STANDING IN THE STORM, The Many Worlds of William Alan Webb

We Sleep At Night Because America's Armed Forces, Police and Fire Fighters Never Do

Category: Nazis

World War 2 book

I thought some of you might like to read something I just wrote five minutes before making this blog entry. What you might find interesting is that the two paragraphs below took maybe three minutes to actually write, but represent about 45 or 50 minutes worth of research. Not only that, but I had to buy the book I used for the research, since it’s not something you can find on Kindle or in the library.

The cheapest copy currently on Amazon is $195. I bought it from the publisher years ago for, I think, about $75. My personal library for producing this book exceeds 300 volumes of all kinds.

Near the southern end of the Vienna Woods at Heiligenkreuz, the storied 1st Panzer Division re-grouped and counted its losses. The town had long been an island of solace close to Vienna, with a backdrop of firs and pines to ease the pressures of the capital. The ancient Cistercian Abbey in the town had been continuously occupied since the Twelfth Century and was not abandoned even as war approached its gates.

Typical of the time, 1st Panzer was assigned to whatever corps headquarters made sense at the moment. At the beginning of April that was IV SS Panzer Corps. A strength return on the 1st indicated how devastating the material losses had been during the retreat across Hungary. Total manpower (ration strength) remained high at 11,473 men. But the equipment ready for combat tells the true story. 3 Mark IV panzers were on hand, but none were operational. A whopping 39 Mark V Panthers remained on the rolls but just a single tank could fight. The SPW numbers were about sixty percent of authorized numbers. The division’s heavy flak regiment was reorganizing at Bratislava, where the flood of war washed it away.[i]

[i] Nevenkin, pp 85

 

How can I take this seriously?

Good morning bookies. Sorry for the absence once again, life gets a bit wacky sometimes. West Tennessee is supposed to get something like 10″ of rain this weekend. Oh boy, where are my floaties?

Today is April 30th, 65 years to the day since Adolf Hitler committed suicide in Berlin. I mention this because today’s BBC article focuses on this event with reviews of two books written by Germans who fought for the English in WW2. The article would probably be quite interesting, except it is so riddled with factual errors that it’s hard to take it seriously. I had heard that the BBC’s journalistic integrity was shot, this seems to confirm this.

Two errors off the top that even cursory students of the war would know: first this sentence, “He had written them on 29 April earlier that year, then committed suicide, probably on 30 April – the exact date remains uncertain.”

It does? Where and who, exactly, are debating that he killed himself on April 30th? Every known and credible historian or witness verifies this, there is and never had been debate about this, unless you think aliens whisked him off to Argentina. I have no idea what this guy is talking about. Then, second, there is the well known photo from a brief newsreel of Hitler decorating some Hitler Youth on April 20th, his birthday, in the garden of the New Reichs Chancellery. What’s more, we even have the names of some of the boys. This was ten days before he killed himself. Yet the photo bears the caption: “Hitler made his wills and died some two months after this image was taken.” Not two months, ten days. Any student of World War II would know that. And if you didn’t know that, it’s worse, because you would believe this nonsense.

The tipoff should have come at the beginning of the article with the very poorly colorized photo at top. It looks like a 5 year old took crayons to somebody’s photo of Hitler on a street.

Well, anyway, for those interested in the books, and they sound fascinating, don’t be put off by the remarkably bad article.

Two new books on Hitler by German anti-Nazis

 

The dangers of re-reading a book

Good morning bookies!

Bright sunshine today in West Tennessee, but cold, high 30’s, which to me might as well be Antarctica.

No link today, just a passing thought. I guess you all know I’m researching a book dealing with World War II. Whether or not the book ever actually gets written, I don’t know, but I research it daily. Last night about 11:30 I was re-reading (for the umpteenth time) The Last 100 Days by John Toland, a book I probably could repeat large swatches off by heart. And what did I suddenly find that I had never found before? A major error. How could I have missed it? Moreover, how could his editors have missed it, not to mention the historian himself?

On page 205 he mentions that Sepp Dietrich’s Sixth Panzer Army had lost 30% of its tanks and AFVs attempting to relieve Budapest.

