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Original Essays | July 22, 2014

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Diary of a Man in Despair (New York Review Books Classics)

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Diary of a Man in Despair (New York Review Books Classics) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“My friends have warned me about my writings. Driven as I am by internal necessity, I must ignore their warnings and I must continue these notes, which are intended as a contribution to the cultural history of the Nazi period. Night after night I hide this record deep in the woods on my land...constantly on the watch lest I am observed, constantly changing my hiding place.” Friedrich Reck might seem an unlikely rebel against Nazism. A minor aristocrat who had made a career writing fiction for the masses, he was not just a conservative but a rock-ribbed reactionary, who played the part of a landed gentleman, deplored democracy, and rejected the modern world outright. To Reck the Nazis were ruthless revolutionaries in Gothic drag, and helpless as he was to counter the spell they had cast on the German people, he felt compelled to record the corruptions of their rule. The book that resulted, published only after Reck’s death in Dachau and after Germany was defeated, is less a diary than a sequence of stark and astonishing snapshots of life in Germany between 1936 and 1944. We see the Nazis at the peak of power, and we see the murderous panic with which they respond to approaching defeat. Reck describes the travesty of traditional folkways that the Nazis engage in the name of the Volk, ruminates on the character of Hitler and regrets a missed opportunity he had to shoot him, describes the bombing of Munich, joins the resistance, and waits for arrest knowing he has been betrayed. This riveting book is not only, as Hannah Arendt proclaimed it, “one of the most important documents of the Hitler period” but a moving testament of a decent if sometimes deluded man struggling to do the right thing in a depraved world.

Synopsis:

Friedrich Reck might seem an unlikely rebel against Nazism. Not just a conservative but a rock-ribbed reactionary, he played the part of a landed gentleman, deplored democracy, and rejected the modern world outright. To Reck the Nazis were ruthless revolutionaries in Gothic drag, and helpless as he was to counter the spell they had cast on the German people, he felt compelled to record the corruptions of their rule. The result is less a diary than a sequence of stark and astonishing snapshots of life in Germany between 1936 and 1944. We see the Nazis at the peak of power, and the murderous panic with which they respond to approaching defeat; their travesty of traditional folkways in the name of the Volk; and the author’s own missed opportunity to shoot Hitler. This riveting book is not only, as Hannah Arendt proclaimed it, “one of the most important documents of the Hitler period” but a moving testament of a decent man struggling to do the right thing in a depraved world.

About the Author

Friedrich Reck (1884–1945) was born Friedrich Percyval Reck-Malleczewen, the son of a landed aristocrat from East Prussia who was also a conservative politician. He studied medicine and, in 1912, embarked as a ship’s doctor en route to America. Upon his return to Germany, he settled in Bavaria and began to collaborate with the Süddeutsche Zeitung. He wrote theater criticism, children’s adventure stories, and historical novels, becoming a well-known figure in Munich society. In October 1944 he was arrested for the first time; in December of the same year the Gestapo returned to detain him again; in January 1945 he arrived at the Dachau concentration camp and died shortly thereafter.

 

Paul Rubens (1927–2003), a self-educated native New Yorker, mastered the German language as a member of the U.S. occupation forces after World War II.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781590175866
Author:
Reck, Friedrich
Publisher:
New York Review of Books
Author:
Paul Rubens
Author:
Evans, Richard
Author:
Evans, Richard J.
Subject:
Biography-Political
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
264
Dimensions:
7.98 x 5.14 x 0.59 in 0.62 lb

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Biography » General
Biography » Political
History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » Nazi Germany
History and Social Science » Military » World War I
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » Nazi Germany
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Diary of a Man in Despair (New York Review Books Classics) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 264 pages New York Review of Books - English 9781590175866 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Friedrich Reck might seem an unlikely rebel against Nazism. Not just a conservative but a rock-ribbed reactionary, he played the part of a landed gentleman, deplored democracy, and rejected the modern world outright. To Reck the Nazis were ruthless revolutionaries in Gothic drag, and helpless as he was to counter the spell they had cast on the German people, he felt compelled to record the corruptions of their rule. The result is less a diary than a sequence of stark and astonishing snapshots of life in Germany between 1936 and 1944. We see the Nazis at the peak of power, and the murderous panic with which they respond to approaching defeat; their travesty of traditional folkways in the name of the Volk; and the author’s own missed opportunity to shoot Hitler. This riveting book is not only, as Hannah Arendt proclaimed it, “one of the most important documents of the Hitler period” but a moving testament of a decent man struggling to do the right thing in a depraved world.
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