We fought and fought, but now it’s time.
For our April selection, it’s Milton Mayer’s They Thought They Were Free: The Germans of 1933-45.
Sure, Milton Mayer might be best known for being a Progressive staple, but his 1955 collection of case studies covering ten Germans from 1933 to 1945 has chilling echoes that can still be heard today, and shows how with small drips and drops, an entire Nation’s outlook can be changed.
“We all knew. Nobody knew.”
346 pages, that at times drag, yet have the ability to bowl you over with the simplest of phrases; They Thought They Were Free lingers on your mind in-between reads.
The work also exposes a trait a bit too close to home for many today, an embrace of normalcy bias pushed to the edge of sense as in the following quote from one of Mayer’s interviewees, “I fooled myself. I had to. Everybody has to… I didn’t want to see it, because I would have then had to think about the consequences of seeing it, what followed from seeing it, what I must do to be decent. I wanted my home and family, my job, my career, a place in the community.”