Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My first book review!

"On Hitler's Mountain" by Irmgard Hunt

So, here goes my first book review attempt! I've decided I'm not going to try to do a plot summary, because you can get plenty of those just by going to Amazon. I have a notebook where I write down quotes that I've liked from books that I have read, and little commentaries on them, so these blog posts will be slightly edited versions of what I write in my notebook. I'll just go ahead and say that recently I have been on a big WWII kick, and this book is one of the many WWII books I've recently read. The author grew up on the same mountain where Hitler built his "eagle's nest." She was just an average little German girl growing up in the thick of WWII.

I read this book back in October. It is one of the few books that I bought new and in an actual bookstore. Usually I buy all of my books online. Affordable used books are the best!! But when I saw this one in Barnes and Noble I just couldn't resist (plus I had a gift card...hehe). Here is the quote that I chose to write down from the book:

"I knew then that there were three things I would never get tired of: our mountains, Mozart's music, and Salzburg. But the shadows were lengthening and the clouds were losing their light. The Nazis had taken over our mountains, and soon most of Europe's ancient cities would be in ashes. Bombs would fall on the great dome of the Salzburg Cathedral, and to this day the sound of Mozart's music breaks my heart."

The author is talking about a trip she took to Salzburg in 1939 (I think it was for her 7th or 8th birthday maybe). I liked this quote because, just like the author, I love Salzburg and the mountains in Southern Germany (two of the few places in Europe that I have been lucky enough to visit)! I don't dislike Mozart's music, but I'm not familiar enough with it to say that I love it. What the author says is so accurately sad and foreboding to me. It's such a shame that so many of Europe's ancient cities had to be destroyed.
I really enjoyed this book because of the new and interesting perspective it gave to WWII Germany. It seems like the country life in Germany was much more sheltered than the life of those in the city. The people in Irmgard's life were almost unaware of how horrible things had become (of course part of this could be because this is coming from the perspective of a child).

Another interesting facet of this book was Irmgard's stories on the aftermath of the war. It was crazy to me to realize how different things were for the Germans occupied by Russia versus the parts of Germany occupied by America/Britain/France. In the years after the war, the most valuable currency to the people of Berchtesgaden were Lucky Strike cigarettes because that was what the American soldiers wanted.

I enjoyed the beginning of the book because it gave a back story on all of Irmgard's grandparents and their lives (how they dealt with WWI etc.). It was interesting to see how all of the problems and issues faced by that generation and their children worked together to sort of create the perfect storm that brought Hitler to power. Irmgard's maternal grandfather married a woman 12 years older than him! I just found that intriguing.

In my opinion, Irmgard turned out to be a bit of a nut as an adult. But...who can blame her with all she went through growing up. You will just have to read the book (and all of the extra interviews and such at the end of the book) and form your own opinions on her. =) If anyone has read the book I would love to hear your thoughts as well! Ok....even if you haven't read the book I would like to hear your thoughts. Because as of now....if I'm going by comments....I have 0 readers!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this, my very first book review. I hope to post more eventually! I may dig up a notebook I have with short reviews on lots and lots of LM Montgomery books that I read in 2009 (and a few in 2010). So....if you're an LM Montgomery fan....get excited!

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