After recently reading several fictional books set in Hitler’s Germany (Garden of Beasts and Every Man Dies Alone), as well as working my way through Der Gelbe Stern, I was interested in how Hitler had come to power in the first place. There are many biographies, of course, and I picked this one because of its brevity and simple, high-school-level writing style. I read the whole book in a few hours and I got out of it what I wanted – background into the environment that allowed Hitler, obviously a lunatic and murderous criminal, to hijack an entire nation and over a period of twelve years, drive it into the dark ages, kill a significant portion of it and its neighbors, and eventually go down in flames.
While reading this, I realized that I grew up in that country, born only 11 years after Hitler’s demise, and I never learned those details. I remember in high school we studied history, ancient Greek, ancient Rome, the middle ages, the Renaissance, but somehow we never made it to the Nazi period. Was it German national embarrassment that prevented this period from making it into the curriculum? Was it rewriting of history? Or did I just luck out and make it through school without ever touching this subject – in other words: Am I alone?
I do not know. Coca’s little biography helped me out.