BOOKS

Not Me

Joachim Fest Martin Chalmers

RRP: £20.00

1 August 2012

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781843549314

RRP: £8.99

1 August 2012

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9780857899606

Few other historians have shaped our understanding of the Third Reich as Joachim Fest. Fierce and intransigent, German-born Fest was a relentless interrogator of his nation’s modern history. His analysis, The Face of the Third Reich, his biographies of Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer and his descriptions of the last days in the Fuhrer’s bunker have all reached a worldwide audience of millions. But how did the young Fest, born in 1926, personally experience National Socialism, the Second World War and a catastrophically defeated Germany?

In Not Me, the memoir of his childhood and youth, Joachim Fest chronicles his own extraordinary early life, providing an intimate portrait of those dark years of conflict. Whether describing his Catholic home in a Berlin suburb, his father’s resistance of the regime and subsequent teaching ban, his own expulsion from school, or Aunt Dolly’s introductions to the operatic world, these are the long-awaited personal reflections of a born observer the exactitude of whose prose is as sharp as the memories he describes.

REVIEWS

A quiet, proud, often painful, always clear-eyed memoir... It deserves wide attention in the English-speaking world. It is illuminating of the man, of the times he lived through, and also of a rare kind of moral resolve, both sobering and inspiring.Rachel Seiffert
Guardian

Fest's accounts of being called up, of trying to avoid military service, fighting, seeing comrades die, and beinig caught and kept as a prisoner of war are engrossing
Independent on Sunday

A heroic interrogation of Germany's past
Sunday Telegraph

A remarkable document of a childhood and young manhood spent outside the sphere of normal life
Sunday Times

Moving... A tribute to those qualities of civic responsibility, courageously represented by Fest and his family, which the Nazis came near to eradicating... His writing has the quietness of chamber music, so that his louder images are all the more rendingNicholas Shakespeare
Daily Telegraph