Viggo Mortensen's Bookshelf
By Eric A. Johnson and Karl-Heinz Reuband
A number of books have been written about Germany between roughly 1933, when Hitler came to power, and the end of the Third Reich. But this collection of oral histories of Jews and "Ordinary Germans" is impossible to put down. It helps put in context the ambivalence and slowness of citizens to react to Hitler's ruinous rise and domination. You realize that Germans never imagined that Hitler would so rapidly and profoundly change the system. It's not an easy thing to answer today—why people didn't resist more—but this book has made me think a lot about our times. Damaging changes and loss of civil liberties, of popular voices of dissent, can occur rapidly, with dire consequences, as has been seen in the East and West in recent years. This book serves as a practical lesson in history and a warning for the future.