It is common knowledge that just about every amateur writer (fiction or especially non-fiction) writes the book that he or she always wanted to read – but could not find. And I am no exception. This is the book that I always – since my early childhood – wanted to need – but could not find.
Since age five or so (believe it or not), I was deeply interested in history. Which later became one of my favorite (if not the favorite) school subjects. I always wanted to ‘get to the bottom’ of historical events, to find out what actually happened, who did what and (what always was the most important for me) why.
I was born (in the mid 1960’s) and raised in the Soviet Union. At that time the Second World War (which in the USSR was labeled ‘the Great Patriotic War’) was still fresh in people’s memories.
Hence, I was bombarded on a daily (if not on hourly) basis with avalanches of information on Nazi Germany and World War II. Unfortunately, most (if not practically all) this information was blatant and shameless propaganda. In other words, a huge bunch of lies. Which became painfully obvious when the truth about both subjects started to surface with the advent of perestroika and glasnost in late 1980’s.
I hoped to find the truth in books by Western authors available in bookstores and libraries in Texas (I studied business management at the University of Texas at Arlington in early 1990s)… but, alas found only more propaganda. Which was actually not that much different from the one dominant in the Soviet Union.
And a few books by honest, objective Western historians had one huge problem in common. The ‘Nazi elephant’ problem.
In other words, these historians are like… well, the blind men who try to describe the elephant in the probably most well-known ancient Indian parable.
Each of these historians focuses on just one “body part” (rarely more) of the Nazi Germany. Ignoring all other parts. Of which there were many – a lot, actually – as the Third Reich was a very complex, very unique and very sophisticated civilization. Contrary to the (alas) well-known opinion of one not very competent ‘philosopher’, there was nothing ‘banal’ about it – and not everything can be classified as ‘evil’.
“Mainstream” historians focus on the dark parts (really dark – no questions about that) such as the Holocaust, concentration camps, Einzatsgruppen, etc; or the parts typically considered dark such as Gestapo, SS or SD; or on the more benevolent (or at least neutral) parts such as Wehrmacht, economics, finance, lifestyle, etc.
‘Revisionist’ historians typically focus on the “bright” parts of the Third Reich – such as the very genuine economic miracle of 1933-1939 or its existential battle with the Soviet Union. And both implicitly (or even explicitly) pretend to present a comprehensive picture of Nazi Germany. Just like the blind men in the parable.
And fail just as miserably. Consequently, to satisfy my desire (hunger, actually) for a comprehensive portrait of Nazi Germany I simply had no other choice but to write this book. The comprehensive essential guide to Nazi Germany.