Makes you think

I have a problem with looking at aspects of history objectively. For example, looking at the rise of the Nazis is a very historically charged subject, and as such it’s pretty difficult to look at it with any kind of detachment. You’ve grown up with all this names being mentioned as the ultimate example of evil, so how can you cooly evaluate their methods and motivation?

In the American Empire series, Harry Turtledove takes the rise of fascism and plants it in his alternative reality, where different nations a) exist and b) won WW1

And, having seperated the actions from the names, it allows you to look at it a bit more easily. This is, after all, fiction. Horrible acts may be being carried out, but it’s only fiction. You don’t look at lists of 5,000,000 dead, countries destroyed, every crime against humanity carried out. It’s only a book.

But it’s a book that looks at how one charismatic leader can hijack a party, how that party can hijack a democracy, and how that ‘democracy’ can be steered into doing what the one leader wants. It looks at how a man can build a PoW camp to save lives, then be turned into a man willing and able to run a death camp. It shows how people can be so desperate to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past that they make even bigger ones.

And, more worryingly, it shows how the people best placed and motivated to do something to stop such an arrangement can be coaxed into being part of it. How the ‘good men’ of the old saying can be persuaded not only to do nothing, but to aid and abet.

And it scares the bejeebus out of me.

What also scares me is the fact that the next series isn’t finished yet, which means that I got a long time to wait to see how it plays out. Bugger.

Oh well. At least it wasn’t as bad an ending as Wheel of Time 10. Grr, book 10. 11 had better be good when it comes out in 29 days…

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