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Fatherland

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  15,645 ratings  ·  956 reviews
Fatherland is set in an alternative world where Hitler has won the Second World War. It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler's 75th birthday. Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin's most prestigious suburb. As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a cons ...more
Paperback, 380 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Hartorch (first published 1992)
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Christopher Dein Although present, the book does not have a large amount of bad/crude language. It is the the language anyone would expect a police procedural to have.…moreAlthough present, the book does not have a large amount of bad/crude language. It is the the language anyone would expect a police procedural to have. There are some depictions of nudity, but nothing inappropriate.(less)
Watchmen by Alan MooreFatherland by Robert   HarrisThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K. DickThe Eyre Affair by Jasper FfordeThe Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove
Best Alternate History Novels and Stories
2nd out of 330 books — 641 voters
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. DickFatherland by Robert   HarrisWatchmen by Alan MooreJonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna ClarkeNew Yesterdays by Jim L. Wright
Best Alternate History
2nd out of 212 books — 445 voters


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Community Reviews

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Stephen
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I’ve never read a book that more starkly highlighted for me how thankful the good people of the world should be that the allies won World War II. While my final rating was a somewhat subdued 3 stars, there are parts of this story that I found extremely compelling.

BACKSTORY/ALTERNATIVE HISTORY:

Welcome to a very dark future...

It's 1964, and all of Germany is preparing to celebrate Adolf Shitler’s 75th birthday. As part of this national event, the President of the United States, Joseph P. Kennedy
...more
Jason Verber
A murder in 1960s Nazi Germany draws one Berlin detective into a greater mystery than he could have ever imagined. Or could he?

The great thing about Fatherland is that Robert Harris doesn't try to do too much with the counterfactual history. It's definitely there, of course, but the reader discovers it naturally as (fictional) historical details come up in the flow of the novel. There is no heavy-handed explanation of how this alternate history diverged from the history we know, no listing of
...more
Mike
Fatherland takes a well worn subject, what if Nazi Germany had been successful in WWII, and takes an unusual avenue to explore it. Unlike other books on the subject Fatherland does not concern itself with the big military picture and it doesn't dally in the political decisions that changed history. It takes the changes as a given and explores this strange and horrifying world through the eyes of a simple police officer trying to solve a crime. It infuses a 1960's Nazi dominated Europe with all t ...more
Katrina
Now its very rare that I write negative thoughts on a book, but this is one of those posts, if you don't like reading that type of post then please take warning.

Fatherland is our school bookgroups next read - we're not a successful bookgroup at the moment being on our third book and never having had a meeting to discuss a book as yet. As soon as this book was decided on I was wary, the novel is an imagining of what the world would be like if Hitler had won the war. I read a book on exactly the s
...more
Dyuti
I chanced upon this book after reading Stephen's wonderful review while here on Goodreads.

Indeed, the blurb got me so hooked, that for the next four months I tried to hunt it down. But after futile visits to ALL the city bookstores with my boyfriend, who is also an avid reader, I finally gave up! Apparently, it was out of circulation. And right when I thought I would never be able lay my hands on it, I found a copy on sale on the Internet. A brand new 20th anniversary edition that too. So, I s
...more
Mark
I am, and probably always will be, a sucker for alternate history. So a "What if the Germans hadn't lost WWII?" is right up my alley. The key point is that the Holocaust was never discovered or proven, because the Allies did not make it over from either east or west. What was different about history that this should be the case is never explained in the book, and it is not important.

Within this idea, it is simply a detective story. The bitter old detective gets assigned to a case he wasn't even
...more
Grumpus
Again, as in the case of Simple Genius, this is the reason I don’t read more fiction. Even the historical fiction nature of the book, (Germany wins WWII, it’s a different world, yada, yada, yada—you can read more of the storyline in the reviews others have written) couldn’t save it for me.

I thought that both this book and Simple Genius had excellent premises but the stories failed to draw me in like a good Dean Koontz book.

Oh, and I am very literal. The book ends sort of like the movie Field
...more
Dick Edwards
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim
I'm glad I finally read this book. It has been on my to-read list for some time now.

