Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review of Sinclair's "Dragon's Teeth"

Dragon's Teeth II (World's End)Dragon's Teeth II by Upton Sinclair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book (the entire 631 pages of Parts I & II). It is slow-going at first (Part I), but it really picks up in Part II (this book), and is well-worth sticking with it until it does. And once it does, WOW! You just can't put it down. What I think is masterful about this book is that Sinclair manages to describe the horrors of the Nazi rise to, and brutal exercise of, power. The evil and lunacy of men like Goebbels, Goring, Hitler, etc., is not only presented in an unvarnished way, but also with a real sense of disgust and contempt - yet also, amazingly, still finding a way to avoid caricaturizing this brutality and even generating some nuanced picture of a below-the-surface humanity in Nazi Germany in the midst of all this madness through characters like Hugo Behr and Kurt Meissner. Irma was a disappointment in the end, but I think she represented in Sinclair's estimation the reprehensible attitude among many Americans of the day of utter disinterest, or even disbelief, of what was happening in Hitler's Germany in the early years of the Third Reich. Amazing that Sinclair wrote this in 1941/42 and was able to publish this in real time as such a complete indictment of the world's failure to address the atrocities they were becoming aware of. Well deserving of the Pulitzer, in my opinion.

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