In This Review

In Hitler's Germany: Everyday Life in the Third Reich
In Hitler's Germany: Everyday Life in the Third Reich
By Bernt Engelmann
Pantheon, 1987, 335 pp.
Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition, and Racism in Everyday Life
Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition, and Racism in Everyday Life
By Detlev J. K. Peukert
Yale University Press, 1987, 288 pp.

Both books try to tell the story of ordinary, everyday life in Nazi Germany; though different in character, each has its own shortcomings. Engelmann, a well-known German journalist, uses interviews and his own experiences: he relates anecdotes, tinged with sentimentality, that tell a familiar tale of Nazi violence and a range of responses from careerist acquiescence to concealed, sometimes very effective resistance. A popular study, with some historical inaccuracies. Peukert aims at a scholarly study and uses much valuable documentary evidence collected by the regime itself and by the exiled Socialist Party. Originally a two-volume study in German, his condensation is diffuse, mixing historical account with a labored sociological analysis. Important material about the variety of responses, especially the widespread grumbling, but presented with inadequate historical empathy.