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concerning WWII, the Nazi regime and the horrors of the Holocaust, I can honestly state that Wendy Lower uncovers perhaps the most neglected aspect of Hitler's reign of terror: the role of women. Sure, if one is widely read, the names Irma Grese and Ilsa Koch will have been encountered a time or two, but if you took nearly all of the histories of Nazi Germany to date, you might think that it had been almost entirely a male project. Lower points out very adroitly that this is truly a narrow view of what amounted to a cultural revolution---and that the culture in question was half female. As with literature on psychopaths, so with Nazi Germany: namely, that the evils of women have lain under the cover of more outwardly acting males, allowing, of course, the evil side of femininity to course through history almost unnoticed--and unchecked. Now, given another review, I must note that this is an academic work, and not chucked full of sexy gore, so if "meaty bits" are more your style, perhaps the film Ilsa, She-Wolf Of The SS might be more to your liking. But if you want a clear and intelligent investigation of a grossly underinvestigated aspect of WWII, this is the book for you. (I read this book on the heels of Jack El-Hai's The Nazi And The Psychiatrist and Thomas Harding's Hanns And Rudolph, and I recommend that they be taken along with this book.)
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Hitler's Furies again? Why?
In part. To refresh my memory.
What did you like best about this story?
It focus on a very important aspect of what is surely one of the most horrific and therefore must-confront phenomenon in history: the Nazi attempt at world-domination and genocide. Women form half the population, and to understand their role in this is essential.According to Robert & Ruth Kempner's study "Women in Nazi Germany", cited by the author, German women were fanatical supporters who had been integrated into all aspects of the government..." They estimated 7 million indoctrinated, and that 600,000 were still dangerous at the end of the war because they were politically active and indoctrinators. But despite the alarming data they compiled, "crimal investigators and denazification courts ...concluded that women in the white-collar state machinery were not threats to postwar German society."
The author writes: "at least half a million women witnessed and contributed to the operations and terror of a genocidal war in the eastern territories. The Nazi regime mobilized a generation of young females revolutionaries who were conditioned to accept violence, to incite it, and to commit it, in defense of or as an assertion of Germany's superiority."
I would recommend buying the Kindle (or a paper) version to supplement the audiobook, as there are copious notes that are often of interest. These notes take up 40% of the Kindle edition and contain a plethora of references. The book is also useful for a better understanding of foreign names, often difficult to seize by ear even when correctly pronounced.
Have you listened to any of Suzanne Toren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No. She reads well, and on the whole pronounces German words correctly.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Annette Schücking frustrating attempts to get courts to pursue war criminals.
When a German woman is executed for giving food and succor to Jewish victims.
Any additional comments?
The one reservation I have is that the author does not take into account recent research on psychopaths. Modern equipment allows an objective definition of psychopath as someone whose brain does not respond to certain types of stimuli and therefore is physiologically incapable of feelings that are the emotional underpinnings of morality. This research, unavailable to Nürnberg judges and to earlier historians and psychologists, must surely change the way we look at perpetrators of atrocities and our approach to society and moral order in general.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful