Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood

Not I Memoirs of a German Childhood A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of A portrait of an intellectually rigorous German household opposed to the Nazis and how its members suffered for their political stanceFew writers have

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  • Title: Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood
  • Author: Joachim C. Fest Martin Chalmers
  • ISBN: 9781590516102
  • Page: 225
  • Format: Paperback
  • A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2014 A portrait of an intellectually rigorous German household opposed to the Nazis and how its members suffered for their political stanceFew writers have deepened our understanding of the Third Reich as much as German historian, biographer, journalist, and critic Joachim Fest His biography of Adolf Hitler has reached millioA New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2014 A portrait of an intellectually rigorous German household opposed to the Nazis and how its members suffered for their political stanceFew writers have deepened our understanding of the Third Reich as much as German historian, biographer, journalist, and critic Joachim Fest His biography of Adolf Hitler has reached millions of readers around the world Born in 1926, Fest experienced firsthand the rise of the Nazis, the Second World War, and a catastrophically defeated Germany, thus becoming a vital witness to these difficult years.In this memoir of his childhood and youth, Fest offers a far reaching view of how he experienced the war and National Socialism True to the German Bildung tradition, Fest grows up immersed in the works of Goethe, Schiller, M rike, Rilke, Kleist, Mozart, and Beethoven His father, a conservative Catholic teacher, opposes the Nazi regime and as a result loses his job and status Fest is forced to move to a boarding school in the countryside that he despises, and in his effort to come to terms with his father s strong political convictions, he embarks on a tireless quest for knowledge and moral integrity that will shape the rest of his life and writing career.

    One thought on “Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood”

    1. Γνωστός για την ιστορική του έρευνα για τον Χίτλερ και την εποχή του (σε βιβλίο του βασίστηκε η ταινία "η Πτώση" με τον Γκαντζ στο ρόλο του Χίτλερ) ο Γιοακιμ Φεστ, ιστορικός και δημοσιογράφος, γράφει λίγο πριν πεθάνει το 2006 την, περίπου, βιογραφία του για την περίοδο πριν και κ [...]

    2. I wanted to like this book more than I did. I'll read just about anything concerning those brave Germans who stood up to Hitler. There is much to commend this book and I would certainly say it's worth reading. But it's scope is very narrow. Fest grew up in a home full of intellectual fervour. There is much discussion - too much - about literature and music. The point being made were that these were highly educated people who were also anti-Nazis. But there were anti-Nazis who were not so-called [...]

    3. Halfway through this book, I would have rated it with three stars. The continual focus on the family’s insatiable appetite for German literature, music, and art, not to mention the author’s passion for the Italian Renaissance, can feel overwhelming (and humbling) to a reader less well-versed in those subjects.As the story evolves, Fest makes clear that this intellectual grounding allowed his family to form a united front and navigate, defiantly, the Hitler years. These cultivated people, and [...]

    4. Although many reviewers found Fest's constant references to lesser-known German authors and musicians off-putting, this didn't really bother me. I think that the arts and humanities were so much at the core of the Fest brothers' childhoods, that not mentioning them would have gutted the book and the crux of its thesis for me.And what exactly is Fest's thesis? Why does a family refuse to buy into the personality cult of the Fuhrer and subsequent domination by the Nazis of German civic life for a [...]

    5. Not bad, not great. The author seems to spend far more time discussing what books/plays/operas he likes than the day-to-day life of an anti-Nazi family during Hitler's reign. And the portrait of his Catholic father helping his Jewish friends and badmouthing Nazis seems almost too heroic to be believed.

    6. This book starts quietly and builds to a powerful finish. I've read a fair amount about World War II and the rise of Hitler, but never something quite like this memoir: Told from the point of view of someone who was barely fighting age by the time the war ended, whose father was a staunch opponent of all that happened and paid a huge price for it. This is a small, personal, first-hand account, written by someone who I guess in some sense had "a good war," winding up on the Western front near the [...]

    7. Fest, Joachim, Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood, Translated from the German by Martin Chalmers, Other Press, New York, 2014 (427pp. $16.95)The German historian, cultural critic and part-time journalist, Joachim Fest, is best known in the West for his 1974 biography of Hitler, which was translated into twenty languages and became pivotal in the revisionist histories of the Nazi regime undertaken not by the victors, but by the vanquished. As chief editor of the influential Frankfurter Allgemei [...]

