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Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself: The Downfall of Ordinary Germans, 1945

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9780241399248: Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself: The Downfall of Ordinary Germans, 1945
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The extraordinary German bestseller on the final days of the Third Reich
A Times and Telegraph Book of the Year

One of the last untold stories of the Third Reich is that of the extraordinary wave of suicides, carried out not just by much of the Nazi leadership, but by thousands of ordinary Germans, in the war's closing period. Some of these were provoked by straightforward terror in the face of advancing Soviet troops or by personal guilt, but many could not be explained in such relatively straightforward terms.

Florian Huber's remarkable book, a bestseller in Germany, confronts this terrible phenomenon. Other countries have suffered defeat, but not responded in the same way. What drove whole families, who in many cases had already withstood years of deprivation, aerial bombing and deaths in battle, to do this?

In a brilliantly written, thoughtful and original work, Huber sees the entire project of the Third Reich as a sequence of almost overwhelming emotions and scenes for many Germans. He describes some of the key events which shaped the period from the First World War to the end of the Second, showing how the sheer intensity, allure and ferocity of Hitler's regime swept along millions. Its sudden end was, for many of them, simply impossible to absorb.

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Review:

Gripping ... Huber tells the shocking stories of ordinary German suicides with literary power and skill, making excellent use of unknown material. (Richard Evans The Guardian)

All eyes will be opened by the facts on offer in Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself ... Huber follows a cast of real, all-too-human characters as they head into darkness. ... His terrible evidence is priceless, and belongs on every bookshelf. (James Hawes The Spectator)

Huber retells the self-annihilation of May 1945 in dispassionate, vivid detail ... It's hard not to hear faint echoes in our current plight. (Andrew Anthony The Observer)

A remarkable book - grim and fascinating. Florian Huber tells the story well. (Robbie Millen The Times)

An under-represented history that is equal parts terrifying and tragic ... Amid the nearly unbearable darkness, Huber injects notes of hope ... Illuminating yet haunting. (Ruta Sepetys Financial Times)

Huber tells this terrible history with compassion and care. He writes with an ease that makes the book flow smoothly despite the bleak nature of the subject, aided by a fine translation from the German by Imogen Taylor. (Laurence Rees The Telegraph)

A harrowing insight into the psyche of everyday German citizens ... Huber's book is extremely well researched ... By drawing on the thoughts, movements and mental state of the diarists, he is able to provide a compelling insight into the minds of everyday Nazi citizens. (Jacob Farr The Scotsman)

A grimly compelling study of the psychology of fanaticism ... The book hints at a deep truth about war at its dirtiest. (The Economist)

Bleak, arresting ... A sobering study of a dark period of Europe's history. (Matt Elton and Ellie Cawthorne BBC History Magazine)

About the Author:

Florian Huber is a writer and documentary maker. He was born in Nuremberg in 1967. He has written four books about German history of which this is the first to be translated. He lives in Hamburg.

Imogen Taylor is a literary translator based in Berlin.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780316534307: "Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself": The Mass Suicide of Ordinary Germans in 1945

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 0316534307 ISBN 13: 9780316534307
Publisher: Little, Brown Spark, 2020
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9780141990774: Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself: The Downfall of Ordinary Germans, 1945

Penguin, 2020
Softcover

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