RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe Swedish journalist Asbrink’s 1947 is an extraordinary achievement. Careening around Europe and the Middle East as well as South Asia and the United States through a singular year, she deliberately juxtaposes the intimate and the ephemeral with immensely consequential political and diplomatic developments ... Amid all these gleaming fragments are meditations on the nature of historical time, the mysteries of human motivation, the endless riddle of causation and the heart-rending loss of once-possible alternatives. Asbrink is throughout attentive to the complex dynamic produced by the Holocaust’s multiple aftermaths, the urgently necessary and terrifyingly confusing process of decolonization and the consolidation of the Soviet bloc ... Ultimately most compelling is 1947’s relationship to our present. A chilling recurrent subplot involves the remarkably rapid regrouping of undeterred ex-Nazis, already inventing denialism, networking transnationally and dreaming up a renewed pan-fascist future.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewThe strengths of Ohler’s account lie not only in the rich array of rare documents he mines and the archival images he reproduces to accompany the text, but also in his character studies ... the larger conclusions Ohler draws are unsubstantiated. For whether the availability of Pervitin was simply a supplemental aid or whether it provides an essential explanation for the success of the blitzkrieg approach remains an open question. Similar problems arise in the other major tale at the heart of Blitzed: Hitler’s own journey into addiction...This is a thesis pieced together from a mix of hard evidence and complete speculation. No full history of these dark times can ever be so simple, and Ohler’s analysis does not withstand close scrutiny ... while “Blitzed” makes for provocative reading, and while the encouragement to look at the Third Reich from a fresh vantage point is salutary, anyone seeking a deepened understanding of the Nazi period must be wary of a book that provides more distraction and distortion than clarification.