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Publisher's Summary

This riveting account of German resistance is based on years of research by the distinguished journalist Anne Nelson. This is a beautiful and moving portrait of ordinary but heroic figures - an untold story of a circle of Germans and German-Americans in Berlin who took a principled stand against Hitler and the Holocaust. They expressed their opposition by infiltrating the Nazi ministries, distributing samizdat literature to break through the information blockade, and trying to help the Allied forces achieve a military victory. The narrative is constructed around the life of Greta Kuckhoff, an "ordinary woman" educated at the University of Wisconsin, who returned to Germany only to see it sink into a fascist nightmare. The book relates the history of her resistance circle against an explanation of how Germany's civil society was systematically eroded. Greta and her friends grapple with questions of ongoing concern today. How can a citizen balance the tensions between patriotism and ethics? How can civic duty be defined in a period when peaceful protest fails? How do government restrictions and the concentration of media ownership compromise democratic expression?
©2008 Anne Nelson; (P)2009 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

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By R.S. on 11-12-09

Courage Against Totalitarianism

Red Orchestra took me by surprise. I thought it would be another rendition of the story of Leopold Trepper, and the spies, who despite warning the Soviets against the impending German invasion 0f 1941, failed because of Stalin's madness, and misplaced trust in Hitler. Although, this story in itself would be interesting, Anne Nelson`s story of the `Red Orchestra`is much much more.

Through the prism of a diverse group attempting to affirm humanity and decency, we learn about the rise and fall of Nazism, and how it exerted control on millions of citizens of a scientifically advanced industrial nation.

For anyone interested in understanding the war, and its aftermath this should be listed as an essential book.

I wish the talking book would have had an accompanying PDF for its references. That being said, this book deserves five stars.

Red Orchestra is highly recommended to anyone who seeks to understand German resistance to the Nazis and the manifold tribulations and misunderstandings such resistance entailed, before, during and after the war.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful


By ellen on 07-18-10

red orchestra

interesting insight into the resistance in germany by the communists and social democrats; great narrator; lots of names and places to follow but still done well; made me want to find out more about the individuals in the book;

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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