The Seduction of Eva Volk: Review
I just finished reading The Seduction of Eva Volk by C.D. Baker. This brilliant book is from the perspective of German Christians living in the post-WWI and then Nazi eras. It depicts how good people could get caught up in believing in Hitler and Nazi lies.
For more information, go here (the Amazon page, with plot summary), here (a Youtube promo video), and here (C.D. Baker’s website, with plot summary and reviews).
The book pulls you into their world, so you can understand how they were so deceived by Hitler. You see ordinary people–farmers, preachers, Protestants, Catholics, teenagers, shopowners, etc.–and how their daily lives were affected from the 1920s through the end of the War.
It also depicts vivid battle scenes in the Russian Front and in Germany at the end of the war, from the point of view of the sensitive poet Andreas, a soldier bound by his oath to Hitler. The author consulted Johann Voss, a former German soldier and author of the memoir Black Edelweiss, describing what it was like to be in the Waffen-SS.
The book also centers around a love triangle–Eva, Andreas, and Andreas’ Nazi brother Wolf–which symbolizes the seduction of Germans by Hitler, and the eventual unblinding of their eyes.
The book does not take sides of one country against another. While deploring the barbarism and atrocities of Hitler and the Nazis, the book also notes the atrocities on the side of the Allies. You see characters wavering between what they hear from the Nazi propaganda machine, and rumors of brutality being done by their own side, not wanting to believe the rumors. It is a warning against falling for Hitler-type characters, against the mass suffering and death which they can bring about. Millions died on all sides.
The final chapters are engrossing and fast-paced, leaving you wondering until the very end how it’s going to turn out, who will survive as Germany collapses into rubble and starvation and death. Yet the epilogue does not leave you with a typical American happy ending: It’s satisfying, but grim as you recognize the toll the war and Naziism took on all the characters.