Saturday, December 30, 2006


I read voraciously over semester breaks. I try to get through about a book a day and if I'm lucky- I can. There's no rhyme or reason to the books I read- whatever is lying around, a recommendation from my dad - who knows. However, the speed with which I read often dictates that the pleasure from each book is short lived. The plot, characters and chapters blur quickly. This was not the case with Robert Harris's book Fatherland.

Originally published in 1992, this somehow caught my father's eye recently and I came home one day after wrapping up a Nelson DeMille mystery (Night Fall- good book) to the stark cover of Harris's novel. My dad simply prefaced the novel by telling me "You should read this."

Fatherland opens in 1964- the Nazis have defeated the Allies and the Third Reich dominates Europe. The Jews have mysteriously been "relocated" from Europe and an uneasy alliance exists between America and Germany. The protagonist, Xavier March, works for the German police department as the country prepares to celebrate Hitler's, or Father's, 75th birthday and a visit from current U.S. President, Joseph Kennedy.

The murder of a former prominent Nazi official drags the disillusioned police detective into a great murder mystery- however, that isn't I'm reccomending it. The thematic elements of appeasement is hard to ignore in Fatherland. The Nazi ruled Germany is a stark portend of things to come if "appeasement" ever becomes a legitimate diplomatic strategy in the U.S. With countries like Iran holding disgusting Holocaust denial conferences, a reminder like Fatherland helps you to keep your head on straight.

Pick it up.


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