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Old September 1st, 2011, 03:07 PM
butler butler is offline
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Jonathan Litell's "The Kindly Ones"

I recently finished reading "The Kindly Ones" by Jonathan Litell. It took me well over 3 months to finish this 1000+ pages book partly because I spent an equal amount of time reading about the characters, places and battles on wikipedia and other online sources.

Kindly Ones is an original French book translated into English and is a fictional first person account of a SS officer in the Third Reich. The main character of the book - Dr. Aue is a bureaucrat who barely firs a shot in his 6+ years in SS and is witness to Babi Yar massacre, Stalingrad seize, Ukraine compaign and is part of the bureaucratic set up of the various concentration camps including Auschwitz.

Boook is not an easy read. There are detailed descriptions of Dr. Aue's incestuous relationship with his sister, his homosexual encounters and his wildly crazy dreams (which are described in extreme details over many many pages). If you can get pass this then you have the details of the Nazi bureaucratic machinary.

I am huge fan of historical fiction. Most of the fictional/non-fictional books I have read on Nazi Germany or Third Reich talk about the Nazi leaders, their policies and their thinking. In Kindly Ones, main characters are the low to mid level Nazi bureaucrats who carry out the day to day policies based on their own twisted interepretation of their regime's twisted philosophy.

Systematic killing of over 6 million civilians in less than 6 years 7 different countries in an overly centralized government setting must have been a bureaucratic nightmare. Simple hatred can not be the only reason behind all those massacres. What were the motivations/reasons behind those mindless acts of violence, torture? What was life like for common government servants in Third Reich Germany? Litell's book gives a detailed account of those years.

You can see the amount of research Litell had done on the subject. Book is full of beaureaucratic reports, studies, analysis and conclusions of those turbulent years. Its extremely detailed and at times extremely graphic detailing some of the most horryfing acts humans were able to perform on fellow humans. As I said earlier, its definitely not an easy read yet a very interesting book.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 04:54 PM
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Re: Jonathan Litell's "The Kindly Ones"

Wow! you had patience to read all of this?
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Old September 1st, 2011, 05:41 PM
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Re: Jonathan Litell's "The Kindly Ones"

I am a big fan of historical fiction and this book definitely gave a very different perspective of the 1939-1945 era and from a view point of a non-combat soldier...a homosexual Nazi..a hardcore National Socialist who at times was amused and disgusted by Nazi policies but still continue to subscribe to their philosophy and continued to serve his party and his leader.

I have read some very interesting reviews and articles (specially by Ashdoc) and decided to share my thoughts on this interesting book.
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Old September 1st, 2011, 08:11 PM
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Re: Jonathan Litell's "The Kindly Ones"

I am glad you have shared this with us. History is not my area of expertise like you or ashdoc. I was wondering how could someone be so interested in such detailed version of the past.
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