Who was Adolf Hitler? It's a question writers have been trying to answer for more than sixty years. But after thousands of biographies, histories, novels, and films, many fundamental questions remain: How do we explain Hitler's hatred? Where did it come from? Could it happen again? Norman Mailer sets out to respond to these and other crucial ...
Who was Adolf Hitler? It's a question writers have been trying to answer for more than sixty years. But after thousands of biographies, histories, novels, and films, many fundamental questions remain: How do we explain Hitler's hatred? Where did it come from? Could it happen again? Norman Mailer sets out to respond to these and other crucial aspects of Hitler's personality in his immensely readable new novel. Spanning three generations, and a hundred years of history, the book brings to life the Hitlers ? grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and, ultimately, young Adolf ? in an energetic and wildly entertaining family saga. Mailer recounts the marriages, incestuous couplings, estrangements, afflictions, and deaths that lead to the birth of little Adi in 1889. Told in the voice of a narrator who in time reveals himself as an assistant to the devil, this playful yet profound novel blends fact and fiction in an incomparable family tale that will cause the reader to re-examine his preconceived ideas about Hitler and the nature of his evil.
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The core of "A Castle in the Forest" is the development of Hitler as he is groomed by an agent of the devil . The book is narrated by Hitler's handler, an apparently low level agent of the devil. The idea is more intriguing than the book. I found the book to be too compelling to put down but draggy enough that I couldn't wait to finish it and move on. The character development was skimpy and perhaps a example of the mundane and boring nature of evil.
Nov 25, 2007
Worth the decade of study !
I have read the book twice through. The first time because I could not wait to see what happened next. The second time just to make sure I understood the twisted way that he can make the connections to Adolf Hitler as a child into the monster that he became. It was weird to see the way of which Hitler might have actualy grown up. The research that was put into this book rivals that of Lois L'Amour. The format and the story line are excellant. I am sure I will read it many more times
Oct 16, 2007
Having read only 28 pages of the new paperback version of this book I am disappointed that Mailer went back over old territory trying to explode the genaphonia of Himmler and other Hitler henchmen. Afterall this was what the euthanasia program of the Nazis was based on and what makes Hitler a complete idiot and incompetent. I am so tired of hearing of Mischling third degree in relation to the euthenics programs of Hitler that I would like to puke. Anyone knows the devil was behind the work of Hitler but not to such a great extend that Mailer has wasted. I am sorry. I can't recommend this book for any reason even if it's premise was commendable.
Apr 4, 2007
Not a great effort
Sorry to say that this is far from one of Mailer's better efforts. He still has a wonderful narrative style and uses words well, but the story was really rather weak.
The idea of trying to develop an explanation for Hilter's psyche based on his childhood development, as explained by a desciple of the devil is intriguing, but he doesn't pull it off.
The story is really centered around the father and the artifact of incest as the basic source of HIlter's personality is weak.
Skip it and go back to several of his earlier novels.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-11-06 Mailer did Jesus in The Gospel According to the Son; now he plumbs the psyche of history's most demonic figure in this chilling fictional chronicle of Hitler's boyhood. Mailer tells the story through the eyes of Dieter, a devil tasked by Satan (usually called the Maestro) with fostering Hitler's nascent evil, but in this study of a dysfunctional 19th-century middle-class Austrian household, the real presiding spirit is Freud. Young Adolph (often called Adi) is the offspring of an incestuous marriage between a coarse, domineering civil servant and a lasciviously indulgent mom. The boy duly develops an obsession with feces, a fascination with power, a grandiose self-image and a sexually charged yen for mass slaughter (the sight of gassed or burning beehives thrills him). Dieter frets over Hitler's ego-formation while marveling at the future dictator's burning gaze, his ability to sway weak minds and the instinctive fuhrerprinzip that emerges when he plays war with neighborhood boys-talents furthered by Central Europe's ambient romantic nationalism. Mailer's view of evil embraces religions and metaphysics, but it's rooted in the squalid soil of toilet-training travails and perverted sexual urges. The novel sometimes feels like a psychoanalytic version of The Screwtape Letters, but Mailer arrives at a somber, compelling portrait of a monstrous soul. (Jan. 23) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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