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93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're gonna read one book, read this...
I bought this book to read on a train journey home a few years ago. The journey lasted about an hour and a half, but I finally put the book down after reading the final word of the final page at 4am the next morning. Apart from showing my ticket to the conductor I don't think I talked to anyone in between. I was hooked. I even ignored the pretty brunette sat opposite...
Published on 4 Aug 2003 by jamesoles

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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good novel but a missed opportunity
Robert Harris takes us to Berlin in 1964, a German capital that is the cultural, social and economic centre of Europe. Architecturally, philosophically and socially the Nazis have made their mark through Europe applying their ideology to everything that stands in its path. There is a world wide detente with (presumably) three political superblocs USSR, the USA and...
Published on 15 Jun 1999


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93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're gonna read one book, read this..., 4 Aug 2003
This review is from: Fatherland (Paperback)
I bought this book to read on a train journey home a few years ago. The journey lasted about an hour and a half, but I finally put the book down after reading the final word of the final page at 4am the next morning. Apart from showing my ticket to the conductor I don't think I talked to anyone in between. I was hooked. I even ignored the pretty brunette sat opposite me. Set in 1964, with Hitler having won the war and ruling over a Greater German Reich, a German policeman investigates a supposedly routine death and ends up uncovering a secret that some people will go to any length to protect. A great read that will leave an impact on you years after your first read.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good novel but a missed opportunity, 15 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Fatherland (Paperback)
Robert Harris takes us to Berlin in 1964, a German capital that is the cultural, social and economic centre of Europe. Architecturally, philosophically and socially the Nazis have made their mark through Europe applying their ideology to everything that stands in its path. There is a world wide detente with (presumably) three political superblocs USSR, the USA and the Greater Germany.
This book addresses the old conundrum of how do you spy on the spys? Or in this instance how do you investigate the secret police especially when it is in an extrememely effective and efficiently run totalitarian state? The story takes us from a run of the mill accidental death to a crime that could bring the existence of this perfectly modelled aryan society to an end, not to mention world harmony.
This is a thriller that almost keeps the reader guesssing to the end. As thrillers go it is very good in its own genre but I did have a strong feeling of a missed opportunity. The totalitarian super state or the Nazis Europe concepts are not new - see Orwell and Deighton. There was one key missing factor in this book; and that is, at no point did I feel that I was reading a book about the 1960's.
For all of the work that Harris has done manufacturing the detail he has missed out on the back drop. All of the references and historical notes and even the people are taken from the 1930's as if nothing has happened from 1940 to 1964. Even in a totalitarian state attitudes, behaviour and points of view change both from governments and citizens. Harris will have us believe that the increased German state of the early 1960's is identical in character to the Germany of the 1930's.
Further embellishment and consideration as to how 30 years of change would have affected this dictatorship could have made this a great piece of fiction rather than a good novel.
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54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, thought-provoking, superb!, 2 Aug 2010
By 
Mr. Tony Griffiths "Griff" (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fatherland (Paperback)
Follow following advice:-
1. Buy book
2. Open first page
3. Cancel plans to visit pub/work/eat/drink for approximately 2 days
4. Immerse in contents until final page read.
5. Tell your friends that this book is superb
6. Resume boring life...

Say no more. Brilliant.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking thriller, 23 July 2010
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fatherland (Paperback)
In this book Robert Harris describes vividly a world in which the Nazis won the Second World War and all of their grand schemes came to fruition. His attention to detail is what makes this work so well and feel so real. The Berlin of the sixties he describes is the one set out in Albert Speer, the Nazi architect's plans. The documents Zavi discovers are based on, and in some cases are, actual documents from the time, and the atmosphere and setting are just right because of it.

This is a tautly plotted, suspenseful thriller set in the Berlin of 1964, just as the Americans are due to enter into a period of detente with the Germans under the leadership of Joseph Kennedy. Zavi, the hero, a disillusioned cop with a broken marriage behind him, is called to investigate the death of what turns out to be a previously high ranking Nazi official from the early days of National Socialism. As he gets deeper into the investigation it becomes clear that this death is not as straightforward a matter as he previously suspected, and intrigue piles upon intrigue, resulting in a beautifully complex plot in which it becomes clear that Zavi is on shaky ground and knowing who to trust will make the difference between life and death.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic, 11 Mar 2001
This review is from: Fatherland (Paperback)
Fatherland is like a blueprint on how to write the perfect novel - it's well-written, commercial, thought-provoking and resonated in my mind long after I'd finished it, and the fact that so much of the documentation is real is frightening. I've had three novels published and recently I've found it incredibly difficult to find books that I can't criticise - Fatherland is one of them. I couldn't put it down. The hero, March, is such a well-rounded character that he just won't leave my mind, I keep thinking about him and wanting to go back to the book and re-read parts. Harris's skill as a writer is masterly, the book is fabulously crafted and yet seems effortless: taut prose with not a word wasted, descriptions of Berlin woven into the (realistic) dialogue, suspense, conflict, believable characters with interesting human flaws, and a finale that leaves you kicking yourself that you didn't spot certain things along the way. The reviewers who have been critical of the ending must have no imagination - a novelist who has the guts to leave a little to the reader is paying them the greatest compliment - if Robert Harris had spelled it all out in words of one syllable as some people seem to have wanted him to, it would have cheapened the experience. This book is thrilling - READ IT! I'm off to hunt for Archangel and Enigma now, hope they're as good as this one.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read as well as thought provoking, 7 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Fatherland (Paperback)
Fatherland is a cracking good yarn, a highly readable story of political intrigue and personal secrets. The plot moves swiftly and intelligently, building to an ending which is both intriguing and awesomely plausible. Above all, Harris draws a fascinating and all too believable picture of a Europe reshaped and defined by German victory at the end of World War II, a vision which not only intrigues and reminds one that history could have been very different, but also reinforces the view that history is written by the winning side. While not great literature by any means, this is a thought provoking book, and seriously recommended for its readability.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Read, 28 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Fatherland (Paperback)
I thought Fatherland was an extremely well written , accurate and gripping account of a scenario that most of us could never imagine. The characters were life like and Robert Harris managed to make you feel like you had met the characters before. You felt that you were in their shoes and made every decision with them. I found this book impossible to put down ( to use an overworked cliche !) I thought the ending was particulary good and fitted in brilliantly with the rest of the book. The book was factually correct and used actual Nazi documents to fill out the story An excellent read that I would reccomend to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing premise, 7 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Fatherland: 20th Anniversary Edition (Kindle Edition)
I enjoy books about World War 2 and this was an interesting idea: what if Hitler and the Nazis had won? A well-crafted and tense thriller, one of Harris's best I think.(His best must surely be his latest, An Officer and A Spy, which I would rate as 5 star, it's brilliant!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling and full of suspense, 31 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Fatherland (Paperback)
This is not the first "alternative history" in which the writer posits a German victory in World War Two, but the approach, where a stubborn Berlin detective stumbles across information about the covert extermination of the Jews two decades before and determines to tell the world about it, is novel and fascinating. There are cleverly contrived surprises and this "possible future" is convincingly portrayed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit predictable, 1 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Fatherland: 20th Anniversary Edition (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book as I found the concept interesting. And the book was interesting. Also well written although I found the characters a trifle stereotypical and the ending predictable. It would be great to have a book where the protagonist was not already an outsider of society but rather an insider who slowly discovers and is repelled by all that is wrong in this fictional state of Germany.
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