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A Village in the Third Reich

How Ordinary Lives Were Transformed by the Rise of the Fascism

Published by Pegasus Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
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About The Book

An intimate portrait of German life during World War II, shining a light on ordinary people living in a picturesque Bavarian village under Nazi rule, from a past winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History.

Hidden deep in the Bavarian mountains lies the picturesque village of Oberstdorf—a place where for hundreds of years people lived simple lives while history was made elsewhere. Yet even this remote idyll could not escape the brutal iron grip of the Nazi regime.

From the author of the international bestseller Travelers in the Third Reich comes A Village in the Third Reich, shining a light on the lives of ordinary people. Drawing on personal archives, letters, interviews and memoirs, it lays bare their brutality and love; courage and weakness; action, apathy and grief; hope, pain, joy, and despair.

Within its pages we encounter people from all walks of life – foresters, priests, farmers and nuns; innkeepers, Nazi officials, veterans and party members; village councillors, mountaineers, socialists, slave labourers, schoolchildren, tourists and aristocrats. We meet the Jews who survived – and those who didn’t; the Nazi mayor who tried to shield those persecuted by the regime; and a blind boy whose life was judged "not worth living."

This is a tale of conflicting loyalties and desires, of shattered dreams—but one in which, ultimately, human resilience triumphs. These are the stories of ordinary lives at the crossroads of history.

About The Authors

Julia Boyd is the author of Travelers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism through the Eyes of Everyday People. Her previous books include A Dance with the Dragon: The Vanished World of Peking's Foreign Colony; The Excellent Doctor Blackwell: The Life of the First Woman Physician; and Hannah Riddell: An Englishwoman in Japan. As the widow of a former diplomat, she lived in Germany from 1977 to 1981. She now lives in London.

Angelika Patel was born into an old Oberstdorf family. She studied History and German Literature before taking an MBA at INSEAD at Fontainebleu. She is the author of Ein Dorf im Spiegel seiner Zeit (A Village in the Mirror of its Time): Oberstdorf 1918–1952. She lives in London and Oberstdorf.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (April 4, 2023)
  • Length: 512 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781639363780

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Raves and Reviews

Praise for Travelers in the Third Reich:

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History

"A well-conceived study of a little-known corner of history."

– Kirkus Reviews

"While there have been countless books written about the rise of Hitler, Travelers in the Third Reich relies on firsthand accounts by foreigners to convey what it was really like to visit, study or vacation in Germany during the 1920s and ’30s. As Julia Boyd emphasizes, too many people allowed reverence for a nation’s glorious past to warp their judgment about its morally repugnant present. That’s a lesson still worth thinking about.”

– Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"Conveys how challenging it must have been to forecast the dimensions of the impending tragedy. Boyd notes that, in 1936, even so astute and well-intentioned an observer as the African-American educator W.E. B. DuBois—who should have been particularly attuned to race-baiting and prejudice—stopped short of demonizing the regime.”

– The Boston Globe

"Far fewer travelers were free to move about the country during those years, and the accounts they left behind are, as Boyd puts it, ‘both horrifying and touching.’ Those terms apply intensely to the whole of Travelers in the Third Reich, and readers will likely share Boyd's quiet outrage that more Germans didn't see?or weren't willing to admit?what was happening right in front of their eyes."

– Christian Science Monitor

"This fresh, surprising perspective on how Nazi Germany was seen at the time will appeal to anyone looking for a new angle on that historical moment."

– Publishers Weekly

"Boyd's fresh and instructive look at 1930s Germany as described in contemporaneous travel narratives reveals a tourist destination that continued to attract visitors even as the true intentions of the Nazis became obvious."

– Booklist

"Extraordinary and absorbing. These firsthand glimpses of a dark time in Germany show us the complexity of appearances, and Boyd’s book should be widely read."

– BookPage

 
Advance praise from England for A Village in the Third Reich:

“Gripping. Vividly depicted. A humane and richly detailed book.”

– The Spectator

"These vivid, moving stories leave us asking, 'What would I have done?’"

– Professor David Reynolds, author of Island Stories

"An utterly absorbing insight into the full spectrum of responses from ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.”

– The Times (London)

"Exceptional. Boyd's book reminds us that even the most brutal regimes cannot extinguish all semblance of human feeling.”

– The Mail on Sunday

"Laying bare the tragedies, the compromises, the suffering and the disillusionment. Exemplary micro history.”

– Roger Moorehouse, author of First to Fight

"Fascinating. You’ll learn more about the psychological workings of Nazism by reading this superbly researched chronicle than you will by reading a shelf of wider-canvas volumes on the rise of Nazism.”

– The Daily Mail

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