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Thirty Four [Hardcover]

William Hastings Burke
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Nov 2009
Amidst the giddy chaos of Berlin, Hitler toys with death in his bunker. The golden boy of Nazism, Hermann Göring, looks set to succeed as Führer. But his bid for power ends with a cyanide capsule in a gaol cell in Nuremberg. And there history signs off on Hermann. Yet buried in the footnotes sits the extraordinary story of Hermann Göring's little brother, Albert.

A defiant anti-Nazi, Albert Göring spent the war years busting the persecuted out of concentration camps, smuggling them across borders and funnelling aid to refugees throughout Europe. He did everything to undermine his brother's regime. But by 1944 the Gestapo were hunting him down like a dog. Did Hermann step in and save his brother?

Enter William, a twentysomething from Sydney, Australia, who stumbles upon the tattered pieces of Albert's history. Shelving plans for a Ph.D., William sets off on a three year odyssey across eight countries and three continents to piece together the puzzling life of Albert Göring.

Forget staid biography. Think seat of your pants travelogue mixed with a Spielberg eye for storytelling and you start to get a taste for the energy William brings to the page. Delivering the kind of must-read story that turns history on its head, Thirty Four gives us a new hero. Standing alongside Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg is the Göring history forgot.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 241 pages
  • Publisher: Wolfgeist Ltd; 1st edition (30 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956371205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956371201
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 222,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Born in 1983, William Hastings Burke grew up on Sydney Harbour. He has since lived in the U.S., Germany, Norway and the U.K.. After graduating with an honours degree in Economics Soc. Sc. from the University of Sydney, he set up base in the student town of Freiburg, Germany. Living on sachet-mashed potato mix, kebabs and a few shifts at the local pub, he began a three year, self funded journey to uncover the story of Albert Göring.

Fed up with the stuffy academic approach to history, he is part of a new generation bringing history up to speed. This is his first book. William currently lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring true tale of a very unexpected hero 21 April 2011
By Andrew Johnston VINE VOICE
Imagine you are a wealthy industrialist, but also a humanitarian with a keen sense of justice. Imagine you live in a brutal totalitarian regime which is waging war over half the world and subjecting those under its control to acts or repression and genocide the like of which the world has never seen.

OK? Now imagine that your brother is one of your country's top military and political leaders. He's Hermann Goering, and you are his younger brother Albert.

Thirty Four is the remarkable story of how Albert Goering protected and saved the threatened and dispossessed throughout the duration of the Third Reich. He also led acts of anti-Nazi defiance and even sabotage. His innumerable exploits ranged from moving people round the Skoda empire to places where they would be less vulnerable, through remarkable political interventions such as persuading Goebbels to classify Franz Lehar's Jewish wife as an "honorary Aryan", to acts of almost unbelievable audacity like driving a convoy to a concentration camp, demanding that it be filled with "workers" for Skoda, and then freeing those supplied in a nearby forest. What's even more impressive is that through a combination of the protection afforded by his brother's name, his own charm and political skill, and Hermann's occasional protective or helpful interventions, he survived to tell the tale.

I'm always captivated by these "edge" stories from history, of those who didn't fit the mould, and this is a fascinating, uplifting and inspiring tale. It's not a hagiography - Albert's personal weaknesses and his difficult post-war years are fully acknowledged, but throughout there's a strong sense of his moral compass and his need to do something.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this down! A must read for 2010! 21 Feb 2010
By R. Chai
I came across this book after a friend had recommended it. In the first few chapters I was impressed with the author's style and attention to detail (he has a way of giving you all the facts without it seeming like a history book). But by about chapter three I was totally gripped - I couldn't stop reading until 4 in the morning! The story of Albert Goring, the little brother of Nazi criminal, Hermann Goring is mind-blowing. Albert spent the war saving the persecuted and dodging the Gestapo. He seemed to find himself at the front row of history - at university with Himmler, same circles at Count von Stauffenberg (the one who tried to blow up Hitler with his briefcase) ,best mates with The Merry Widow composer Franz Lehar and of course brother to the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany. Albert was Nazi royalty, yet he risked it all to save hundreds of Jews and political prisoners. The people he saved are the core of this book - they bring Albert to life. Oh, and I loved the author's breezy backpacker stories of his travels thrown in as well ... made it all seem like something happening in real time. This is my must-read for 2010.

PS: There is a petition to have Albert honoured by Yad Vashem. Head to [...]
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars depends what you're looking for... 10 May 2010
Purchased this book having heard about Albert Georing (Herman's beneficent brother) from a documentary on the history channel and wanted to know more. This book explores his life and acts in some detail. However almost as extensively, this book discusses the author's journey to find out about Albert. Personally this is not what I was interested in and found this deviation from the topic irritating, however I'm sure alot of readers would find this aspect of the book equally interesting. Another issue with the book was the writing style of the author - he is very expressive to the point of melodrama in parts. He appears to rarely present the facts without the addition of a personal opinion. However, very interesting story.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive 23 Feb 2010
I really enjoyed it. I think William has an easy style and some great turns of phrase. He should also write poetry. I can also imagine him to be a great feature journalist.

His passion for the subject is clear and I think that he has a real talent for connecting with people in order to get to the heart of the story.

At times I wasn't sure that the references early in chapters to his own search fully worked (and I remember the anecdote of the German culture of obeying traffic lights as confusing and perhaps a little jarring considering the wider subject matter of the holocaust) but I think this came together for me more at the end. There was also one instance where I thought more detail was required which was the statement that Albert helped to tip off the Russians about the impending invasion (Barbarossa). For me this was of huge interest.

As a fresh, personal look at a corner of history I thought it was really good and I think his pace of story telling and weaving back in earlier strands was excellent. At times the story was a little hampered by Albert mostly helping those that ultimately had connections (often in employment) that could help him but the balance of the heroics and the weaknesses of the man were more than covered elsewhere.

So, in my very humble opinion, this was a brilliantly written book in a writing style that I would look forward to reading again. He makes hard history come to life and seems to have a particular gift at looking at the human motivations and complexities of both heroes and villains. Congratulations to him on his impressive first book.
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