An enthralling narrative history of Weimar Berlin in the three years before the Nazi takeover and a dramatic account of Germany's slide from parliamentary democracy to dictatorship. Combining meticulously researched historical writing on the one hand with gripping storytelling on the other, Peter Walther examines the mounting crisis during the dying years of the Weimar Republic through the prism of nine principal protagonists, whose lives are profiled deftly and in fascinating detail; they include leading Weimar politicians of the right, left, and center and prominent emigre's resident in this most cosmopolitan of capital cities. The louche and febrile nightlife of early 1930s Berlin – "a playground for charlatans and prophets, madmen and crooks" – is memorably and atmospherically evoked.Peter Walther pulls together the threads of these nine lives to chart the demise of German parliamentary democracy and the rise of National Socialist tyranny, the story ending with the terrifying "Finale furioso" of Hitler's seizure of power in January 1933. Along the way, we gain remarkable insights into the machinations in the corridors of power to try to keep the 'Bohemian corporal' from the chancellorship and the venality of the Nazi elite and its fellow travelers from the demi-monde of early 1930s Berlin.
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