    8. I have read several memoirs by ‘innocent’ victims who experienced WW2 in Germany and occupied territories firsthand. This book by Joachim Fest turned out to not be what I had expected. Much of the book deals with him and his family living in a ‘bubble’ with only a few trusted friends being allowed in. The author grew up with a hyper intellectual father, Johannes, whose chief interest was German literature, music and art. His father idolized the hope for democracy which had been represent [...]

    9. I loved this book. It's basically a somewhat crotchety-sounding old conservative German intellectual telling the story of his childhood under Nazism. His parents, highly intellectual and very Catholic (and, in his mother's case anyway, very upper class) deeply opposed Hitler and everything he stood for, so the story has two dimensions. One is Fest's own intellectual loves and growth during the era--he even says that he threw himself into intellectual pursuits as fervently as he did because of th [...]

    10. This is an important memoir. It is by Joachim Fest and dwells on being raised in Nazi Germany 1933-1946. He was born in 1926 so when the Nazi's took control in 33 he was 8 years old. His father was consistent in resisting the Nazis and walk a narrow line between jeopardizing his family and keeping one's values. I recommend this as an important work to understand how a nation could go from reasonable to irrational. How some resisted and survived.The title of the book: Not I was part of a motto de [...]

    11. Fascinating, well written book; I was sorry when it ended. Fest writes of his childhood, when his father, a devout Catholic and a teacher, decided resolutely that he could not in any way collaborate with the Nazis. He lost his job and was not able to work again I until after the War. He was not part of any Resistance movement in Germany; there was barely any. However he maintained his friendships with Jews and, until no longer possible, was involved in supplying money and papers to people trying [...]

    12. A very moving memoir about a loving, courageous, anti-Nazi, German family who maintained their integrity and values through the turbulent years of the Hitler era. Another reminder of the senselessness and de-humanizing effects of war.

    13. This is an absorbing account of a family living in a kind of internal exile at the heart of the Third Reich, in a suburb of Berlin. The family’s anchor is the father Johannes Fest, who becomes unemployable early in 1933 based on his refusal to swear fealty to the Führer. While there are a few white-knuckle moments where it looks like serious persecution is about to come down on the father, for the most part it is the story of living a relatively isolated, secretive existence in the midst of a [...]

    14. Historian and author Joachim Fest has written a memoir about his boyhood and life up til the age of about 24. The book was published, in cooperation with an interpreter and an historian, in 2006, the year of his death, at the age of 80. His memoir gives a different side of life in Nazi Germany in the 1930's and 1940's. His parents - his father in particular - were against Hitler and lived a circumscribed life under the Nazis.The Fest family were members of the Catholic upper-middle class. Fest's [...]

    15. Crecer en medio de un tornado que absorbe con todo y no dejarte arrastrar es una tarea que pocos pueden hacer. Crecer en la Alemania que da pie al florecimiento del totalitarismo más atroz de los tiempos modernos, mantenerte a raya y sobrevivir para contarlo es digno de dedicarle unas horas de lectura.Joachim Fest vivió en carne propia como testigo y víctima menor pero víctima al fin el surgimiento de un sistema del cual era casi imposible de esconderse. Estas memorias nos dejan una pincelad [...]

    16. Hoe koppig, neen, hoe sterk kan een mens zijn. En toch, uiteindelijk buigt hij toch. Heel mooi getuigenis van een man over zijn vader in nazi-Duitsland.

    17. I wish every American (and every citizen in every smug western democracy) would read the first, terrifying, seventy pages of Joachim Fest’s memoir.In the 1920s, when his story begins, his father Johannes Fest was a deeply conservative Berlin Catholic with ordinary conservative political aspirations. Johannes was also, when Hitler came to power, a passionate and principled anti-Nazi, and he and his family paid dearly – if less dearly than they constantly feared – for his adamant refusal to [...]

    18. Not Me: Memoirs of a German Childhood by Joachim Fest Finished Reading 16th June 2015The title of this book is somewhat misleading. On casual observation it would seem to be just another childhood memoir – ho hum. But then I read the author’s bio. Joachim Fest was born in 1926 and grew up in Berlin in a family who were anti Nazi. In his critical years of development he felt the increasing grip of the totalitarian regime so that by the time he was 19 he had no choice but to be a soldier in th [...]

