Monday, October 24, 2016

Plots Against Hitler

The Plots Against Hitler by [Orbach, Danny]

The Plots Against Hitler- Danny Orbach
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: October 11, 2016

Rating (Out of 5):

Synopsis:  In 1933, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. A year later, all parties but the Nazis had been outlawed, freedom of the press was but a memory, and Hitler’s dominance seemed complete. Yet over the next few years, an unlikely clutch of conspirators emerged – soldiers, schoolteachers, politicians, diplomats, theologians, even a carpenter – who would try repeatedly to end the Fuhrer’s genocidal reign. This dramatic and deeply researched book tells the full story of those noble, ingenious, and doomed efforts. This is history at its most suspenseful, as we witness secret midnight meetings, crises of conscience, fierce debates among old friends about whether and how to dismantle Nazism, and the various plots themselves being devised and executed.  Though we know how this story ends, we’ve had no idea until now how close it came – several times – to ending very differently


The Plots Against Hitler is a well written and well researched new look at the stories of different Germans- both military and civilian- who plotted against Hitler throughout the course of his reign.  Even knowing the end of the story, the book was full of drama, intrigue, and suspense.  I knew very little about any of this before reading Orbach's book and came away from it with a deeper understanding of Germany during World War II.  Although I sometimes had trouble keeping track of individuals and their roles in the resistance, and the book sometimes fell into repeating itself, I enjoyed this informative and suspenseful history.

Plots is a balanced look at German resistance against Hitler from 1933 through 1945 and looks not only at famous attempts like Operation Valkyrie, but other serious attempts as well. I was often amazed at how many of these plots, including attempts by individual civilians, came very close to working and it was only sheer bad luck that kept them from succeeding. 

One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the end.  After exploring the various conspiracies and attempts from military and practical views, Orbach spends the last few chapters analyzing the motivations and, to a degree, the characters of members of the resistance.  He tries to discover what their motives were in terms of their own morals and ethics, whether that means they were driven by religion, patriotism, or empathy.  And he does this by analyzing everything not through the lens of 21st century hindsight and morals, but from the morals and characters of the men and women in 1930s and 1940s Germany.  The results are thought-provoking and fascinating. The Plots Against Hitler are not the stories of kings and tyrants, but of individuals making hard decisions and struggling to decide what they can live with and what sacrifices they are willing to make for what they saw as the greater good.

A must read for any history lover, especially those interested in World War II history.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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