February 1933: The Winter of Literature

(Author) (Translator)
Product Details
$29.95  $27.85
Polity Press
Publish Date
6.37 X 9.27 X 1.06 inches | 1.24 pounds
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About the Author
Uwe Wittstock is a journalist, critic and author who lives in Germany. He was awarded the prestigious Theodor Wolff prize for journalism in 1989.

"February 1933 was the month in which the ice broke, the ice that seemed so thick and on which the institutions of German culture seemed so reliably built. Wittstock describes with breathtaking vividness and urgency the National Socialist terror which unfurled immediately after Hitler's appointment as Reich Chancellor, the helplessness of the state institutions, the plight of the threatened and persecuted, and, finally, the fate of expelled authors and artists day by day. When one has finished reading, the question remains: how thick is the ice on which we believe ourselves to be secure today?"
Bernhard Schlink, author of The Reader

"There are few months in history that can be said to be truly momentous - that shape an entire epoch. February 1933 was surely one of those months, and Uwe Wittstock's gripping account of that period is a masterful weaving together of historical sources, from weather reports, newspapers, and train timetables, to personal diaries and police records. His narrative leaves the reader gasping for breath as the events unroll so quickly. Although we already know the outcome, it has the pace and intensity of a thriller. Above all February 1933 is a stark reminder of the fragility of democracy and the rule of law, and how we must be ever vigilant if we are to defend it."
Richard Ovenden, Bodleian Libraries

"February 1933 tells the story of the impact of Hitler's rise to power on the lives of German writers over the first six weeks of the regime. Written like a novel in scintillating prose, this unique, groundbreaking book is both accessible to the general reader and deserves a place of honor on every cultural historian's bookshelf."
David Livingstone Smith, author of Making Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization

"Shines a forensic torch on the conflicted debates that Germany's writers had among themselves, and with themselves, about how best to respond to events ... Wittstock's approach is as meticulous as one would expect from a decorated journalist."
Stuart Walton, Hong Kong Review of Books

"An intimate history of a momentous month ... February, 1933 richly evokes what it was like to live through a time in which democracy was hijacked and fundamental rights stripped away."
Camilla Cassidy, History Today

"Wittstock's present-tense chronicle is packed with detail, from the crowd that formed a human pyramid so that someone could hand Hitler a rose at his window to the first book-book-burning in Dresden on March 8."
Lesley Chamberlain, Times Literary Supplement

"Wittstock's literary tour de force ... is a work of major intellectual and cultural impact."
The Jewish Chronicle

"Tense, vivid, and urgent ... a haunting picture of danger, despair, and the endurance of the human spirit."
Jewish Book Council

"A quick, compelling, and often powerful read."
The Complete Review