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Berlin 1936 by Oliver Hilmes

Berlin 1936

Berlin 1936 by Oliver Hilmes
Feb 06, 2018 | 320 Pages
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  • Hardcover $24.95

    Feb 06, 2018 | 320 Pages

  • Ebook $12.99

    Feb 06, 2018 | 304 Pages

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An Amazon BEST OF THE MONTH Category Pick in History (February)

Carrying readers to venues far from the fields of athletic competition, the richly detailed 16-day narrative spotlights men and women who receive no medals but who deserve empathetic attention….With the skill of a novelist, Hilmes weaves into his account the menacing presence of Hitler, deviously staging the Games to deceive a global audience unaware of the horrific evils he is about to unleash. A riveting drama.” –Booklist (starred)
“…panorama of that fateful summer….Hilmes provides fascinating insights into the events….Verdict: A unique sports history recommended for all libraries.” –Library Journal
 “The book, a series of vignettes about selected men and women whose lives then reflected the greater whole of the first years of Nazi rule, reads like a novel.” –The Jewish Week
 ”Oliver Hilmes’s Berlin 1936 is a punchy, vibrant, and highly original account of the most controversial of all modern Olympiads.  By viewing each day of the festival through a wide cast of characters, from diplomats and sportsmen through coronevers and concentration camp inmates, Hilmes pulls the reader into the drama of the moment without neglecting the wider context of Nazi oppression and brutality.”
David Clay Large, author of Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936, and Munich 1972: Tragedy, Terror, and Triumph at the Olympic Games
 “[A] witty, ironic diary of the final transitional days of Berlin, from bohemian superpower, to Goebbels-inspired new social media center for the gangsters of the Nazi party…It captures a moment in time never seen before…A delight to read.” —Stephen Hopkins, director of Race
“A rewarding read for the specialist historian and general public alike. Hilmes has written a history that succeeds where other narratives of the ‘Nazi Games’ often fail. He manages to bring these sixteen days in the summer of 1936 back to life by unfolding a panorama in which the everyday and banal interacts with the special and extraordinary in often surprising and insightful ways. Through his vignettes of how individuals from all walks of life experienced the Berlin Olympics he takes us back to what many contemporaries in Germany and beyond perceived as the ‘good years’ of a dictatorship that simultaneously was planning the death of tens of millions through war and genocide.” Professor Kay Schiller, author of The 1972 Munich Olympics and the Making of Modern Germany
“[G]ives a “you-are-there” sense of urgency and engagement which few books offer.” – the Beyond
“The drama and personal stories behind one of the most famous—and infamous—Olympic Games….offers memorable sequences, from chillingly amusing (Hermann Göring appearing in public in a different uniform depending on which of his many appellations an occasion called for) to harrowing, such as that prisoners already in Nazi camps were “beaten with sticks and hung from hooks with their hands bound behind their backs” while athletes celebrated 40 minutes away….Thomas Mann, listening to the Games from exile in Switzerland, knew that Hitler’s intent was “to intimidate, indeed overwhelm the rest of the world. This… illuminating book chronicles those efforts and suggests the horrors to come.” –Kirkus
“Employing an innovative novelistic approach, the author sketches the strange milieu — Nazi officials, diplomats, writers, socialites and locals — gathered for the spectacle in Berlin.” – American Jewish World
Gripping…It may seem trite to say that “Berlin 1936” reads like a novel, but it does. It’s nonfiction that reads like a horror novel, with a swirl of unaware and innocent victims, ruthless killers and a stunning, invisible stream of ice just beneath its surface….[It’s] a compelling, engrossing book through the cumulative power of so many different snapshot character studies — not just Nazis and athletes, but also regular people who had nothing to do with the games. There’s a gripping undercurrent of evil laced throughout the book because historically speaking, we know it doesn’t end well. …Together, that approach makes for a very powerful book.Washington Blade
“vibrant, polyphonic…Far more than an account of athletic feats, Hilmes pokes fun at the supposed high seriousness and pomposity of the Nazi regime while carefully detailing the city’s darker corners: its decaying nightclubs, unsolved suicides, and minorities fearing for their lives.… capturing a city suspended for 16 days on the cusp of something much darker, as the last embers of hedonistic, chaotic Weimar Berlin are stomped out forever. Moment Magazine
“Outstanding….[Hilmes’]  skillful use of excerpts from diaries and letters allows us to enter the minds of the people who are in Berlin in August 1936, the rulers and ruled, rich and poor, men and women, Germans and foreigners. It gives insights into the many ways in which a momentous event impinges on daily life. His use of the present tense lends vitality to the book; it reminds us that the events it describes are close to us in time.” –Reading in Translation
“[T]his multidimensional view of each day of the notorious 1936 Olympic Games is a brisk read and a fascinating view of prewar Germany…Famous figures such as Jesse Owens and Leni Riefenstahl make the narrative sparkle, but Hilmes’ portrayal of ordinary citizens illuminates this moment in history with an intensely palpable sense of foreboding.” – The National Book Review
“…the lives of a rich cast of international characters unfold…. if you seek an understanding of what the Olympics and situations around the 1936 Games actually meant for the people who lived during the period, you’ll enjoy this book.” –Jewish Herald Voice
“Berlin 1936 is an entertaining account of the 16 days of the Berlin Olympics. It is not a straight history of the Games… Rather it is a vivid collage of vignettes gleaned from diaries and memoirs, police reports, snippets from newspapers, and so on. It dances from comedy to tragedy, from the ironic to the sinister, to give a picture of a darkening Germany….Hilmes has an eye for incidental detail.” The Times
“meticulously researched, with the author having done extensive archival analysis. The text is wonderfully paced, enormously suspenseful, and filled with remarkably vivid descriptions….We see how the Nazi regime, lead by Goebbels, uses Orwellian language throughout the games to strengthen the Nazi state….Hilmes’s concise history of the German buildup after World War One is especially precise and instructive….Hilmes’s prose is lively and spirited… tells a truly remarkable tale of a government that would change the history of the world in but a few years.”  –History News Network
“Hilmer’s account is gripping, shrewd and insightful…It is snappy and immediate and contains snippets of cliff-hanger-like drama.” – First of the Month
“It may seem trite to say that “Berlin 1936” reads like a novel, but it does. It’s nonfiction that reads like a horror novel, with a swirl of unaware and innocent victims, ruthless killers, and a stunning, invisible stream of ice just beneath its surface….How could you resist? Don’t even try. Instead, just take “Berlin 1936” to a corner and don’t count on coming out for a good, long time. Start this book, and you’ll want to just be left alone.” –Marco Eagle
“Hilmes’s deceptively jaunty and often even comic tone echoes — presumably deliberately — the tone of the Games themselves…. As we watch North Korea make nice during the current winter Games in South Korea, here is a reminder that Olympiads can have fateful consequences. …The contours of Hilmes’s story are familiar, but the details are well selected. Jefferson Chase’s smooth translation contributes to a chillingly breezy read.” –The Spectator

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