Ummm…no, it didn’t. Budapest fell on February 11-12, with breakouts continuing for a few more days by small groups. The three relief attempts in January and February were all carried out by Sixth Army, commanded by Hermann Balck, not Sixth Panzer Army commanded by Sepp Dietrich. Sixth Panzer Army wasn’t even fully in Hungary yet and did not actually fight in that area until the offensive on the Gran River later in the month. How had I never noticed this before? And how many other errors have I overlooked in this book?

It just goes to show you that re-reading a favorite book isn’t always a good thing.

 

Say it ain’t so, Joe

Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

Friday the 13th…anybody going to see the remake of the Jamie Lee Curtis classic that opens today? Boy, I can’t wait to miss it. Slasher pics are my cuppa, but I know otherwise unreasonable people who love this stuff. Ah, well. To each his own.

*** This isn’t exactly book related, but you know how I love nonsense, and you know how I love history, so when an article appears that combines the two I find it irresistible. Did you know that the Nazis fled Germany at the end of the war, using a flying saucer to escape to Antarctica? You did? Oh. Well, you’re one up on me then. Aside from the fact that Antarctica seems a bit chilly for year-round habitation (unless that UFO has one heck of a heating system), why not just flee to a country sympathetic to the Nazi cause that has a more appealing climate? One with a history of aiding Nazis, like, say, Paraguay?

Of course, that’s a reasonable question, which has no place in this new exhibit. Like eating a gooey dessert that’s all sugar and chocolate, this one tasted great but isn’t very filling. New Swabia? Operation Highjump? Man, I like this guy.

One might also note that this article appears in Der Spiegel, a newspaper that one might think akin to the New York Times. That’s a fair comparison, too. Just as the New York Times is billed as ‘All the News That’s Fit to Invent’, Der Spiegel once paid millions of dollars for the Hitler Diaries. Which, of course, were fakes, and bad fakes at that. But while some folk might think that even good journalists can be fooled by a hoax, read the book Selling Hitler to understand just where greed can lead a person. Nazi UFOs are certainly not out of place in Der Spiegel.

History as junk science…tasty!

*** Speaking of Nazis, the German Historical Museum took a massive hit the other day when a German court ordered them to return a collection of some 4,000 rare art posters to the family from which the Nazis took them in 1938. The Museum claims this will gut their holdings. Boo-hoo. The collection is worth some 4.5 million euros.

71 years later a family gets its property back

*** In the category of ‘Well what do you know about that?’, Thomas Pynchon has written his first crime novel, Inherent Vice. Set in LA right after the Manson murders, reportedly with a heavy dose of surfers, sex, drugs and rock and roll, it should be interesting at the very least. It could be horrible or it could be great. Either way, it’s always good when an iconic writer brings out a new book.

Pynchon breaks new ground, for him

*** As many of you know, I consider ebooks, and Amazon’s Kindle, in particular, as grotesque examples of technology ill-used. Horrible, nasty things. And, in the case of the Kindle 2, bad publicity, too. See, Amazon thought how nifty it would be for this device to have an audio feature. You don’t have to just read it from the tiny screen, you can listen, too.

Oops.

It seems that audiobooks are already covered by a copyright and this may well be infringement. The Kindle gets partially exposed. What a shame. And, if it turns out not to be an infringement, it has certainly dredged up some ill will with the Author’s Guild. Which raises the question, has Amazon been taking advice from ebay on how to alienate people?

Of course, Amazon isn’t stupid, unlike ebay, and in the end I think they will iron this out so the Kindle may proceed. Thus proving that people will buy just about anything if you market it correctly.

P.T. Barnum would be proud

*** And finally, some scary news. Dan Brown, author of the second worst novel ever written, The Da Vinci Code, has reportedly finished his newest book. It’s hard to imagine there is a wooden character or cliche that wasn’t used the last time, or that any bad research still exists for him to use as an attack on the Catholic Church, but to believe that is to be unreasonably optimistic. Writers like Brown seemingly have an endless supply of gibberish on which to draw and an equally endless supply of people willing to pay to read it.

Nor is this the snotty and condescending view of an arrogant and condescending snot. No. It’s nothing more than the personal view of your friendly neighborhood bookseller that someone who writes a novel and asks people to spend their hard-earned money to buy it might actually write something worth reading.

I know, I know, that’s asking too much.

Are there any cliches left to use?

 

Have the mice been playing?

Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

Wow, have I been dogging the blogging. Sorry about that. The cat’s been away, I hope the mice have taken advantage. The other night, just after 10 pm, three 8′ bookcases decided to topple over in the home office of the BBG Cave, smashing this, that and just about everything in their path. The cleanup continues, but along with all of the other stuff one deals with in everyday life, it hasn’t left much time for bringing you book news. For which I apologize. Let’s get to it.

*** As Ebay continues to flounder about like…like…well, like a flounder gasping for air on a boat dock, Bonanzle continues to grow at a pace not seen before in ecommerce. I was one of the first few hundred to join, as of today the membership stands at over 28,000, with over one million items listed. BBG at Bonanzle. A number of articles have been published lately documenting their rise.

Bonanzle growing faster than a largemouth bass in a pond full of minnows

*** And yet, with ebay’s idiocy well documented by now, there are still so-called journalists out there that are so far behind the curve they still give credence to ebay’s press releases. Seriously, for those who follow this on a regular basis, you read articles like this and wonder if the person who wrote it even knows how to turn on their computer, they are so far out of the loop. But I guess somebody has to write a fluff piece and this doofus volunteered.

Kissing the ebay toad

Contrast that fluff piece with this much better thought out look at the dying ebay. It’s amazing what happens when someone who actually understands ecommerce and is familiar with the details of what Donohoe has done to destroy his company writes about it.

Gigging the ebay toad

*** Okay, maybe a catalogue is stretching the news about books thing just a little, but not so much that it bothers me. When the Nazis overran Europe, one gets the sense that is was more to arrange a shopping spree than for any other reason. Most of the bigwigs gobbled up collections of this or that, but the most voracious collector of them all was Hermann Goring. Now a catalogue of his ill-gotten gains has been compiled. I wish I knew how many of these had been returned to their rightful owners.

Goring had good taste, anyway

*** Forrest Ackerman has long been considered the greatest collector in SFandom. When he died he vowed to take it with him but, so it would appear, that really isn’t possible. Thus, the bulk of his collection is being auctioned off and is expected to bring a cool half mil. Having once met him I can say that I found him a gracious and genuinely kind man. One of the good ones.

Forry’s stuff is going on the block

*** Not long ago I profiled The History Press, a publisher that whose mission I greatly admire. They are in the news now, in a good way. It seems they felt obligated to pay back royalties to some authors, even though they were not legally libel for them, and have now done so. The CEO who oversaw this operation has stepped down now that the job is done.

So let me get this straight: a company does the right thing even though they don’t have to. And the man whose job it was to accomplish this moves on when his job is finished. Can this be true? Do ethics and morals still exist in business today? I guess they do. Who’d a thunk it?

The History Press shows the way

*** Let’s put this under the category of ‘Laughing so you don’t cry.’ It seems that Bill Ayers, the terrorist who tried to kill people as a member of the Weather Underground, a group that did its best to kill people, good friend and mentor of the new president, is getting his own graphic novel. That’s right, a member of a group of would-be murderers not only gets to walk the streets, he also gets illustrated editions of his books. Too bad they failed, he probably would have gotten a bigger advance. Nice gig.

He tried to kill people, failed, and now gets paid for it

*** I guess most bookies know that I was once an avid comic book collector. And, like every other collector, I drooled at the thought of stumbling on a copy of Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman. And before you ask, no, it didn’t happen. But it did happen to someone else, even if it was 59 years ago. And when a cherished comic like this finally leaves its owner’s hand and comes on the marketplace, it’s very big news indeed.

The first linked article explains how and where this comic comes from. That’s interesting. But what’s even more interesting to me is that, while the comic will be auctioned online, the word ‘ebay’ is nowhere in the picture. Instead, the auctioneer will be using their own website. Ha! For those who follow such things this spells doom for ebay, because when they are no longer attracting this sort of high profile rarity you know things are turning south. Oh, and by the way, the original Superman didn’t fly, he could just leap a really long way.

Action Comics #1 Found

Wanna see what it looks like?

 

Back in action

Good morning bookies! Stand by for news.

First, on a personal level, I’m sorry that I haven’t been on top of this blog for the last week or so. My last uncle died Thursday and we have been saying goodbye. He was of that generation that won World War II and served his country for 34 years, was a gourmet cook, grew his own vegetables, fished…well, the Greatest Generation. We’re going to miss men such as he.

