The evil of National Socialism seeming so obvious in retrospect, it boggles the contemporary mind to reflect that such an ideology proved seductive to so many millions of Germans, including many intellectuals. Yet some resisted, and My Battle Against Hitler, a newly-translated memoir by one of Nazism’s most implacable foes, Dietrich Von Hildebrand, relates one such story.
The best thing about The Two-State Delusion is its title. Political elites worldwide have clung to the “two state solution” for decades, most recently in the fruitless diplomacy of Secretary of State Kerry in 2013 and 2014. But while Padraig O’Malley is right in saying more of the same will go nowhere, his analysis of the problem stands reality on its head.
Thumbing through U2 Experience, a booklet featuring a brief history of the band, discography notes, and, most important, 20 items of band memorabilia, I couldn’t help but think of the scene from Spaceballs in which Mel Brooks’s character Yogurt explains his primary occupation—selling souvenirs from the very movie in which he stars.
Commercial fiction is, above all, plot driven, so it’s ironic that the great pleasure of a secret history is knowing the ultimate conclusion of the story. In this case, the reader’s interest is truly the journey, not the destination. The genre is seen most commonly in fantasy stories, where the occult serves as propulsive force behind known historical events, in place of the more quotidian factors of culture, economics, sociology, and power politics. Crooked by Austin Grossman takes the reader inside the career of a corrosively transformational historical figure: Richard Milhous Nixon, and reimagines his rise and fall as a byproduct of a Cold War-era magic battle between semi-good (the United States) and clear evil (the Soviet Union).