Last Stop Vienna: A Novel

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Germany in the 1920s, in the early days of Hitler and the Nazi party, was a country plunging into darkness and violence. Andrew Nagorski has written the story of a doomed generation, of evil, hopelessness, sexual perversion and murder that set the stage for the ultimate destruction of a society. But in a stunning denouement, a young Nazi brownshirt, acting out of passion and revenge, changes the course of history.

Karl Naumann, a German teenager who has lost his father and brother in World War I, has tried to find a place in a defeated, demoralized and anarchic Berlin. Impressed by the returning veterans who refuse to lay down their arms and fight running battles with communist revolutionaries, and alone and adrift on the streets, he is recruited to their cause and camaraderie. He is sent to Munich, where he works his way up the ranks to become one of Adolf Hitler's bodyguards, a storm trooper.

The new movement is increasingly split between Hitler and rival leaders, including Karl's mentor, Otto Strasser, a real-life Nazi activist. As the schism within the party widens, the battles intensify and Hitler asserts his dominance, Karl must determine where his loyalty lies. He has fallen in love with a nurse, Sabine, whom he marries, but he is infatuated with Hitler's young niece, Geli Raubal, who is caught up in a deeply disturbing sexual relationship with her uncle.

Obsessed by the seductive and elusive Geli, Karl is startled by what he sees through her of the dark core of Hitler's personality. When Geli finally summons up the courage to leave her uncle, it is too late. Soon after, she is found dead in their apartment, a gun in her hand, allegedly a suicide. Karl believes that Hitler has murdered her. He follows him to Geli's grave in Vienna where their final confrontation takes place. Last Stop Vienna presents a chilling and suspenseful look at what might have been.
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About the author

During a long career at Newsweek, award-winning journalist Andrew Nagorski served as the magazine’s bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. He is the author of several books and has written for countless publications. Visit his website: AndrewNagorski.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jul 30, 2013
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780743238335
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / War & Military
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The battle for Moscow was the biggest battle of World War II -- the biggest battle of all time. And yet it is far less known than Stalingrad, which involved about half the number of troops. From the time Hitler launched his assault on Moscow on September 30, 1941, to April 20, 1942, seven million troops were engaged in this titanic struggle. The combined losses of both sides -- those killed, taken prisoner or severely wounded -- were 2.5 million, of which nearly 2 million were on the Soviet side. But the Soviet capital narrowly survived, and for the first time the German Blitzkrieg ended in failure. This shattered Hitler's dream of a swift victory over the Soviet Union and radically changed the course of the war.

The full story of this epic battle has never been told because it undermines the sanitized Soviet accounts of the war, which portray Stalin as a military genius and his people as heroically united against the German invader. Stalin's blunders, incompetence and brutality made it possible for German troops to approach the outskirts of Moscow. This triggered panic in the city -- with looting, strikes and outbreaks of previously unimaginable violence. About half the city's population fled. But Hitler's blunders would soon loom even larger: sending his troops to attack the Soviet Union without winter uniforms, insisting on an immediate German reign of terror and refusing to heed his generals' pleas that he allow them to attack Moscow as quickly as possible. In the end, Hitler's mistakes trumped Stalin's mistakes.

Drawing on recently declassified documents from Soviet archives, including files of the dreaded NKVD; on accounts of survivors and of children of top Soviet military and government officials; and on reports of Western diplomats and correspondents, The Greatest Battle finally illuminates the full story of a clash between two systems based on sheer terror and relentless slaughter.

Even as Moscow's fate hung in the balance, the United States and Britain were discovering how wily a partner Stalin would turn out to be in the fight against Hitler -- and how eager he was to push his demands for a postwar empire in Eastern Europe. In addition to chronicling the bloodshed, Andrew Nagorski takes the reader behind the scenes of the early negotiations between Hitler and Stalin, and then between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill.

This is a remarkable addition to the history of World War II.
More than seven decades after the end of the Second World War, the era of the Nazi Hunters is drawing to a close. Their saga is finally told in this “deep and sweeping account of a relentless search for justice that began in 1945 and is only now coming to an end” (The Washington Post).

After the Nuremberg trials and the start of the Cold War, most of the victors in World War II lost interest in prosecuting Nazi war criminals. “Absorbing” (Kirkus Reviews) and “fascinating” (Library Journal), The Nazi Hunters focuses on the men and women who refused to allow their crimes to be forgotten.

The Nazi Hunters reveals the experiences of the young American prosecutors in the Nuremberg and Dachau trials, Benjamin Ferencz and William Denson; the Polish investigating judge Jan Sehn, who handled the case of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss; the Mossad agent Rafi Eitan, who was in charge of the Israeli team that nabbed Eichmann; and Eli Rosenbaum, who sought to expel war criminals who were living in the United States. But some of the Nazi hunters’ most controversial actions involved the more ambiguous cases, such as former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim’s attempt to cover up his wartime history. Or the fate of concentration camp guards who have lived into their nineties, long past the time when reliable eyewitnesses could be found to pinpoint their exact roles.

The story of the Nazi hunters is coming to a natural end. It was unprecedented in so many ways, especially the degree to which the initial impulse of revenge was transformed into a struggle for justice. The Nazi hunters have transformed our fundamental notions of right and wrong, and Andrew Nagorski’s “vivid, reader-friendly account of how justice was done…is comprehensively informative and a highly involving read” (The Wall Street Journal).
The battle for Moscow was the biggest battle of World War II -- the biggest battle of all time. And yet it is far less known than Stalingrad, which involved about half the number of troops. From the time Hitler launched his assault on Moscow on September 30, 1941, to April 20, 1942, seven million troops were engaged in this titanic struggle. The combined losses of both sides -- those killed, taken prisoner or severely wounded -- were 2.5 million, of which nearly 2 million were on the Soviet side. But the Soviet capital narrowly survived, and for the first time the German Blitzkrieg ended in failure. This shattered Hitler's dream of a swift victory over the Soviet Union and radically changed the course of the war.

