Hot Nazi beach reads

By PETER KEOUGH  |  August 18, 2009

Boeselager and his fellow conspirators came late on the scene; the group in Anne Nelson's wrenching and illuminating RED ORCHESTRA (Random House; 392 pages; $27) were there from the beginning. The so-called "Red Orchestra" (the name eventually applied to them by the Gestapo) started forming in the early '30s as Hitler rose to power. They were academics, journalists, artists, and show-business people — "elitists" we might call them today — who came together through bonds of friendship (the '30s equivalent of Facebook, perhaps) and were united by their mutual loathing of tyranny and their need to fight for justice and liberty. Non-ideological, in other words, and so both the Western Allies and the Soviets held them in suspicion and most of their espionage work was wasted — not the least being the detailed plans of the invasion of Russia that they delivered to the Soviets weeks before it happened.

Their lives ended on the gallows and beneath the guillotine. But what lives they were! Harro Schulze-Boysen was a dashing Luftwaffe officer, devil-may-care and fearless as he brazenly passed on military secrets. And his beautiful socialite wife, Libertas, covertly archived incriminating photos of atrocities while working at the propaganda ministry. In the inevitable movie version, I see, oh, Robert Pattinson and Miley Cyrus . . . Am I being cynical? As a character in TheArms Maker of Berlin says, "Let's face it, the swastika sells."

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
Related: Review: Valkyrie, Hidden letters from the Holocaust, Life after Pi, More more >
  Topics: Books , Culture and Lifestyle, Books, Adolf Hitler,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY PETER KEOUGH
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BUFFET DINING: THE 15TH BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL  |  March 19, 2013
    "Copraphagy" is a key word at this year's Boston Underground Film Festival at the Brattle.
  •   REVIEW: GINGER & ROSA  |  March 19, 2013
    Sally Potter likes to mess around with form and narrative.
  •   UNDERGROUND CINEMA: THE 12TH BOSTON TURKISH FILM FESTIVAL  |  March 12, 2013
    This year's Boston Turkish Film Festival includes works in which directors ponder the relationships between the secular and the religious, between men and women, and between destiny and identity.
  •   REVIEW: A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III  |  March 12, 2013
    In Roman Coppola's sophomoric second feature (his 2001 debut CQ was promising), Charlie Sheen shows restraint as the titular asshole, a dissolute ad designer and solipsistic whiner who's mooning over the loss of his latest love.
  •   REVIEW: UPSIDE DOWN  |  March 14, 2013
    Had Ed Wood Jr. directed Fritz Lang's Metropolis , he couldn't have achieved the earnest dopiness of Juan Solanas's sci-fi allegory — nor the striking images.

 See all articles by: PETER KEOUGH