About Me

My photo
Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Crossing Hitler by Benjamin Carter Hett

14. - 527.) Crossing Hitler by Benjamin Carter Hett – Hans Litten was a radical Berlin defence lawyer in 1932, acting as a private prosecutor with the public prosecutor, helping prosecutor SA storm troopers charged with attacking Communists partying at the Eden Dance Palace. Litten convinced the Court to summon Adolph Hitler to testify about the SA. Litten carefully crafted questions that challenged Hitler to reconcile the Nazi Party’s public proclamations of pursuing power only by legal means with the SA taking violent actions in the streets of Germany. Litten’s probing questions provoke Hitler into a profound rage. While Hitler escapes perjury charges he fully recognizes the danger Litten has been to his political goals. Most remarkably, Litten is only 29 years old. The title cleverly has a double meaning with regard to Hitler - cross-examination and going against him.
    While the book features the questioning of Hitler it is mainly a biography of the complex Litten. He is the privileged son of an East Prussian Jewish law professor and an aristocratic mother. While a rebel with a sour relationship with his father he becomes a lawyer. As much from spite at his conventional father as from his idealism he specializes in defending Communists. Litten is a true lone wolf who fits within no political party or religion. He is simultaneously drawn to his Jewish and Christian heritages.
    With his large round glasses and portly frame he looks like a pure academic rather than a fierce fighter. Yet he is a fearless defence counsel who uses every strategy possible including deliberately provocative actions that upset the judicial establishment. He reminded me of Ajit. His sole concerns are his clients. He is not interested in going along with accepted behavior.
    Hitler never forgets Litten. Upon the Nazis rise to power he is immediately imprisoned. The unceasing efforts of his mother, Irmgard, to secure his release are moving. Using every connection inside and outside Germany she advocates for her son.
    When, after 5 years in prison, Litten gives up and commits suicide I was reminded of Frankl’s observation in the camps that to lose faith in the future was to die.
    It is well written book that is free from academic convolutions. See letter to author. (Letter not yet posted.) (Mar. 23/10) (Second most interesting of 2010).

No comments:

Post a Comment