This book has a possible answer for the question "What if Hitler won the war?". And it tells it from the viewpoint of a disgruntled, disillusioned police detective who whilst investigating a murder uncovers the biggest, closely guarded secret of the German Reich.

A well-written fast paced book it kept me always wanting to know more. And therein lies the issue I had with it. It just didn't tell me enough. I wante
...more
Jon
I'm not sure why this book was set in 1964 in a fantasy of what the world might have been like if Hitler had won the war. There's little in it that couldn't have been easily plotted in, say, the real world of 1942. Still, the speculation is fun. We're surprised to learn that President Kennedy is still alive and running for re-election, and about 50 pages later we're surprised again to learn just which Kennedy this is. And I'm sure that if I were more familiar with the city plan of Berlin, I'd fi ...more
Michael
When I think of great alternate history stories of the Germans winning World War II, I normally think of The Man in the High Castle or Indiana Jones (though not the same, the feeling of a Nazi Superpower is the same). Fatherland is a brilliant blend of a murder mystery mixed with known elements of the Nazi history in the war. The story follows a Kriminalpolizei detective Xavier March who is investigating a murder which leads him deeper into discovering the true and suppressed elements of the Naz ...more
Seb
'Fatherland' is one of those novels that every writer dreams of – the book that changes everything. Robert Harris went from BBC reporter to world-recognised author in one jump. The well-appointed house where he now lives was 'bought with the proceeds of Fatherland.’ It began a series of successes that took in 'Enigma', a trilogy set in Ancient Rome and culminated in last year's 'The Ghost'. This success is based on a fiction sub genre, what you might call the fact-based thriller.

However, the fac
...more
Hank
Apr 17, 2008 Hank rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historial mystery buffs, reformed neonazis, uniform fetishists
Shelves: dystopian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lobstergirl

Germany won the war. Churchill fled to Canada. Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson now head the monarchy in Britain. Joseph P. Kennedy is president of the United States. The Soviet Union and Germany are still at war in the Urals, with the Russians backed by the Americans, but Kennedy is coming to Berlin to announce a policy of détente. It's now 1964 and Xavier March, former U-boat commander in WWII and a detective with the Kriminalpolizei, secretly disenchanted with the Third Reich, is called in to s
...more
Carol Storm
As Nazi thrillers go, this one is barely passable. It's nowhere near as good as classics like THE ODESSA FILE by Frederick Forsyth, or THE EAGLE HAS LANDED by Jack Higgins, or even THE BERKUT by Joseph Heywood or THE MASTER SNIPER by Stephen Hunter.

I don't know why I disliked the hero March so much. Maybe it's because we kept hearing he was a U-Boat ace during the war but we never get any decent flashbacks. Maybe it's because he obviously hates his ex wife and his bratty little son. But mostly
...more
Bill
Many of the characters in the book actually existed, with their biographical details correct up to 1942. Their subsequent activities and demise were, of course, somewhat different from the text, which accords with the book’s title. However, the narrative blends in seamlessly with the fictitious advance of the Third Reich covering the week leading up to Hitler’s 75th Birthday celebration rally on 20 April 1964. Hitler actually committed suicide on 30 April 1945 age 56.

Fortunately for all of Europ
...more
Silvia Torelli
Mah...non e' mai facile scrivere un romanzo ucronico, e l'ipotesi che la II guerra mondiale sarebbe potuta finire in un altro modo e' di quelle che fanno veramente paura.
Questo romanzo, per quanto scritto bene, ha un grande difetto: e' un giallo all'americana fino alla punta dei capelli. A chi puo' venire in mente che portare in un paese sconfitto (gli USA, appunto) la prova che gli ebrei (e solo loro, di tutto il resto dei morti nei campi di sterminio non se ne ricorda mai nessuno) sono stati
...more
Lance Greenfield
What an excellent book!

The version that I read was a twentieth anniversary edition of Robert Harris's breakthrough novel. In the forward, he explains how the concept of a work of fiction based on a world in which Germany had prevailed as victors in WWII. It came to him, in the eighties, when he was researching for a non-fiction book about Hitler's forged diaries. Consequently there is a lot of factual basis to the story. But it was written almost by accident.

