1999
By Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was led to reading this book for a paper I did on the civil rights of women and reasons behind women's support of the state during Hitler's reign. Professor Koonz did a superb job of bring several elements together to form a large, descriptive view of the lives of all women, Christian, Jewish, Nazi, Socialist, etc. I found the interview done with Frau Scholtz-Klink, former head of the women's department under the Nazis, one of the most fascinating, especially since she has held on to her Nazism when other Germans such as Hemult Kohl have renounced and apologized for their role in Nazi Germany. For the first time in all my studies of Germany, I finally began to understand not only who, what and when but also how and why the German Weimar Republic of the 1920's could accept a dictator such as Hitler.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and well written discussion 23 May 2002
By Adam D. Wilkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In her book Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics historian Claudia Koonz tackles an interesting aspect of Nazi Germany and women's history. Koonz's topic is one that has been relatively unexplored, despite the vast abundance of historical writing and discussion on Nazi Germany since WWII. I enjoyed the book for the most part, and found her ideas and explanations for the many contradictions and issues women found in Nazi Germany to be satisfactory and enlightening. Using many previously unearthed documents and sources, Koonz attempts to explain how women survived and adapted during such a misogynist and time.
I found Koonz's writing to be both in-depth and comprehensive, but rarely boring or cumbersome. I think she did an excellent job of keeping the reader informed of her thought progression, and at times I felt that I was along with her looking for sources or trying to figure out an explanation to a problem. I liked her analysis of the Weimar republic and "New Woman" and how those factors influenced many women's decisions and opinions on submitting to Nazi dominance. I also found her chapter on Jewish women very enlightening and yet frustrating. Reading about how hopeless it seemed to the women when their children brought home Nazi propaganda from class provides a good example of the cruelty (and stupidity) of the Nazis. I do feel that Koonz tended to get bogged down in her examples of particular Nazi women. Although they were necessary, I feel that they ran long-winded at times. Overall, Mothers in the Fatherland is a very interesting and insightful analysis of this dark period of women's history.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read but still a wealth of knowledge. 22 Aug 1997
By Sallie Powell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Mothers in the Fatherland" the title alone strikes a chord for women's historical song, especially for those interested in the land of Bach and Beethoven. I was so looking forward to Claudia Koonz introducing me to the unknown women of Nazi Germany and in that she did not disappoint me. Koonz introduces the reader to a montage of women from her interviews with Nazi leader, Gertrud Scholtz-Klink to concentration camp survivor, Frau Dr. Jolana Roth. Koonz's presentation of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish women adds to the understanding of the woman's role during the Third Reich. With all of it's wealth of knowledge, do not expect this to be an easy read. At times, the book's molasses-like flow bogs down the reader with contrasting statements, vagueness and repetitiveness. Even with these disadvantages, I would strongly recommend the book for the serious feminist or German historian
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mothers in the Fatherland 29 April 2011
By Dee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Claudia Koonz wrote a comprehensive work about a topic that has not been explored in all the wealth of material we have about the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era. I had taken the book out of the library but was unable to get through it - and felt I needed to own a copy for future reference. As a "daughter" of these mothers, I try to make sense out of what seems incomprehensible and yet I see parallels and have forgiven my parent generation for having put a heavy burden of history into my cradle. Books like these may be too scholarly for many - but unless we know our history we are bound to repeat it.
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