*** And now, on to book news! If you own a Brick & Mortar bookstore, beware. Who knew it was such a dangerous occupation? I mean, come on. The British are supposed to be known for their polite reserve, somebody needs to tell this clod.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cambridgeshire/7696215.stm

*** ABEbooks is once again having issues with some of its features that are used by sellers. In particular, sellers are unable to print shipping manifests, making it impossible at the moment to ship their orders. This has happened many times in the past and never lasts long, but is another indication for customers that sometimes a bookseller is dealing with things behind the scenes that cause their orders to ship late.

*** With our never-ending fascination with all things Nazi, in an effort to understand how such a regime could come to power, we have examinations of just about everything that happened before, during and after the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. But new topics are still coming to light and intrepid authors are digging up forgotten but important subjects.

In 1931 Hans Litten prosecuted four Brown Shirts (SA men) for assault and attempted murder. The Weimar Republic may have been a weak democracy but it did have the gears and machinery in place to protect all of its citizens, and there were brave men who stood against the rising tide of violence and tried to impose law and order. Few survived the coming years. This book seems to overplay the actual threat that Hans Litten posed to Hitler and the Nazis, a forgiveable stance that many non-fiction authors take.

http://blog.oup.com/2008/10/crossing-hitler-who-was-hans-litten/

And, since we’re talking Nazis again, surely fans of films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark (Nazis in 1935 chasing about jungles and looking for artifacts) and The Boys From Brazil (Nazis building an empire in South America) will read this story and understand where the concepts for those movies (and the book of The Boys From Brazil) came from. There really were Nazis mucking about the Amazon basin and promoting its use as a place for expansion.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1080071/The-Boys-Brazil-Nazi-graveyard-discovered-deep-Amazon-rainforest.html

*** Another bookstore is passing into history, this time in Amherst. Your friendly neighborhood BBG never had the pleasure of visiting the store, but he would have if he could have.

http://www.masslive.com/chicopeeholyoke/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-16/122518048565920.xml&coll=1

*** Obituaries: Last Thursday, photo-journalist Alex Rivera, famous for his work covering the Civil Rights Movement, died at age 95 in Durham, N.C. Hal Roth, author of 12 books and an avid sailor who circumnavigated the world three times, died in Easton, MD., after a 2 1/2 year battle with lung cancer. He was 81.

*** I find it very encouraging that in this age of aesthetically bereft non-art such as ebooks, there are still people who go about lovingly making books the way that books have been made for centuries, as crafted objects that are not only beautiful but will stand the test of time. That’s just one small part of the 3rd annual New York Art Book Fair, held last weekend, but to me it’s quite an important part. Humans in general are losing our ability to make things, to actually construct something the way it has always been done, something with endurance. I find this whole Art Fair most satisfactory.

http://www.columbiaspectator.com/node/56456

*** Remember Joe Eszterhas, screenplay writer for ‘Basic Instinct’, ‘Showgirls’ and many other movies? In 2001 he was diagnosed with throat cancer and has been battling the disease ever since. But not alone. His new book, Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith, tells of his re-connection with his Catholic faith and subsequent survival. Living now in Ohio, if you see him watching his kids play Little League, don’t be surprised.

*** Yes, like billions of others, I’m a James Bond fan. Not in every shape and form, mind you, Sean Connery has no equal (not even a pretender to the throne) until now, but while I didn’t particularly love Roger Moore or the other Bonds, I didn’t hate them, either. So if I had the time I think I probably would read Sir Roger’s new Bond biography My Word is My Bond. Stuff like this might be thought of as trashy, but then, who cares?

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2008/10/30/2008-10-30_roger_moore_to_bond_with_readers.html

*** And who knew that the next big thing would be business books? Not me, but such appears to be the case in the wake of the credit crisis/Congressional mis-management of their duties/Bailout/recession. Personally, I like it. Somebody makes money no matter what the economy does, might as well be authors.

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1854426,00.html

*** This just in: archaeologists have found the oldest Hebrew text ever unearthed on a pottery shard near the valley where David slew Goliath. preliminary dating puts the age at 3,000 years old and, while it has yet to be fully translated, a few words can be made out.

http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE49T52620081030?feedType=RSS&feedName=scienceNews&rpc=22&sp=true

 

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