Coronavirus reading: These recent additions are ideal for history buffs

Where would modern book publishing be without the public’s unquenchable desire for history books relating to Adolf Hitler, his march across Europe in the 1930s, Germany’s role in World War Two, and the Allies attempts to remain resilient and victorious?

Two new books, and one in a smaller paperback format, will tick the box for readers keen to learn more about this extraordinary moment in 20th Century history. Lots to learn while in isolation…

The Gravediggers: The Last Winter of the Weimar Republic

Rudiger Barth and Hauke Friederichs

What were the political and economic circumstances in Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s which led to the rise of Adolf Hitler as a dominant political force?

This compelling new book examines the harshness of post-WW1 Germany which, despite bursts of cultural creativity, was a time of political unrest and social anxiety, compounded by a crushed post-WW1 German economy and a weakening Weimar Republic led by its elderly president Paul von Hindenberg.

The authors reveal a cast of wannabes and potential political rivals who saw themselves as Hindenberg’s successors.

Unfortunately for them, so did a disaffected former art student and member of the German Workers’ Party whose charisma, rhetoric and gang of thugs powered through the legal obstacles in their way and captured an angry nation’s soul.

Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War

Tim Bouverie

This Sunday Times  bestseller by history writer and former political journalist Tim Bouverie draws on previous unseen documents to track the rise of Hitler in 1933 Berlin, to Neville Chamberlain’s failed Munich peace mission in 1938, and on to the start of World War Two.

“The desire to avoid war by reaching a modus vivendi with the dictator states extended well beyond the confines of government,” writes the author in his introduction.

“Therefore, while the characters of Chamberlain. Edward Wood, Winston Churchill, Édouard Daladier and Franklin D Roosevelt are central to this story, I have also examined the actions of lesser-known figures, in particular the amateur diplomats.”

A thorough and fascinating study.

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz

Erik Larson

This new tome by one of our favourite non-fiction writers presents an alluring behind-the-scenes picture of life in London during the Blitz, and the intense daily challenges which faced the newly-elected Winston Churchill, his government, his close associates and his family.

Larson tells history with a fiction writer’s narrative touch; his research, and his attention to the facts, however, ensure his stories have their own “document of record” significance.

Writes Candice Millard in her recent New York Times review: “Through the remarkably skillful use of intimate diaries as well as public documents, some newly released, Larson has transformed the well-known record of 12 turbulent months, stretching from May of 1940 through May of 1941, into a book that is fresh, fast and deeply moving’’.

Corrie Perkin is a Melbourne journalist and bookseller whose Hawksburn shop is still open via mybookshop.com.au. My Bookshop is also taking book orders on 03 9824 2990

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