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At the Wolf's Table

by Rosella Postorino

At the Wolf's Table by Rosella Postorino X
At the Wolf's Table by Rosella Postorino
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  • Emily C. (Naples, FL)
    A Great Untold True Story
    As a retired teacher of both history and English, I thought I had read all there was to read at World War II and Hitler's Germany. I was wrong.

    AT THE WOLF'S TABLE by Rosella Postorino details a little known aspect of Hitler's Germany in this well-written and engaging novel. The plot of the novel is based on life of Margot Work, the last living of Hitler's food tasters.

    Wolk and other young woman were recruited from among the German civilian population to taste Hitler's food and to check whether or not it was poisoned. These women, who had no choice, took to Hitler's table 3 times a day and, by eating, risked their own lives to save the Third Reich.

    The nightmare of these experiences bind these women together every day. They are hungry everyday; they eat everyday; and they survive together; which, helps to create a strong bond between them. They also are forced into a totalitarian and paranoid situation in which it is difficult to tell whether a person is a friend or an enemy. Throughout the novel the main character Rosa Sauer asks the questions: who is a friend? what makes a friend? what is a true friendship?

    Rosa also struggles with feelings of guilt. As the author said in an interview, Rosa's dilemma was one of the cost of survival. "You survive because you can eat, when others can not, and you're even paid to do it; the condition of victim and culprit, of test subject and privileged person together, this privilege which means to be guilty because you are working for the Fuhrer; and the paradox that eating is what keeps your alive, but at the same time it's what can kill you."

    As Rosa says: "The ability to adapt is the greatest resource of human beings, but the more I adapted, the less I felt human."

    This is a fascinating and gripping read. I highly recommend it. It provides rich fodder for an intellectually stimulating discussion.
  • Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)
    Take a seat at this table
    I've read a lot of books that deal with the Holocaust and Germany during the war years. This novel takes a new perspective. Told from the viewpoint of one of Hitler's tasters, the story shows the experience of being a regular German citizen in the war and the price that was paid by those who cooperated. Very well written, compelling and powerful. Definitely recommend.
  • Marsha S. (Nags Head, NC)
    At the Wolf's Table
    Just when I thought I had heard of every unimaginable thing that happened during the Nazi regime, here comes this story. Rosa is a survivor, but her story is a very different take on the others I have read. "Hired" by the Nazi regime (did she have a choice?), her job is to taste the food that was to be served to Hitler in case it was poisoned. Living with her in-laws while her husband is off to war, she engages in a course of actions that leave one wondering if she is making conscious choices, or just being human? This is a very well-written book which was fascinating to read because of the unique subject matter. Although I found it disturbing and painful to read at times, I recommend the book.
  • RoseMarie G. (White Plains, NY)
    Great book club read!
    I'm a big fan of historical fiction.
    This is the story of Rosa - a food taster for Hitler. Her husband is in the war, she's had to leave her happy Berlin home to move in with her in-laws. And she and a group of women are eating to save Hitler from being poisoned.
    And then she begins a "relationship" with one of the SS commanders.
    Sounds crazy to say I enjoyed this book, considering it's subject. But I found myself staying up later than I should have to just read the next chapter.
    I think it would be a great book club read.
  • Sue Z. (Cornelius, NC)
    At the Wolf's Table
    What a powerful story! Told in the first person by Rosa, a refugee from the Berlin bombings in 1943, who is forced by the SS to become one of the tasters of Hitler's food. Rosa is a very complex and conflicted character, mourning the death of her mother and facing the fact of her new husband missing on the Eastern Front. The added stress caused by the daily risk of death from poisoning only makes her life even more difficult. I foresee this book becoming a "word of mouth recommendation" on every reader's list as well as a book club favorite
  • Wendy R. (Pinehurst, NC)
    Secrets spin a sticky web.
    This book made me think about being forced to do something to survive. It would appeal to anyone who is interested in WW II history and book clubs. A sisterhood forms among an unlikely group of women who share meals to protect the "Wolf". The story will take you through heartbreak, love, betrayal, second marriages, aging and regret. This is a book you will think about long after it is finished. What if I would have been Rosa...?
  • Borderlass, Belmont, MA
    A "Chick Lit" Take on WWII ....
    Having just finished the book in much the same way I do any compulsively readable book - in one or two "good goes," I am struck by five thoughts, give or take:
    1) This would appeal almost exclusively to a certain type of female audience. Men who choose history or historical fiction would find little or no new information in this particular read and would not select it. I echo other reviewers in that one or two women in my book group avoid any of this type of "unpleasantness" and would nix this as a group choice.
    2) Many European readers whose antecedents survived the war in both the Western and Eastern theaters - from the pre-war 1930's well through its aftermath, will be all too familiar with the horrors, the fears, and the social interactions described as lived and reported by their own family members. A new generation of Europeans and perhaps North Americans readers for the first time will have their eyes opened to some uncomfortable truths.
    3) The food tasters (for purposes of the plot) seemed to have a lot more freedom and slack supervision than would seem credible. Luckily, no one alive can contradict the author's version and apparently no further research has been done to contradict this otherwise.
    4) We readers, as in real war, are left with many unanswered questions, ironically, save the fate of our female protagonist's husband. Rosa's Gregor for much of the book is presumed missing somewhere on the Eastern Front. The plot finishes up with that circumstance resolved.... just how effectively, the reader is left to ponder...
    5) Our main character's mother was a Berlin dressmaker of some apparent skill - which seems a useful "chick lit" device that gooses up both the social interactions and the sexual situations involving her daughter Rosa - possibly consistent with a formulaic romance novel...
    In summary, on the losing side of an unrighteous war, there are are very few heroes to be celebrated; even "survivor status" has its detractors - particularly among the survivors themselves...


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