Blitzed by Norman Ohler
Drugs in the Third Reich

64%

7 Critic Reviews

The story of the “fat doctor” (as Ohler dubs him) is based on some diligent research. But it is buried beneath the breathless prose, like other interesting aspects of the book. Again and again, Ohler’s hyperbole stands in the way of sober understanding.
-Financial Times

Synopsis

A fast-paced narrative that discovers a surprising perspective on World War II: Nazi Germany’s all-consuming reliance on drugs

The Nazi regime preached an ideology of physical, mental, and moral purity. But as Norman Ohler reveals in this gripping new history, the Third Reich was saturated with drugs. On the eve of World War II, Germany was a pharmaceutical powerhouse, and companies such as Merck and Bayer cooked up cocaine, opiates, and, most of all, methamphetamines, to be consumed by everyone from factory workers to housewives to millions of German soldiers. In fact, troops regularly took rations of a form of crystal meth—the elevated energy and feelings of invincibility associated with the high even help to explain certain German military victories.  Drugs seeped all the way up to the Nazi high command and, especially, to Hitler himself. Over the course of the war, Hitler became increasingly dependent on injections of a cocktail of drugs—including a form of heroin—administered by his personal doctor. While drugs alone cannot explain the Nazis’ toxic racial theories or the events of World War II, Ohler’s investigation makes an overwhelming case that, if drugs are not taken into account, our understanding of the Third Reich is fundamentally incomplete.  Carefully researched and rivetingly readable, Blitzed throws surprising light on a history that, until now, has remained in the shadows.
 

About Norman Ohler

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Norman Ohler is an award-winning German novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He spent five years researching Blitzed in numerous archives in Germany and the United States, and spoke to eye-witnesses, military historians, and doctors. He is also the author of the novels Die Quotenmaschine (the world's first hypertext novel), Mitte and Stadt des Goldes (translated into English as Ponte City). He was co-writer of the script for Wim Wenders' film Palermo Shooting.Shaun Whiteside has translated widely in both French and German, including Sybille Steinbacher's Auschwitz: A History. Author Image 1
 
Published March 7, 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 307 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Self Help, Travel, War. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 26 2017
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Critic reviews for Blitzed
All: 7 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jan 23 2017

Written with dramatic flair (Ohler has published several novels in Germany), this book adds significantly to our understanding of the Third Reich.

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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Thomas McClung on Apr 03 2017

The author has gleaned a lot of eye-opening information on this from archives and personal papers to the extent that it is not surprising that Hitler was an addict, Nazi law and ideology notwithstanding.

Read Full Review of Blitzed: Drugs in the Third R... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Christian Science Monitor

Above average
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue on Apr 04 2017

Even in translation, Ohler is an unfailingly engaging guide to all this sordid material, sketching the long history of his subject and the surprisingly widespread infiltration of all kinds of powerful stimulants into German civilian society...

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USA Today

Below average
Reviewed by Matt McCarthy on Mar 07 2017

Blitzed offers an unnecessary and misguided revision of history, concocted with circumstantial evidence and unsubstantiated claims. “The myth of Hitler as an anti-drug teetotaler,” Ohler writes, “…is a myth that demands to be deconstructed.” No, it doesn't.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Good
Reviewed by Owen Richardson on Nov 12 2016

This is the first work of non-fiction from Ohler, who is otherwise known as a novelist and screenwriter. It is vividly written, with touches of sardonic, pitch-black wit, but Ohler has done valuable original research and doesn't overstate the case.

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Esquire

Good
Reviewed by George Pendle on Mar 29 2017

Even the best Hitler biographers have faltered when trying to explain the Führer's increasingly irrational decisions from the autumn of 1941 onward. Seen through the prism of addiction, however, the illogical becomes much more understandable.

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Financial Times

Below average
Reviewed by Nikolaus Wachsmann on Oct 14 2016

The story of the “fat doctor” (as Ohler dubs him) is based on some diligent research. But it is buried beneath the breathless prose, like other interesting aspects of the book. Again and again, Ohler’s hyperbole stands in the way of sober understanding.

Read Full Review of Blitzed: Drugs in the Third R... | See more reviews from Financial Times

Reader Rating for Blitzed
86%

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