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6+ Works 618 Membros 15 Críticas

About the Author

Burkhard Bilger is a senior editor at "Discover" & a contributing editor at "Health." (Bowker Author Biography)

Obras por Burkhard Bilger

Associated Works

Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink (2007) — Contribuidor — 536 exemplares
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 (2011) — Contribuidor — 290 exemplares
The Big New Yorker Book of Cats (2013) — Contribuidor — 132 exemplares
The Best American Science Writing 2011 (2011) — Contribuidor — 86 exemplares
The Best American Food Writing 2019 (2019) — Contribuidor — 84 exemplares
The Best American Food Writing 2020 (2020) — Contribuidor — 73 exemplares

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Conhecimento Comum

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Membros

Críticas

Some great articles in here, but a few snoozers as well. The one about smallpox just about gave me nightmares.
 
Assinalado
andyinabox | 5 outras críticas | Jan 17, 2024 |
I'm really not sure what to say about this one. It's a good story, not badly written, about a topic I'm interested in. Plus I just spent some time in the area of Germany he describes. Yet it took me months to finish a 250-page book. I think that was just due to other things taking my time though. In any case, I like Bilgers family memoir about a Grandfather who was a minor Nazi functionary in France during the war. Nice map in the front that I was constantly referring back to, as the small town names get jumbled up and confused in my head. I tended to lose track of the people he was writing about, but I could still follow the point he was making. I didn't like the constant quoting of a phrase in French or German (mostly a shallow idiom) that Bilger then has to translate into English. I especially like the last few paragraphs of the Acknowledgments, where he describes how despite nearly a century of "bad" history, Alsace today is a mild place where Germans and French live together in harmony. It gives us hope for other places of conflict in the world.… (mais)
 
Assinalado
Jeff.Rosendahl | 3 outras críticas | Dec 18, 2023 |
This book was a disappointment. The author attempted to show that many members of the nazi party were not nearly as bad as portrayed. However, because few people were injured or killed because of their actions does not mean that it is their right to live the rest of their lives without guilt or remorse. Joining a totalitarian government, working for one, or doing nothing as one is grabbing power is very complicated, frightening, and relevant, but not something to accept lightly.
½
 
Assinalado
suesbooks | 3 outras críticas | May 30, 2023 |
Family history is a hazardous thing, footpaths through a darkening wood.
from Fatherland by Burkhard Bilger

In fall of 1969, my senior year of high school, my family hosted an exchange student. Soon after school began, the four exchange students at my school and their American sister or brother were invited to meet together.

There was my sister from Finland, a boy from Japan, a girl from Chili, and a statuesque girl from Germany. She had a presence that intimidated girls and boys alike. I became her best American friend. At that meeting, someone hesitantly asked her about her country’s Nazi history. I don’t recall her exact words, but in effect she said that many people were not aware of the worst. She seemed dismissive, as if it were ancient history.

There’s a sense of the past floating quietly in the wings, still too close for comfort.
from Fatherland by Burkhard Bilger

My German friend and I were born in 1952 and WWII seemed a long time ago when in reality it was all too recent to our parents. Our American history class didn’t get past the Civil War. The Modern History class I took was a mere semester squeezing in everything after the Ancient History class. It wasn’t until our teenage son delved into WWII history that I began to learn about that war, and over the decades since I have been filling in my understanding.

My first impression of Fatherland was the masterful, gorgeous, writing that immediately caught my interest. Bilger begins with the climax: Bilger’s grandfather, Karl Gonner, on trial as a war criminal, accused of murder. Called ‘a perfect Nazi,” yet villagers claimed he had shielded them, was a ‘good Nazi.”

Was Bilger’s grandfather a villian, or a hero? Or just a man trying to survive in horrendous times, trying his best to be a good man while forced to be the arm of hate? “Each of us carried the seeds of murder and mercy within,” Bilger notes his mother telling him; “What takes root depends as much on circumstance as character.”

I understand the confusion. My beloved grandfather, a polymath, with numerous grandchildren named for him, had a secret that I discovered in my genealogy research. A stain that I can’t reconcile with the man I knew. My second great-grandfather spent time in the Confederate Army. The family, with Swiss Brethren roots, owned no slaves, but I will never understand if he had no choice or volunteered, or what the South meant to him.

Bilger interviewed those who remembered his grandfather, found forgotten records in dusty archives, traveled in his grandfather’s footsteps. This is also the history of Alsace and its people, a vivid and heartbreaking revelation of suffering, resistance, retribution, justice, and even grace.

I was shocked to learn about the 1945 Hungerwinter, and to understand that in 1948, a mere four years before my birth and the birth of my German friend, Germany had double the infant mortality rates of its neighbors. The horrors of the past were too awful to remember, so swiftly repressed.

Karl Gonner was an idealist who at first embraced Nazism for its promise of a just society, and was later tasked with turning the Alsace children into good Nazis. He cared about the villagers and protected them when he could have wielded his power to terrorize and punish. He nearly lost his life in the retribution against war criminals, saved by the people who benefited from his protection.

Can we ever understand our ancestors, the choices they made?

I appreciated this book as a family memoir and as revealing history.

Thanks to the publisher for a free book through NetGalley.
… (mais)
 
Assinalado
nancyadair | 3 outras críticas | May 6, 2023 |

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Estatísticas

Obras
6
Also by
6
Membros
618
Popularidade
#40,697
Avaliação
3.9
Críticas
15
ISBN
23
Línguas
3

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