Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The End of Law - Book Review

The End of Law
A novel of Hitler's Germany
By Thérèse Down

9781782641902| $14.99 | Paperback | Lion Fiction


About the book:

Two SS officers—both involved in Hitler's Final Solution, both in love with a beautiful woman— but only one can live with his conscience 
Thérèse Down delivers a powerful story set in Berlin in the 1930s and early 1940s and woven around the fortunes of three people: an ambitious SS officer, Walter Gunter; his naíve wife, Hedda; and a guilt-ridden SS officer, Karl Muller.
 
Gunter— intensely loyal to the Third Reich, entirely ruthless, with dreams of military renown—is outraged to be placed in charge of the T4 euthanasia program.
 
Muller, an engineer and trainee doctor, reluctantly oversees the safe delivery of lethal gases and drugs to the killing centers, and is required to convert shower rooms and bathrooms into gas chambers in commandeered hospitals and prisons. Both detest their jobs.
 
Meanwhile Hedda is treated with increasing brutality by her sadistic and permanently enraged husband. Desperate to protect her two young children, she faces agonizing choices of her own.
 
A magnificent and meticulously researched novel based on real people and events, The End of Law focuses on the difficult moral choices made by soldiers and civilians under a corrupt regime, and on the disruptive power of an awakened conscience.
 
 
My Thoughts:
 
I've always been interested in this particular time period. How an entire country could condone the genocide of a race of people is disturbing, to put it mildly. But, taking instances out of our own generation that people wouldn't have even dreamed of allowing to happen ten years ago, things become a little clearer.
 
Therese Downs' book is an excellent look at the struggles of ordinary people. Some were called upon to serve their country - albeit wrongly - they answered that call. Honestly, what would you do if that call had come to you? If your country was wrongly imprisoning, torturing and murdering people that spoke out against an out of control regime, would you be numbered among their victims? Or would you be among the silent masses who knew the government was wrong but was afraid-or worse-unwilling to do anything about it?

I wondered if there were people in Germany at that time who were against this killing, lawless machine, and I was very glad to read there were. The author's research definitely shows in these pages. I did my own research on some of the things in this book to see if it was factual and was surprised to see that they were. I wish I could tell you which things I'm referring to, but I don't want to give away spoilers. 

In all, this book is very good. There is some swearing and some 'things' are alluded to, but I felt they were presented correctly. Definitely not for younger readers.