The full story of this epic battle has never been told because it undermines the sanitized Soviet accounts of the war, which portray Stalin as a military genius and his people as heroically united against the German invader. Stalin's blunders, incompetence and brutality made it possible for German troops to approach the outskirts of Moscow. This triggered panic in the city -- with looting, strikes and outbreaks of previously unimaginable violence. About half the city's population fled. But Hitler's blunders would soon loom even larger: sending his troops to attack the Soviet Union without winter uniforms, insisting on an immediate German reign of terror and refusing to heed his generals' pleas that he allow them to attack Moscow as quickly as possible. In the end, Hitler's mistakes trumped Stalin's mistakes.

Drawing on recently declassified documents from Soviet archives, including files of the dreaded NKVD; on accounts of survivors and of children of top Soviet military and government officials; and on reports of Western diplomats and correspondents, The Greatest Battle finally illuminates the full story of a clash between two systems based on sheer terror and relentless slaughter.

Even as Moscow's fate hung in the balance, the United States and Britain were discovering how wily a partner Stalin would turn out to be in the fight against Hitler -- and how eager he was to push his demands for a postwar empire in Eastern Europe. In addition to chronicling the bloodshed, Andrew Nagorski takes the reader behind the scenes of the early negotiations between Hitler and Stalin, and then between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill.

This is a remarkable addition to the history of World War II.
More than seven decades after the end of the Second World War, the era of the Nazi Hunters is drawing to a close. Their saga is finally told in this “deep and sweeping account of a relentless search for justice that began in 1945 and is only now coming to an end” (The Washington Post).

After the Nuremberg trials and the start of the Cold War, most of the victors in World War II lost interest in prosecuting Nazi war criminals. “Absorbing” (Kirkus Reviews) and “fascinating” (Library Journal), The Nazi Hunters focuses on the men and women who refused to allow their crimes to be forgotten.

The Nazi Hunters reveals the experiences of the young American prosecutors in the Nuremberg and Dachau trials, Benjamin Ferencz and William Denson; the Polish investigating judge Jan Sehn, who handled the case of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss; the Mossad agent Rafi Eitan, who was in charge of the Israeli team that nabbed Eichmann; and Eli Rosenbaum, who sought to expel war criminals who were living in the United States. But some of the Nazi hunters’ most controversial actions involved the more ambiguous cases, such as former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim’s attempt to cover up his wartime history. Or the fate of concentration camp guards who have lived into their nineties, long past the time when reliable eyewitnesses could be found to pinpoint their exact roles.

The story of the Nazi hunters is coming to a natural end. It was unprecedented in so many ways, especially the degree to which the initial impulse of revenge was transformed into a struggle for justice. The Nazi hunters have transformed our fundamental notions of right and wrong, and Andrew Nagorski’s “vivid, reader-friendly account of how justice was done…is comprehensively informative and a highly involving read” (The Wall Street Journal).
Σήμερα, πάνω από εβδομήντα χρόνια μετά τη λήξη του Β΄ Παγκόσμιου πολέμου, το κυνήγι των Ναζί φτάνει στο τέλος του. Οι καταζητούμενοι και οι διώκτες τους είναι ελάχιστοι πια. Τώρα η ιστορία τους μπορεί και πρέπει να ειπωθεί.

Μετά τη Δίκη της Νυρεμβέργης και την αρχή του Ψυχρού Πολέμου, ο κόσμος έπαψε να ενδιαφέρεται για τη δίωξη των Ναζί. Πολλοί χαμηλόβαθμοι εγκληματίες εξαφανίστηκαν ανάμεσα στα εκατομμύρια των ανθρώπων που προσπαθούσαν να ξαναφτιάξουν τη ζωή τους σε μια νέα Ευρώπη, ενώ εκείνοι που ένιωθαν ότι κινδύνευαν περισσότερο εγκατέλειψαν την ήπειρο. Μέσα από δημοσιογραφική έρευνα, προφορικές μαρτυρίες και πλούσιο φωτογραφικό υλικό, το βιβλίο αυτό αφηγείται την ιστορία μιας μικρής ομάδας ατόμων που αναζήτησαν τους δράστες ως τα πέρατα του κόσμου, αποφασισμένοι να μην αφήσουν τις θηριωδίες τους ατιμώρητες.

Ο Andrew Nagorski καταγράφει με μοναδική αφηγηματική δεινότητα, που άλλοτε σοκάρει και άλλοτε συναρπάζει, τις έρευνες φημισμένων κυνηγών Ναζί, όπως του Σιμόν Βίζενταλ, της Μπεάτε και του Σερζ Κλαρσφέλντ, αλλά και το έργο εκείνων που δούλευαν στη σκιά, όπως του αμερικανού Μπέντζαμιν Φέρεντς, αρχεισαγγελέα στη «μεγαλύτερη δίκη ανθρωποκτονίας στην Ιστορία», και του Γουίλιαμ Ντένσον, που καταδίκασε τους πιο διαβόητους φύλακες στρατοπέδων συγκέντρωσης. Η δράση τους και η φιλοσοφία δικαίου που πρεσβεύουν αποτελούν παρακαταθήκη για κάθε λαό, ιδιαίτερα σε ταραγμένους καιρούς. 

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