Book Review, Germany, Historical Nonfiction, Holocaust, Memoirs, WWII

The Shipwreck of a Nation: Germany: An Inside View by H. Peter Nennhaus

H. Peter Nennhaus grew up in Berlin during WWII; a volatile time in German and world history.  The book is different in that he tells the story from a German boy’s point of view who saw things differently at that time in history.  You can see Mr. Nennhaus’s interest in history by reading the historical events in this book.  He tries to link these events to what was happening in his life at that same time.

A memorable scene was when his father, who worked for the German Ministry of Agriculture, was trying to deter the young 15-year-old Peter from wanting to join Hitler’s war.

It was not how he said it; he spoke with fatherly concern, earnest and like a friend.  It was what he said.  It not only contradicted my innermost feelings and desires, but it also violated my idealism, which had been burned and hardened in the patriotic kiln of war….I was on the threshold of what I had been waiting for these past five years, and now Father told me it was wrong.

Despite his dad’s hopes, Peter was drafted at 16 years old to attend pre-military training at the Adolf-Hitler School in the Swiss Alps and he finds out first hand that the war is going no where.

The prose went back and forth from historical events to events happening in his families lives which only seemed to slow down my reading.

Mr. Nennhaus’s account of his life at this frightening time in history is very personal and heartbreaking and I commend him and his family for the courage and perseverance they displayed in trying to survive such a horrible event.

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