A German ChildhoodJoachim Fest
1 August 2013
Published by Atlantic Books
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 I, 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.