The collapse of the Third Reich in 1945 was an event nearly unprecedented in history. Only the fall of the Roman Empire fifteen hundred years earlier compares to the destruction visited on Germany. The country's cities lay in ruins, its economic base devastated. The German people stood at the brink of starvation, millions of them still in POW camps. This was the starting point as the Allies set out to build a humane, democratic nation on the ruins of the vanquished Nazi state - arguably the most monstrous regime the world has ever seen.
In Exorcising Hitler, master historian Frederick Taylor tells the story of Germany's Year Zero and what came next. He describes the bitter endgame of war, the murderous Nazi resistance, the vast displacement of people in Central and Eastern Europe, and the nascent cold war struggle between Soviet and Western occupiers. The occupation was a tale of rivalries, cynical realpolitik, and blunders, but also of heroism, ingenuity, and determination - not least that of the German people, who shook off the nightmare of Nazism and rebuilt their battered country.
Weaving together accounts of occupiers and Germans, high and low alike Exorcising Hitler is a tour de force of both scholarship and storytelling, the first comprehensive account of this critical episode in modern history.
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"An evocative but scattershot history...one gets the sense that it was the war itself that reconciled exhausted and disillusioned Germans to peace, and not the occupation." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Taylor carefully weighs the evidence on both sides, Allied and German, for a portrait of a terrible time and utterly traumatized populations Hard-hitting yet evenhanded, Taylors work holds tremendous relevance for our time." - Kirkus
"Taylor expands on such previous books as Giles MacDonogh's After the Reich and Perry Biddiscombe's The Denazification of Germany and provides a smoothly written and well-researched history of this tumultuous period in the middle of the 20th-century." - Library Journal
"Frederick Taylor is one of the brightest historians writing today. His book on the Berlin Wall is truly fascinating and will never be equaled, and deserves to be ready by everyone who lived through the Cold War. No less fascinating is his new book, Exorcising Hitler, about the de-Nazification of Germany that started in 1945." - Newsweek
"...this is a great book. Filled with quotable quotes and memorable anecdotes, it presents a vivid portrait of life in Germany at and just after the end of the war. ... popular history at its best, essential reading." - New Statesman (UK)
"...engrossing account of the occupation and denazification of Germany tries to navigate the ruins of the deadliest conflict in human history, and discover the extent to which its perpetrators became victims ... balanced and thought-provoking." - Scotland on Sunday (UK)
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Frederick Taylor was educated at Aylesbury Grammar School; Oxford University,
where he read History and Modern Languages; and Sussex University, where he did
postgraduate work specializing in the rise of the extreme Right in Germany
during the early twentieth century. A Volkswagen Studentship award enabled him
to research and travel widely in both parts of divided Germany at the height of
the Cold War. A former publisher and author of several novels set in Germany (Walking
Shadows, 1985; The Peace Brokers, 1992; Kinder Garden, 1994
and Operation Thunderclap, 2003).
In addition, he is the author of Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945 (nonfiction, 2004), the first serious reappraisal of one of the most infamous air raids of the Second World War. The book...
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