    19. My wife often tells me that life for her wasn't so bad under totalitarianism because she had such supportive, stubbornly functional parents.Fest makes a very similar point in this touching memoir of a really wisecracking kid growing into a very decent man.The man who wrote the foreword, Prof. Herbert Arnold, and, to a lesser extent, the translator, Martin Chalmers, provide some unintentional comic relief by noting how out of step Fest and his family are and were with his people or the times or w [...]

    20. A very interesting book about a conservative Catholic family during WWII in North Germany. The author and his family were educated and enjoyed high culture. They saw through the ugly charade of Nazism and held their convictions that it was wrong. And paid the price for it too.I enjoyed reading about everyday life in Germany during this awful time and the author does not sensationalize. He lets you know what was happening without the gory details.It's a very good reminder that when I see pictures [...]

    21. At first I was a bit thrown by Not I. I'd expected a harrowing tale of living under Nazi rule from the perspective of a family persecuted for not embracing National Socialism like most of their neighbors.But author Joachim Fest takes a less graphic, more introspective approach. No first-hand encounters with trench-coated Gestapo agents but, rather, abundant detail of his upbringing and, especially, his education.With little knowledge nor interest in German literature, I found much of the book a [...]

    22. Joachim Fest's autobiography is in fact a remembrance of his close-knit family during the time of Hitler's rise to power, and Germany's subsequent destruction in World War II. Much of the book is about Fest's enigmatic father, Johannes, a Prussian anti-Nazi, who stood on principle against gutter tyranny and thus placed himself and his family at risk throughout the rise and fall of National Socialism.Fest's tone throughout is devoid of sentiment yet somehow poignant, especially when he recounts h [...]

    23. Joachim Fest, the author, is known as one of the earliest German biographers of Hitler. This book is his memoir. He dwells primarily on his childhood and early adulthood during the Hitler years. His story is somewhat unique because his father was one of the few who dared stand up to Hitler. The primary consequence of this stand was that the family lived in a relative state of poverty and was under some level of scrutiny. I've read many books on WWII, but I think this is the only true story I've [...]

    24. If the world’s greatest democracy can be lead its citizens into ill conceived and disastrous conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, it is obvious that the lessons are still to be learnt of how Hitler did much the same to his own people. In the case of the more recent conflicts, are worse in that other democracies were also sucked into the enterprises.Joachim Fest was born at the right time, had the right upbringing and the talent to observe and, more importantly write about, the progressi [...]

    25. This is a very introspective memoir and one that I think would surprise many who typically read about well known resistance movements in Nazi Germany such as Die Weisse Rose and the assassination attempts directed at Hitler and other party leaders. There were much quieter anti-Nazi, but not organized groups of people who attempted to lead by example that are overlooked. It's often presumed that most Germans at the time were party members. Fest's focus on his period of intellectual coming of age [...]

    26. Deeply moving, this autobiography by one of the great historians that came out of Post-War Germany recounts what growing up in a family who refused to bent under the Nazi rule meant. Both a homage to Fest’s parents and siblings, who all managed, despite innumerable pressures, to stay true to themselves, and a recollection of Fest’s own very personal experience as a boy and then a teenager, Not I reminds us that not all Germans succumbed to Nazism, and that many suffered while maintaining the [...]

    27. A rare moving autobiography set during the rise of Hitler in Berlin. The father of the author is a Prussian catholic and well-to-do teacher who refuses to accept and join the Nazi party. Because of his intransigence, he loses his job and put his and his family's life at danger. What will mark and hurt more his father from the difficulty and consequences of his decision is "the empty space which had opened up, raising a wall of silence and looking the other way around him".The author describes hi [...]

    28. Exceptionally interesting memoir of the Third Reich years. Fest, a prominent postwar journalist, historian and intellectual, experienced the entire disaster from beginning to end. He writes from standpoint of having grown up in a household led by a highly educated non-conformist (though in other respects a very ordinary bourgeois German). Fest’s father knew he couldn’t resist in a meaningful way, couldn't change the course of history, but by insisting "ego non," he could at least protect his [...]

    29. I was quite interested in reading what it was like to live through WWII as an anti-Nazi German family, a different perspective than most of the many WWII books I've read. I was a bit disappointed in this book, however, for the reasons expressed quite eloquently and in detail by other reviewers. There was much focus on art and literature, which I found a bit dull and repetitive, which in turn made me feel somewhat inadequate. I did find the last section of the book, about the attempt to return to [...]

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