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Not Me: Memoirs of a German Childhood Hardcover – 1 Aug 2012
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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
'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 TimesSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a slow burner, it was a long tome to read it. Fascinating non the less.Published on 30 Mar. 2015 by Gillywillykins
I found this book very interesting what life was like for an ordinary German and also being against the Nazi Regime.Published on 12 Sept. 2013 by Derek I. Barkes
A fascinating biography of a man whose father was very opposed to Hitler but who was still obliged to join the army.Published on 28 Nov. 2012 by Mr. David G. Burton