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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and inspiring account of the life of a good man
The book begins with Otto's early life in a wealthy liberal Jewish family in Franfurt and continues through a period working for Macy's department store in New York before the First World War, his service in the German army, the post WW1 decline in the family's fortune, his marriage and the eventual move to Holland to escape the rise of Nazism, culminating in the period...
Published on 30 Oct 2006 by A. BUTTERWORTH

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as I expected
I have read Anne Frank's diary and therefore thought this would be a great read to find see another perspective on life in the annexe and afterwards. I have to say I was disappointed, I wanted to read more about how he felt during the hiding, how being turned in made him feel etc. it was very factual. I felt it also spent too much time on who wanted to write this for the...
Published 20 months ago by K. Warren


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and inspiring account of the life of a good man, 30 Oct 2006
By 
A. BUTTERWORTH (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Paperback)
The book begins with Otto's early life in a wealthy liberal Jewish family in Franfurt and continues through a period working for Macy's department store in New York before the First World War, his service in the German army, the post WW1 decline in the family's fortune, his marriage and the eventual move to Holland to escape the rise of Nazism, culminating in the period in hiding and eventual arrest.

The time Otto spent in Auschwitz is particularly interesting and moving. He cheated death narrowly on more than one occasion. Being over 50, he should have been gassed on arrival at Auschwitz but his tall, slim, figure and upright bearing saved him.

The author makes a credible case that the betrayer of the Frank family was one Tonny Ahlers, a Dutch Nazi. Her thesis that Ahlers also blackmailed Otto post war, and up to Otto's death in 1980, over the supplies which Otto's company made to the Wehrmacht prior to the period in hiding, is less compelling, especially since Ahlers did denounce Otto to the post war authorities. Ahlers's testimony was disregarded as he had already been jailed for his war-time activities and was seen as an unreliable witness.

The account of the struggle to publish Anne's diary and the difficulty of editing and translating into foreign language editions which preserved the tone of the original take up a lot of the later chapters and are not without interest but are perhaps treated at too great a length.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has read Anne Frank's diary and would like to learn more about the events that the Frank family lived through.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good read, 11 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Paperback)
I loved this book. I am interested in what did the civilians did and, although I have read Anne Franks diary, it was very good having a different view. I could really feel the sorrow of what Anne, her sister and her mother went through. However, it didn't start and end with the war. There are some fascinating insights. There are also some really lovely photos.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 20 Nov 2009
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R. Davies (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Paperback)
I think that this is essential reading for anyone who is interested in Anne Frank and her story, or in the occupation of the Netherlands and the fate of the country's Jews.

This biography is compelling. Fascinating, and very well-written in a fluid, natural style.

My main reason for recommending it is that it does not portray Otto as holier-than-thou, which would have been tempting given his status as "the perfect father", a hard-worker, and his dignified, calm, patrician bearing. For example, the author examines Otto's loveless marriage-of-convenience to Edith, whose dowry helped finance his company, and the probability that he favoured Anne over her elder sister Margot. She also hints at the possibility that in introducing her to his family in Basel after the war, he may have led Peter Pfeffer's widow to believe that he wanted to marry her, before disappointing her by proposing to someone else. The issue of blackmail, and specifically why Otto may have been vulnerable to it, is also discussed at length. It was refreshing to see Otto Frank portrayed as a flawed human being and not as a saint. This in no way detracted from my admiration for him though; having finished the book I still regard him as an extraordinary person.

I was also impressed with the author's forensic and careful analysis of the issue of the Franks' betrayal. She clearly worked very hard on this aspect, and refrained from merely re-hashing established theories.

Like a previous reviewer, I found the section about the problems surrounding publication of the diary a little too convoluted, although it was useful in showing how much pressure Otto was under in the aftermath of the war; it disabuses the reader of the idea that once the diary came to light, Otto's life became easier.

Watch out for the interesting twist at the end of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read for someone who already knows something about the subject, 11 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Paperback)
I started reading this book thinking that I would know much of it already, as I have read a few things on Anne Frank, but it did have some things which I hadn't read about before, including some interesting information about who betrayed the family. It went through Otto's life before the war, he came from a well off family, and was in the German Army, and then his time during the war and in concentration camps, and then his life afterwards and how the publication of Anne's diary came about. I did think it was good as, especially when describing his life during the war and in the camps, other sources and books written by those who experienced it were quoted, which was good. It made you realise how they weren't alone and there were so many other people who suffered the same fate as them. The after-war bit wasn't quite as interesting - there was long and boring section about some disputes over the play of Anne Frank's diary - but it was interesting overall. Not for someone who is casually interested in this period of history, but if you have an interest and have already read other books, this is good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good, 27 Dec 2013
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I bought this as a present and have been told it is very good it seems to be a very intresting period for a lot of people
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the life of otto frank, 14 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Paperback)
the book opend my eyes of how the times were before the war the war years, and the years after the war, were for otto frank and all the dificultys he faced. and the heart renching decision he took when he decided to publish annes diary. i couldnt put the book down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 1 Oct 2012
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Carol Ann Lee's biography is beautifully researched and accessibly written. The nuances in Otto Frank's character are honestly and empathetically explored. Frank's experience after the war as a survivor, coming to terms with his own immense loss, is incredibly moving to read, especially his navigation of Holland's fractured society after the war, where gentiles, jews, Dutch and Germans were all trying to make sense of their individual experiences. Other reviewers have mentioned that the passages in this book about Otto's battle with publishers after the war are over-long, but I found this part of his story the most revealing, reflecting as it does the varying manifestations of public anti-semitism in the post war years. Otto had incredible strength, never lapsing into hatred or revenge, and recognising that his daughter's message, that there is more good in people than evil, is the right way to live.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading, 27 Oct 2011
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I. Asquith (uk) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed the book but also learned a lot. Carol Ann Lee has really done her research well. I will read more of her books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 11 Dec 2010
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This review is from: The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Paperback)
Having read 'Roses From The Earth' by the same author, I also purchased this book and was, once again, astounded by the same research, dedication and knowledge also found in this book. It caused a real stir in Holland and the case of who betrayed the Frank family was reopened on the strength of this book. A complete in depth look at the life, times and struggles of Otto Frank and his family. Brilliant.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as I expected, 22 Oct 2012
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K. Warren (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Paperback)
I have read Anne Frank's diary and therefore thought this would be a great read to find see another perspective on life in the annexe and afterwards. I have to say I was disappointed, I wanted to read more about how he felt during the hiding, how being turned in made him feel etc. it was very factual. I felt it also spent too much time on who wanted to write this for the film who wanted to write that, not sure so much of the book needed to be spent on that.

I wanted more of a read from the heart, but it was more of a read from the head. Plus a quarter of the book is references etc.

On the plus side it was fascinating as to how and why the annexe was organised, all the people involved in the Franks going in to hiding and how Otto survived. I just wish more of the book was spent on that.
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The Hidden Life of Otto Frank by Carol Ann Lee (Paperback - 3 July 2003)
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