Nazi Wives: The Women at the Top of Hitler’s Germany

St. Martin’s. Nov. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781250271563. $28.99. HIST
Margaret Himmler, Magda Goebbels, Gerda Bormann, Carin and Emmy Göering, Ilse Hess, and Lina Heydrich. The names, if recognized at all, are known by and through the men each married. In profiling these seven women, largely overlooked by history, British author Wyllie (Goering and Goering) provides insight into the daily public and private lives of Nazi elite and Adolf Hitler’s close inner circle. Although each of the wives appears to have had some influence on the careers of her husband, for the most part, all either eagerly or reluctantly played conventional roles created for them as wives, mothers, and hostesses. Based on primary and secondary sources, including diaries, letters, and memoirs as well as unsubstantiated anecdotes, this account is more descriptive in nature than an in-depth examination into the interior motives of women married to some of the 20th century’s most notorious war criminals. Considerable attention is given to Magda Goebbels, wife of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, and her influence within Hitler’s inner circle. Attention is also given to Hitler’s longtime companion and eventual wife, Eva Braun. Readers are left with additional details but little empathy for those profiled.
VERDICT Recommended for readers of popular World War II history.
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