Fatherland

Fatherland Book Cover Fatherland
Robert Harris
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Random House
2009
386

It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler's 75th birthday. Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin's most prestigious suburb. As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a conspiracy that could go to the very top of the German Reich.

This is a terrifying book in some ways. Yet it almost seems normal in the context of Nazi Germany. That is why it is terrifying.
The story is almost a “normal” crime novel about a privileged class murder except that the privileged class is one of mass murderers. The premise of the what-if question posed by the novel is easy to believe; also hard to understand. It touches on:
• the nature of power
• the way International relations almost require turning a blind eye to atrocities
• the control of information
• propaganda and its insidious influence on popular thought
• suppression of ideas and free thought
• career vs principle
It is a very good thing to think of what might have happened if only a few things in the past were different.

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