Wendy Lower’s Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields returns the Holocaust to something of its original horror. It is a study of German and Austrian women on the eastern front, and the simple revelation behind their story is that women were no less capable of brutality than men. This might seem banal—the banality of evil across the gender line. Yet Lower’s book is thoroughly shocking. What these women saw and did was shocking. What they believed was shocking.
Americans tend to have three preoccupations about the recent past: the rights revolutions of the 1960s; Ronald Reagan, his conservative movement, and its legacy; and American-led globalization.1 Remarkably, to an American reader, Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st C
Americans don’t really build statues to our literary heroes. Are PBS documentaries our substitute?