Blitzed by Norman Ohler
Drugs in the Third Reich

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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
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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.

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