Diary of a Man in Despair Hardcover – Jan 1970
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Top Customer Reviews
This edition of the diary doesn't seem to differ from any other, in that it begins in 1936 and ends in 1944. There is disagreement about how he died in Dachau (for the period of the journal, he lives in Bavaria) - whether of illness or an SS bullet - but again, the relevant factor seems to be that his life was ended, one way or another, by the Nazis whom he so loathed. Despite an introduction and a foreword by the translator, it isn't clear whether what is published constitutes the whole journal or merely sections chosen by editors. Chapters are headed by month and year, and were sporadically written; nor are they too forthcoming about Reck's daily life or personal circumstances, while encompassing anecdotes past and contemporary, the weather and so on. His tone is scathing: he admits he lives and breathes hatred for the regime that has degraded his beloved Germany, and he has only a dry and bitter humour to help him through it.
The point that Evans makes about his being far from an obvious hero is a good one, in that Reck was a staunch conservative, a supporter of the old monarchist order that inadvertently allowed Hitler the power he craved.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Reck tells a good anecdote. He turns a witty, vicious phrase in order to express his despite. I bought this book on Kindle and have regretted it, so often have I wished to underline passages or make marginal notes, because this is a prophetic book. Not only does Reck foresee from the outset how the Nazi nightmare must end, but his diaries are nigh as pertinent today as when they were written. The demise of otium (where is the schole in our schools?), the decline of spirituality (and even its cognate sensuality), the joyless materialism, the willingness to follow the mass into a mechanised hell sooner than assert individuality or values, all are familiar today as we allow our politicians once more to surrender democracy and fair-play to yet another bureaucratic, German-dominated empire.
Reck is a Catholic. He foresees a renaissance of non-rational spirituality after the demise of Nazism. Thus far, he has been proved wrong in this alone. Whether his prophecy will be fulfilled this time round remains to be seen.
If you have an interest in the subject, you may wish to watch a documentary interview with Marlene Dietrich (who left when the Nazis came to power) by Maximillian Schell, called Marlena...she says it all: "of course I left. For goodness sake they were killing children."