I’m a little backlogged on book reviews, which is one of my intents with this blog. That would make me “bookblogged”. Dur.
I tore through “Fatherland” by Robert Harris this weekend. It’s a detective story set in 1964 Nazi Germany; a counterfactual account of how the world might have been if Germany had not lost the Second World War. The book focusses mostly on an SS detective who’s investigating the murder of a high-level Nazi, with international political implications. Turns out that Germany conquered central Europe and Russia west of the Urals and is settling Germans in the Slavic lands. The rest of Europe, including Great Britain, is a trading bloc of puppet states. Germany and the US are involved in a cold war. Japan is defeated, and the US is backing what’s left of the Soviet Union on Germany’s Siberian front. By the way, Joseph Kennedy (elder) is the appeasement-minded president.
The book describes a really creepy evil empire, maybe more than the Soviet Union because the Nazi’s way of life is much closer to our own. The Germans are well along to realizing their world of racial ordering, with the Final Solution long completed and the Slavic peoples mostly relegated to servitude.
I thought the premise was realistic, and it made me consider how inevitable our victory was not, though we look at it that way now. How confident or optimistic would the US be if we had to live with a powerful Third Reich, with no influence in Europe, and forced into a prolonged alliance with the disgraced Soviets (in the book the Bolshevik atrocities and mass murders were exposed by the Germans, but the Holocaust remains unknown)?
As interested as I was in the interpretation of history, it’s a very good read and a serviceable detective story.