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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- Zachary B.
Disappointing except for the narrator