The first review is of The Hotel on Place Vendome by Tilar J. Mazzeo. It is biography of the Ritz Hotel in Paris especially during the German occupation of the city during the war. Many schemes were conceived in the Ritz and a great deal of champagne consumed and Ernest Hemingway makes an appearance.
The second’s title sets out crime is at the heart of the book. It is Hitler’s Art Thief by Susan Ronald. Hildebrand Gurlitt made a fortune before and during the war through dealing in art works legitimately purchased, bought from desperate Europeans, confiscated from Jews, effectively looted from institutions and occasionally simply stolen. His legacy survived the war and in recent years his son made the father infamous.
The third is Church of Spies by Mark Riebling. Its sub-title of “The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler” encapsulates the theme of the book. It provides an interesting contrast to David Cornwall’s book, Hitler’s Pope. I had not read of the secret activities of Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church during WW II.
The fourth book is Seduced by Hitler by Adam LeBor and Roger Boyes. The book explores the decisions made in Germany and across Europe during the war by all types of people. It delves into how the Nazis sought to draw people to their cause. We usually think of Nazi coercion rather than Nazi seduction.
In the reviews and accompanying posts I will occasionally refer to books in the quartet both before and after they have been reviewed on the blog.
There are larger than life stories that would challenge fictional credibility but are true.
Overall the books provide an array of approaches to the issues of choices and actions of WW II Europeans.
I invite you to join me on the journey that begins Sunday.