Friday, 6 January 2012

More like this please, Robert Harris: Fatherland

It was published in the early nighties, and became an international best seller (which means there are plenty of copies out there, I got it for a penny on amazon). A suspense-filled detective story set in an alternate-post-war-reality. In this world, the Nazi's remained in power and changed whole of eastern Europe into the Greater German Reich.  It features detailed description of the grand scale of Hitler's architectural plans for Berlin, and the political impact upon the rest of the world.

This was Robert Harris' first fiction. As the writer of non-fiction books like "Selling Hitler" (next on my read list) an in depth looks at Hitler's personal journals and the impact of their discovery, Harris obviously knows his stuff. As the book explains, all the fiction in Fartherland is extended from the truth that was actually being laid-out in the 1940s. The story is scarily close to a way of life that almost became real for Europe, this nearly happened. But the chilling point of the story comes with the sweeping away of the wrongs of past, and the parallels to modern day. I knew that history favours the victor, this story helped colour in the gaps.

As this story goes, Kennedy Senior is in power and is planning a trip to Germany to meet the Furher for the first time since the war, and form a bond with the Nazis. Subsequently in the story, the Americans don't want to uncover the truth of any war crimes. Tony Blair once shook hands with Gaddafi, what's the difference?

Warning: Don't think you can get away with watching the HBO version of the story on YouTube. It's really awful. I'd like to make this film sometime, until then just stick to the book.

A snippet from the book, showing some of the
astonishing detail of the story

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