The name of the book isn’t really “Nazi Scum”, but I thought I get a few more page hits with that blog title. I know, that’s a crass way to do it, but it works every now and then. The real title of the book I reviewed is…
Murderous Intellectuals– German Elites and the Nazi SS by Jonathan Maxwell
Jonathan Maxwell contacted me a while back about his book Murderous Intellectuals. It’s about the evil masterminds behind the rise of the Nazi Schutzstaffel, or SS, as it is commonly known. I’m a history buff, and I’ve always enjoyed reading World War II tomes. Most of my studies kept me on the other side of the world in the Pacific theater of the war. My grandfather Henry Powers was a Marine veteran who fought on Iwo Jima and other islands against the Japanese forces. As I was also a Marine I was more interested in their campaigns than those of the Army and Air Corps in Europe. I just never paid much attention to that side of the war. Maxwell’s book has brought me around.
I have to say that his book is the most fascinating one I have ever read about World War II. I realize that many history books get bogged down in the facts and figures and completely erase the human elements of the past. Not so with Murderous Intellectuals. Maxwell presents the stories of the Nazi elite in a way that is readable, intellectually enriching, and exciting at the same time.
The book delves into the lives of the men and women behind the murder of millions of Jews and others during the failure of the Third Reich. Many history books describe these atrocities in a bland way that treats inhuman acts as just another day at work. Although Maxwell’s book is not written as an editorial where he pontificates his opinions, he still shows us a bit of his personality in the writing. It’s refreshing to see a bit of the author show up in an academic work.
If you are at all interested in World War II, history, or even real-life serial killers and mad scientists, this is a great read.
Article first appeared in print form in the January issue of Transitions magazine.