Sunday, October 25, 2015

First Impressions: G105 The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris

Name of Book: The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris

Author: Jonathan Kirsch

ISBN: 9780871404527

Publisher: Liveright publishing

Year it was published: 2013


On the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht comes this untold story of a teenager whose act of defiance would have dire international consequences.

On the morning of November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a desperate seventeen-year-old Jewish refugee, walked into the German embassy in Paris and shot Ernst vom Rath, a Nazi diplomat. Two days later vom Rath lay dead, and the Third Reich exploited the murder to unleash Kristallnacht—its horrific campaign of terror against Germany’s Jewish citizens in a bizarre concatenation of events that would rapidly involve Ribbentrop, Goebbels, and Hitler himself. Bestselling author Jonathan Kirsch brings to light this wrenching story, reexamining the historical details and moral dimensions of one of World War II’s most enigmatic cases. Was Grynszpan a deranged lone gunman or psychopath, as Hannah Arendt claimed, or was he an early resistance fighter? Had this young man and his victim shared an intimate connection, as Grynszpan later claimed? Kirsch illuminates a life cast into the shadows of history in a compelling biography that is part page-turning historical thriller and part Kafkaesque legal drama.


I don't know anything about Herschel Grynszpan, although its cool finding a Jew that was defiant and wouldn't take things lying down. I think what bothered me while I was reading is that in the pages I read, the story seemed to jump back and forth a lot, and I still wasn't able to understand some episodes. If the book is about Herschel Grynszpan, how does hitler dining alone relate to him?


I really did want to like and read the first few pages, but I guess its not my fate.

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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