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Defying Hitler

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Member Reviews

This was a very interesting book.  It just amazed me how brave people were during the war.  They risked life and limb to be sure the Nazi’s were defeated.  I read this book with so much admiration for the people who risked everything to stay free.  I recommend this book as it makes you realize how lucky we are to have our freedom.
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WOW! That was a lot of information!! I haven’t read a book like this before and it was very informative. I still think it’s crazy that with all the attempts on Hitler no one was successful. A lot of people gave their lives to try to end all the evil that was going on and I think that it’s nice to read about them and learn about how they tried to save all the Jewish people. 

Thank you NetGalley and Gordon Thomas; Greg Lewis for this read.
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When writing history it is a huge danger that the author picks a subject that is just too big for the abilities of the writer. Good histories narrow the focus so there is a focus to the book. I'm sorry to say that isn't the case here. In trying to tell us about all the groups inside Germany opposing Hitler, their different plans, and the actions of Hitler AND the actions of the foreign powers the existence contacted, the author token too much.

Each chapter covers a particular group or period of time but they jump from group to group or place to place, destroying any unity.

All this combined makes the book very difficult to read. Sometimes I wish more historians took a novelist's approach, giving us a narrative or story that runs through the book.

Unhappily, this book does not do that. What are compelling stories are ruined because of Lewis' scattershot unfocused approach.
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The book Defying Hitler focuses on several small pockets of resistance in Germany during Hitler's rise to power and rule. It is interesting to see all of these stories combined and see how many of these groups were at least aware of each other, if not occasionally working together. This book provides a good introduction to studying resisters in Germany. However, many of the figures in the book have already been written about and studied widely elsewhere, which somewhat undercuts the argument that there were many resisters in Germany during the time period. Still, it provides important perspectives on those who consciences and love of an ideal German nature caused them to fight back against the evil and immorality of the Nazis.
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This was a free book from NetGalley
"Defying Hitler" by Gordon Thomas and Greg Lewis

Few People were brave enough to commit their lives to working against the Nazi Regime that took control of Weimar Germany in 1933.  Every Party, non-Nazi voluntary organization were replaced with Nazi dominated organizations, religion was declared under the control of the Government. All manner of news, movies and radio came under the control of Dr Goebels and the Ministry of Propaganda.  

The Police were centralized under what became known as the Gestapo.  The ‘special’ security service of the Nazi Party (the SS, Schutzstaffel) which would become the militarized Waffen SS was in charge of purifying the Germans.  It was the SS who decided who was or wasn’t an Aryan German, they ran the Concentration Camps (KG) and trained the Einsatzgruppen whose job was to murder the enemies of the State and those considered “sub-humans”.  Lastly, there was a counterintelligence department (SD, Sicherheitzdeitz) whose remit was to ferret out any resistance to the Nazi regime.

But, there were resistance groups, though none were as successful as those fighters in Poland and France, none was a truly organized partisan group.  Those who resisted fell into two groups, the first were propagandists who secretly produced leaflets that were randomly mailed to German citizens or left in train stations and in public places.  The second were military men who knew that Hitler and his henchmen were leading German down a road to annihilation and tried on many occasions to assassinated Hitler.

Hitler had had the military swear an oath to him, and to the Prussian military this prevented any resistance because it would reflect poorly against their honor should they go against their oath. There were five major assassination attempts against Hitler. In one, a bomb was placed on his private plane, but hadn’t detonated because the fuses had frozen in the belly of the plane.  In the other, occurred in 1944 with a bomb in the Wolf’s Lair in Prussia, Hitler was protected by a heavy wooden table that took the brunt of the explosion. After this it was impossible to get close enough to Hitler to attack him.

None of the private citizens who went into resistance had military training so that the use of explosives was precluded by most groups.  None of these groups would have been considered truly ‘dangerous’ to the Nazi regime.  Most were made up of small student groups, usually less than fifty, whose most effective weapon was propaganda leaflets.  They were only effective at annoying the SS and Himler, and did little lasting work.  Sad as it may seem, no one did anything that stopped the Nazis until Berlin and the country were left totally destroyed.

Zeb Kantrowitz            
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Nazi Germany wasn't a monolith when it came to support fo Hitler's extreme policies. This book profiles more than a dozen men and women who worked from within, sometimes with the SS and intelligence agencies, to resist, document, and otherwise put wrenches in the Nazi killing machine. It is a fascinating account of the determination of these people who put their own morality and mortality ahead of their own personal safety. Many of these stories aren't well known and deserve telling and exposure for their bravery and determination. I highly recommend this book.
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