The Castle in the Forest

For a less fawning and more nuanced review of Mailer’s newest than that which appears in Sunday’s New York Times, try Ron Hansen in the LA Times.

A great deal of this historical material is plausible. Mailer has
demonstrated wonderfully in "The Executioner’s Song" and the Russian
sections of "Oswald’s Tale: An American Mystery" that he is capable of
first-rate, even groundbreaking research, and he is a master prose
stylist whose verve and eccentric points of view are never
uninteresting. But on the whole, though intriguing, this is an odd book
— a sort of narrative parade, in which one event simply follows another
without the heightened trajectory that we expect of a novel. Ending
"The Castle in the Forest" as he does, with Hitler still a teenager,
Mailer seems only to have prepared the material, not to have fully
examined it. The Hitler of infamy — the Hitler whose evil is more fully
considered in some of the 100-plus entries in Mailer’s "Bibliography" —
has not yet come into being.



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Two interesting books of criticism of imaginative works about Hitler are Alvin H. Rosenfeld’s Imagining Hitler (1985) and his son Gavriel D. Rosenfeld’s The World Hitler Never Made (2005).

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