Fest, Joachim C. 1926-
FEST, Joachim C. 1926-
PERSONAL: Born December 8, 1926, in Berlin, Germany; son of Johannes and Elisabeth (Straeter) Fest; married Ingrid Ascher, 1959; children: Alexander, Nicolaus. Education: Attended University of Freiburg, 1948-49, University of Frankfurt, 1949-51, University of Berlin, 1951-53. Religion: Roman Catholic.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—Gartenstrasse 11, D-61476 Kronberg, Germany.
CAREER: Editor, historian, publisher, and writer. Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor, Berlin, Germany, editor, 1953-61; Norddeutscher Rundfunk-TV, Hamburg, Germany, editor, 1961-63, editor-in-chief, 1963-68; freelance writer, 1968-73; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, publisher and editing director, 1973-93. Visiting professor, University of Heidelberg, 1993.
MEMBER: Max Planck Society (senator), Deutsch Nationalstiftung (senator).
AWARDS, HONORS: Thomas Wolf prize, 1971; Thomas Dehler prize, 1973; Thomas Mann prize, 1981; honorary doctorate, University of Stuttgart, 1982; Goethe medal (Frankfurt, Germany), 1987; Premio Mediterraneo (Palermo, Italy), 1989; Gorres prize (Koblenz, Germany), 1992; Borne prize, 1996; Edvard Rhein prize, 1999; Wilhelm Leuschner medal, 1999; Hildegard von Bingen prize, 2000.
Das Gesicht des Dritten Reiches, Piper (Munich, Germany), 1963, translation by Michael Bullock published as The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1970, reprinted, Da Capo Press (New York, NY), 1999.
Hitler: Eine Biographie, Propyläen (Berlin, Germany), 1973, reprinted, 2002, translation by Richard and Clara Winston published as Hitler: A Biography, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1974.
(Coeditor) Hitler, eine Karriere, Ullstein, 1977.
Aufgehobene Vergangenheit (essays), Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1981.
Casar Pinnau, Architekt, 1982.
Die unwissenden Magier. Über Thomas und HeinrichMann, Siedler (Berlin, Germany), 1985.
Der tanzende Tod, St. Gertrude, 1986.
Im Gegenlicht: Eine italienische Reise, Siedler (Berlin, Germany), 1988.
Richard Wagner, der Ring des Nibelungen, Siegfried, Verlag der Bayreuther Festspiele, 1989.
Der zerstörte Traum: Vom Ende des utopischen Zeitalters, Siedler (Berlin, Germany), 1991.
Die schwierige Freiheit. Über die offene Flanke der offenen Gesellschaft, Siedler (Berlin, Germany), 1993.
Stätstreich. Der lange Weg zum 20. Juli, Siedler (Berlin, Germany), 1994, translation by Bruce Little published as Plotting Hitler's Death: The Story of the German Resistance, Holt (New York, NY), 1996.
Tragische Vermachtnis: Der 20. Juli 1944, 1994.
Fremdheit und Nahe: Von der Gegenwart des Gewesenen, 1996.
(Editor) Die grossen Stifter: Lebensbilder, Zeitbilder, Siedler (Berlin, Germany), 1997.
Albert Speer: Eine Biographie, Alexander Fest, 1999, translation by Ewald Osers and Alexandra Dring published as Speer: The Final Verdict, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2002.
Horst Janssen: Selbstbildnis von fremder Hand, Alexander Fest (Berlin, Germany), 2001.
Der Untergang: Hitler und das Ende des Dritten Reiches: Eine historische Skizze, Alexander Fest (Berlin, Germany), 2002, translation by Margot Bettauer Dembo published as Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Der Spiegel and Encounter. Also contributor to German television and radio.
SIDELIGHTS: Joachim C. Fest is a German journalist and historian who has written a number of books about World War II. Fest "originally gained international recognition with a comprehensive biography of Adolf Hitler, the first major work of its kind to appear in Germany," wrote Frederick Studemann in the Financial Times. Josef Joffe noted in Commentary that "anything by Joachim Fest is required reading" because he is "a writer of extraordinary breadth and talent." Similarly, Norman Stone in the Spectator described Fest as "a writer of immense experience and stature." Among Fest's other works are Plotting Hitler's Death: The Story of the German Resistance and Speer: The Final Verdict.
