1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
decent read but left me with mixed emotions,
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This review is from: Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz (Hardcover)
I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend
i found it enthralling and odd at the same time
without wanting to give too much away I found myself rooting for the bad guy and not really liking the "good" guy by the end of the book
obviously ,historically this is wrong but the book seems to send mixed messages to me anyway
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Initial post: 17 Jul 2014 14:41:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jul 2014 14:44:25 BDT
Interesting comment, and underlines what I thought was one of the most fascinating aspects of the book - that the author didn't paint Rudolf Hoess as a total villain or Hanns Alexander as a total hero. It seems incredible given what he did, but Hoess clearly was a loving father and a diligent worker, while Alexander obviously had his flaws - I would think he might have been a most irritating child, and he certainly dangled his future wife on a string for years while avoiding the commitment of marriage. I was particularly struck by the incidents in which Hanns and Paul, as children and adults, teased children (tying one to a tree and leaving two trapped in a hole in the ground) in a way that left me feeling rather uncomfortable and wondering how different Hanns and Rudolf really were. The point, which in my opinion the author makes very well, is that both were human beings with all the flaws that being human entails. That, I think is what adds to the awful fascination of their stories.
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2014 17:20:48 BDT
well said Rosemary
like it or not its only for a twist of fate that ordinary people do evil things
if things had worked differently hoess would have been a farmer or book keeper
bashar al assad would be an optician in north london,and hitler an artist in vienna (he was rejected)
however none of this makes any difference to their later actions in life
all the same the book left me feeling strange
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jul 2014 17:19:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Jul 2014 17:20:05 BDT
A Ryder says:
Harding set out his stall from the preface, in which he states that Hanns was no angel, and I think he does a good job of remaining objective, considering their familial ties. He mentions various actions of both Hanns and Rudolf without passing judgement, merely drawing attention to the fact that x is hearsay or y unverifiable. I felt it was one of the strengths of the book, although it wasn't conducive to a comfortable read.
The only imbalance was the existence of Rudolf's autobiography, in contrast to the odd letter and reported conversation of Hanns, while the Alexander family were naturally far more forthcoming than Rudolf's surviving relatives.
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jul 2014 21:17:10 BDT
obviously there is far more info in the public domain regarding hoess than hanns
I suppose the reality is that nothing is black and white just different shades of grey
Posted on 16 Aug 2014 18:30:25 BDT
It certainly made me think about what would have happened if Hoess had gone into "better cirmumstances" and Alexander had been on the loosers side, drawn to the dark side. That is the very point of Harding´s story. They both had the dark and the light side within them, without excusing either of them for what they did or potentially could have done.
I loved the book.
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