First published in 1955, They Thought They Were Free is an eloquent and provocative examination of the development of fascism in Germany. Milton Mayer's book is a study of 10 Germans and their lives from 1933-45, based on interviews he conducted after the war when he lived in Germany.
Mayer had a position as a research professor at the University of Frankfurt and lived in a nearby small Hessian town which he disguised with the name "Kronenberg". "These ten men were not men of distinction," Mayer noted, but they had been members of the Nazi Party; Mayer wanted to discover what had made them Nazis.
"Among the many books written on Germany after the collapse of Hitler's Thousand Year Reich, this book by Milton Mayer is one of the most readable and most enlightening." (New York Times)
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Time might change ones behaviour pattern
Yes. It is a detailed account of the thought pattern(s) that led to the destruction of the German nation through the lives of ten average individuals in a small rural town, community.
I found it a detailed book. Mr. Mayer, his presentation throughout the book gives the reader a constant barrage of options, in the various acts and behaviour of his 10 nazi friends. The constant how when where or why is always being asked in ones own mind. The book moves quickly from chapter to chapter and as often in my case, does soul searching.
I suggest that this book, might be presented to students throughout the world as an "eye opener" in regards to human behaviour. How it all did manage to come together, through no pattern of behaviour that might be deemed as what I call normal. To attempt to obliterate, erase humanity with justification? The world that I know weeps, I weep.
- Judy L. Knaapen
Disappointing except for the narrator