Plotting Hitler's Death is a study of the loosely organized resistance to German Chancellor Adolph Hitler during World War II. Fest particularly focuses on the efforts of a group of military officers in the German army led by commander Claus von Stauffenberg, arguing that, unlike other resistance groups, these high-ranking army officers had a real chance to remove Hitler from power. The group plotted on several occasions to kill Hitler. Their most notable attempt was a bomb plot on July 20, 1944, which the German leader managed to survive with minor injuries. "Though they failed," a critic for Publishers Weekly said of the conspirators, "Fest makes a convincing case that they nevertheless established an enduring moral standard not only for Germany but for the world." Fest's book is, according to Frank McLynn in the Independent, a "meticulously documented study well up to his superlative standard."
Albert Speer, Hitler's personal architect and close friend, was appointed to design the great buildings and cities the Nazi leader hoped to build once World War II was over. As the war dragged on, Speer also served as the regime's armaments minister. Following the war, Speer served some twenty years in prison for his role in various war crimes, in particular for overseeing the use of slave labor. When he was released from prison, Speer wrote his memoirs, in which he tried to explain his role in the Third Reich. In Speer: The Final Verdict, Fest examines just how Speer, an educated man from the German middle class, was taken in by Hitler. "If we can understand why this man was pulled into the Fuhrer's orbit," wrote Hew Strachan in the London Daily Telegraph, "then we may have the key to understanding why so many others followed." A reviewer for First Things found that "Fest's 'final verdict' is that Speer tried to be truthful but was utterly devoid of the moral, spiritual, and religious insights necessary to judging guilt or innocence in his own case or that of others." "With his masterful Speer," Viola Herms Drath wrote in the Washington Times, "Mr. Fest brings to life the riveting story of one man's meteoric rise in Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and his fateful fall." "Fest's biography," Stone concluded, "is the most rounded and satisfactory of the various studies to date."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, November 28, 1970.
Booklist, September 15, 1996, Jay Freeman, review of Plotting Hitler's Death: The Story of the German Resistance, p. 214; September 1, 2002, Jay Freeman, review of Speer: The Final Verdict, p. 50.
Choice, May, 2003, D. A. Browder, review of Speer, p. 1615.
Christian Century, May 20, 1970.
Commentary, February, 1997, Josef Joffe, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 70.
Daily Telegraph (London, England), November 3, 2001, Hew Strachan, review of Speer.
Economist, December 22, 2001, review of Speer, p. 116.
Financial Times (London, England), January 11, 1997, Frederick Studemann, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 5; November 10, 2001, Nicholas Fearn, review of Speer, p. 4.
First Things, February, 2003, review of Speer, p. 63.
Foreign Affairs, March-April, 1997, Stanley Hoffmann, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 185.
History: Review of New Books, summer, 1997, Kenneth Calkins, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 162.
History Today, May, 2002, Neil Gregor, review of Speer, p. 83.
Independent (London, England), October 26, 1996, Frank McLynn, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 7.
Journal of American Culture, summer, 1998, Glenn R. Wilkinson, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 106.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2002, review of Speer, p. 853.
Library Journal, September 1, 1996, Dennis L. Noble, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 192; August, 2002, Barbara Walden, review of Speer, p. 110.
New Republic, November 18, 2002, Omer Bartov, review of Speer, p. 36.
New Statesman, November 8, 1996, David Cesarini, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 46; November 5, 2001, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, review of Speer, p. 52.
New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, Thomas Powers, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 49.
New York Times, October 6, 2002, Max Frankel, review of Speer, p. 14.
New York Times Book Review, May 24, 1970.
Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, FL), October 13, 2002, Tom Blackburn, review of Speer, p. 7J.
Publishers Weekly, August 26, 1996, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 86; June 10, 2002, review of Speer, p. 48.
Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), January 21, 1997, Frederick Studemann, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 15D.
Saturday Review, August 29, 1970.
Shofar, winter, 2003, review of Speer, p. 194.
Spectator, October 19, 1996, Richard Lamb, review of Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 45; November 3, 2001, Norman Stone, review of Speer, p. 50.
Times Higher Education Supplement, February 8, 2002, Brendan Simms, review of Speer, p. 25.
Times Literary Supplement, March 19, 1970; September 13, 1987.
Virginia Quarterly Review, autumn, 1970.
Washington Times, September 22, 2002, Viola Herms Drath, "Charting Meteoric Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler's Well-born Architect," p. B8.*