Nazi wives The women at the top of Hitler's Germany

James Wyllie

Book - 2020

"Nazi Wives is a fascinating look at the personal lives, psychological profiles, and marriages of the wives of officers in Hitler's inner circle. Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Heydrich, Hess, Bormann-names synonymous with power and influence in the Third Reich. Perhaps less familiar are Carin, Emmy, Magda, Margarete, Lina, Ilse and Gerda... These are the women behind the infamous men-complex individuals with distinctive personalities who were captivated by Hitler and whose everyday lives... were governed by Nazi ideology. Throughout the rise and fall of Nazism these women loved and lost, raised families and quarreled with their husbands and each other, all the while jostling for position with the Fuhrer himself. Until now, they have been treated as minor characters, their significance ignored, as if they were unaware of their husbands' murderous acts, despite the evidence that was all around them: the stolen art on their walls, the slave labor in their homes, and the produce grown in concentration camps on their tables. James Wyllie's Nazi Wives explores these women in detail for the first time, skillfully interweaving their stories through years of struggle, power, decline and destruction into the post-war twilight of denial and delusion"--

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
New York, NY : St. Martin's Press, an imprint of St. Martin's Publishing Group 2020.
Edition
First U.S. edition
Language
English
Physical Description
288 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 268-284) and index.
ISBN
9781250271563
1250271568
Main Author
James Wyllie (author)
  • Early Runners
  • Fugitives and Prisoners
  • Matchmaking
  • Arrivals and Departures
  • Breakthrough
  • First Lady of the Reich
  • Down South
  • SS Wives' Club
  • A Leap in the Dark
  • War and Peace
  • Casualties
  • Under Pressure
  • Dead End
  • Captives
  • Remembering and Forgetting
  • The Final Yards.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

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.—Linda Frederiksen, formerly with Washington State Univ. Lib., Vancouver Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Historian Wyllie (coauthor, Codebreakers) delivers a chilling and richly detailed group portrait of the women who married Third Reich leaders Martin Bormann, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess, Reinhard Heydrich, and Heinrich Himmler. In 1920, Ilse Pröhl met decorated WWI veteran Hess at a student hostel near Munich, where their "platonic affair" became an "unbreakable bond" rooted in mutual admiration for Hitler. Gerda Buch was raised by "a rabidly Nazi father" before marrying Bormann, while Goering's first wife, Swedish countess Carin von Foch, considered Hitler a "mythical superhero from a Norse legend." Though the virtues of motherhood and family life were lauded by the women and the Nazi regime, Wyllie details plenty of internecine rivalries and scandals. Bormann, who "possessed a relentless and unrestrained libido," put Ilse Hess under surveillance after her husband flew to Scotland to try to negotiate peace; a "wild rumor" swirled that Mussolini was the true father of Goering's only child; and Lina Heydrich sabotaged Margaret Himmler's tea parties. The wives who survived the war, Wyllie notes, sought to "bury the past" or salvage their husbands' legacies by blaming others. Wyllie sets a brisk pace through colorful material drawn from primary and secondary sources, though it's sometimes difficult to keep track of the large cast. Still, this is an evenhanded and comprehensive account of an underexamined aspect of Nazi Germany. Agent: Sonia Land, Sheil Land Assoc. (Nov.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Nazi Wives is a fascinating look at the personal lives, psychological profiles, and marriages of the wives of officers in Hitler's inner circle. Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Heydrich, Hess, Bormann-names synonymous with power and influence in the Third Reich. Perhaps less familiar are Carin, Emmy, Magda, Margarete, Lina, Ilse and Gerda... These are the women behind the infamous men-complex individuals with distinctive personalities who were captivated by Hitler and whose everyday lives were governed by Nazi ideology. Throughout the rise and fall of Nazism these women loved and lost, raised families and quarreled with their husbands and each other, all the while jostling for position with the Fuhrer himself. Until now, they have been treated as minor characters, their significance ignored, as if they were unaware of their husbands' murderous acts, despite the evidence that was all around them: the stolen art on their walls, the slave labor in their homes, and the produce grown in concentration camps on their tables. James Wyllie's Nazi Wives explores these women in detail for the first time, skillfully interweaving their stories through years of struggle, power, decline and destruction into the post-war twilight of denial and delusion"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The award-winning author of Codebreaker examines the personal lives and psychological profiles of the wives of Hitler’s inner-circle officers, discussing how their realities were shaped by Nazi ideologies, slave labor and their husbands’ murderous acts. 60,000 first printing. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Nazi Wives is a fascinating look at the personal lives, psychological profiles, and marriages of the wives of officers in Hitler's inner circle.Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Heydrich, Hess, Bormann—names synonymous with power and influence in the Third Reich. Perhaps less familiar are Carin, Emmy, Magda, Margaret, Lina, Ilse and Gerda... These are the women behind the infamous men—complex individuals with distinctive personalities who were captivated by Hitler and whose everyday lives were governed by Nazi ideology. Throughout the rise and fall of Nazism these women loved and lost, raised families and quarreled with their husbands and each other, all the while jostling for position with the Fuhrer himself. Until now, they have been treated as minor characters, their significance ignored, as if they were unaware of their husbands' murderous acts, despite the evidence that was all around them: the stolen art on their walls, the slave labor in their homes, and the produce grown in concentration camps on their tables.James Wyllie's Nazi Wives explores these women in detail for the first time, skillfully interweaving their stories through years of struggle, power, decline and destruction into the post-war twilight of denial and delusion.