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Not Me: Memoirs of a German Childhood by [Fest, Joachim]
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Not Me: Memoirs of a German Childhood Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Exceptional... it tells in a modest, believable, quietly bitter and totally proud way of a family's extraordinary decency... Strong and unique. Without it, the English language these days is short a very good book. --New York Times

Fest's accounts of being called up, of trying to avoid military service, fighting, seeing comrades die, and being caught and kept as a prisoner of war are engrossing --Independent on Sunday

A heroic interrogation of Germany's past --Sunday Telegraph

Book Description

'Exceptional... it tells in a modest, believable, quietly bitter and totally proud way of a family's extraordinary decency... Strong and unique. Without it, the English language these days is short a very good book.' New York Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1886 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (1 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008J2GCI0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #335,080 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read Fest's biography of Hitler, and thought his own history would be interesting. It was.

This book has a number of strong elements. Fest's family, especially his father, were opponents of Nazism, and managed to tread the fine line of been open (to a degree) about their opposition, whilst avoiding imprisonment, or worse. His father was barred from his profession of teaching, but continued to avoid compromising himself to support the Nazis, in collaboration with friends and acquaintances. Those wanting acts of daring resistance will not find them here. To paraphrase his father, he made mistakes, but he did no wrong. Fest himself, as a teenager, was precociously academic in his interests, and there are some long passages about classical German literature and music which some might find tedious and hard to follow as few can probably equal his literary prowess. (I include myself in this group.) To me, Fest's very strong grounding in German culture illustrated that there was nothing special in German culture which inevitably led to the horrors of the Nazis - Hitler was an aberration, rather than a natural consequence of how German culture evolved. Fest's war time experiences are exciting to read, and I found the immediate aftermath of the war interesting - a time when being demobbed was a different experience in Germany to the UK.

As a former student at the Free University in Berlin (during the 1970s when the Wall was still firmly in place), where Fest also studied, I would have been interested to read more about how his family and friends fared in post war Berlin, with the Blockade, erection of the Wall and so on. I suppose that there is another tale to tell from that period, but it will have to be by someone other than Fest.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Not Me" is the autobiography of Joachim Fest covering his childhood in Berlin during the Weimar Republic and his adolescence under the Third Reich. As the social history of a particular time and place, with echoes of the old Prussia and a time when German and Yiddish were spoken from the Baltic to the Black Sea: fascinating. As an insight into human nature: both depressing and uplifting at the same time. It's a tale of integrity and decency in a world where most will make their own compromises with evil. The title comes, apparently, from Fest's father's maxim, taken from Matthew's gospel: "Others betray you, not I". Fest's father lost his job as a school headmaster for refusing to join the National Socialists - a fact which gives more than a hint about the way things go for the family. If you read just one book this year . . . . . .
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book and read it very quickly. For me it was a bonus that I knew the places in Berlin which are mentioned, but if you don't it does not matter. The author describes the ambience sufficiently well. Of course the book is to some extent an apologia, but the author is at pains to explain that childhood memories are inevitably inaccurate and the book gives a fascinating insight into life for the ordinary,but educated, non-supportive German family under the Nazis.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this book and have recommended it to my friends. It provides a different perspective than the one that one usually hears on WW2. It shows the problems that Fest and his family had in not supporting the Hitler regime and how they were made to pay for sticking to their principles. It shows that life could be grim for people who were not Nazi supporters. As well as getting an insider's view of life in Hitler's Germany prior to and during the war, there is the opportunity to see aspects of the German educational system during these times. I generally do not read autobiographies, since I feel that they can easily become slanted to put over ideas that the author wishes to make, which may well be an exaggeration. I feel that this may occur in this book as Fest go to some length at times to show how well read he is . This is a book that deserves a wide audience and one can only have an admiration for people like Joachim Fest and his family.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written but would have been better as an ordinary book giving easier access to the glossary. However I now have a better understanding of why ordinary German citizens submitted to the Nazi regime and how difficult it was for those who resisted.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered it because I like to hear what the Germans themselves say about the World War 11. Indeed it was interesting in that respect
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