Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ebook - Germany, at Odds

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 


"Germany, at Odds" is a personal journey of an Israeli journalist throughout this challenging country at the beginning of the 21st century. The book questions many assumptions about "the new Germany": Is there really only one Germany or such a thing as "a German mentality"? Is Germany a strong and stable democracy in the heart of Europe? Have "the Germans" really confronted their past?
"Germany, at Odds" is an invitation to see Germany differently.

This book left me feeling like my head was spinning. I cannot think of another book I've read which has left me with so many emotions. I have such a strong pull towards Germany, being part German. My great uncle fought in WWII and his wife is a Holocaust survivor. Perhaps for these reasons, the issues of the Holocaust have touched me on a personal level. I've been disgusted to know neo-Nazis are on the rise in the Germany but I didn't realize how much of an issue it truly is until I read Germany, at Odds. It's rather disturbing learning how much hatred is still within the country but also how much denial exists, how they've turned themselves into the victims. Additionally, I honestly hadn't thought about much about the situation with the Berlin Wall coming down and how it would effect the people. When you think about it, it really hasn't been very much time at all in the scheme of things and so of course Communism still holds strong with some of the people there. Things are things, which, being American I hadn't given much thought.

I found it quite interesting reading about the true nature of the German people. In part because I do live in an area with strong German heritage, and so I could definitely see some of the characteristics of the people here reflected in the author's descriptions. Some things as well I could see in myself to some extent. Additionally, I have found the rudeness of the German people to be quite true in my limited experiences with dealing with them. Given that my maiden name is German - possibly Jewish - I have wondered if it was a reason for their attitude towards me. Now I have to hold this may be quite true in some circumstances, which is ridiculous since I'm not Jewish.

This week I discovered my ancestors were Huguenots. The entire family was killed, save my ancestor, for their beliefs. Reading in this book about the Huguenots coming to Berlin was somehow eerie. It was very difficult reading all of the Holocaust stories with this new information about my family in mind. I have only a glimmer of understanding how it had to have shaped the lives of the survivors, of the entire country.

I found many of the politics disturbing, because it really is difficult to tell the difference between the left and right at times. It's equally difficult trying to distinguish between right and wrong sometimes. I found both sides make valid points on some things, but it's the extremist view which is the issue. It's difficult to find the line in which too much is too much. Being American, I value the importance of people having their freedom to live as they choose as long as they're not hurting others. Even though some of those opinions are different than ours, their freedom should still be valued. I don't envy Germany trying to sort through some of these things.

As I said, I live in a area with strong German ties. Until I moved here, I did not experience how music could so impact their beliefs. I can attest to what the author has expressed about reaching the youth through music as a means for recruiting new Skinheads and neo-Nazis. I've seen it first hand here in America.

Anyway, back to the book. I found the book itself to be a bit dizzying as the author jumps around through time with each chapter. Perhaps there is a pattern to it I'm not seeing, but I found it a bit confusing as it did not seem to flow well. However, it was quite interesting to read and has opened my eyes to some of the modern day issues in Germany.

Germany, at Odds is available at for $3.99 for ebook or free with Kindle Unlimited or $14 for paperback.

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