Fatherland is enacted in the sixties
...more
Arun Divakar
If there is one thing that i take away from this book then it is the atmosphere the author creates. Fatherland, simply put is a well crafted thriller in the lines of the ludlum/forsyth thrillers of yore sans the blood and gore. Interestingly enough I had given up my interest on political thrillers until this tale gave me a fresh view.

While studying the history of WWII, any over imaginative mind would ponder the question : "What would have happened had Germany won the war ? ". It could have been
...more
Kelanth, numquam risit ubi dracones vivunt
Questo libro mi è piaciuto davvero tanto!

E' una di quelle storie che ti prende e non ti lascia più andare, la ricostruzione storica mi è sembrata eccelsa, con le descrizioni puntuali e mai noiose dell'immaginaria Berlino capitale del mondo.

Un futuro che poteva essere altamente probabile ricostruito dall'autore in maniera impeccabile. In fondo la storia viene scritta dai vincitori e solitamente sono solo i piccoli episodi a decidere le guerre. Ho sempre amato le serie famose in America, soprattu
...more
David Mcangus
Fatherland is one of those books that has an interesting premise but suffers from being chained to conventional execution. This is particularly apparent in how the author tries to make his protagonist sympathetic. He's an every-man's cop who has problems at home and conflict with the bureaucracy of the police force. He's focused on the job at hand, keeps his head down and doesn't involve himself in political functions. He's just a normal guy, y'know, who happens to be part of the SS and lives at ...more
Charles
This is a book I've wanted to read for many years but it took Ryanair's rotweiller approach to baggage limits for me to finally read it in Poland on holiday this year. I was running out of material to read so I went out on a shopping trip to the centre of Wroclaw to reinforce my holiday-reading stock. And of all the books to buy in Poland, I can think of no other where the location is of such critical importance in amplifying the reading experience.

As most of you will know Fatherland, Robert Har
...more
Michael Roy
One of the guilty pleasures I've just realised I enjoy is counter-factual history.

This is a quite remarkable book which led to a film adaptation (featuring The Hitcher himself Rutger Hauer and Miranda Richardson - Queenie in Blackadder II).

The premise is based on an alternative reality that the Nazis had not, in fact, been defeated in 1945 but been pacified by the Allies after subjugating most of Europe.

It's the mid 1960s and the holocaust has never come to light. The Nazi hierarchy are attem
...more
Saxon
I read about this thriller in HHhH, another fine piece of historical fiction. Having seen the HBO movie, which was a hot mess despite starring Miranda Richardson and an avuncular Rutger Hauer, I had low expectations for the book. But I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and the interlocking neatness of the plot. If nothing else, Fatherland is an object lesson in how screenplays, manacled as they are to visuals, compress and simplify a novel's narrative. Also, the book's endin ...more
Miroslav Mateev
I really enjoyed reading this book. The overall plot really reminded me of The Da Vinci Code - a whole lot of running all over, accompanied by a female helper, going to a secret swiss bank, tons of interesting facts. Maybe that's where Dan Brown got his inspiration. :D One thing though irritated me was the credibility of those interesting facts - I didn't know what to believe and what not. It the end of the book however it is said that the biographical details are correct up to 1942, which makes ...more
Laura
From BBC Radio 4:
Adaptation of the English author's chilling novel set in a dystopian Hitler-led post-war Germany
.



A TV adaptation Fatherland (1994) was made based on this book, with Rutger Hauer, Miranda Richardson, Peter Vaughan.

Antonio Rosato
Ho riletto questo libro dopo quasi un quarto di secolo dalla mia prima volta; avevo dimenticato quanto fosse bello e, in un certo senso, anche istruttivo. La lettura, anzi rilettura, è stata talmente piacevole che, nonostante le sue quasi 400 pagine, è "andato giù" tutto d'un fiato e nel corso di un'intera notte. Si tratta di giallo fantapolitico/fantastorico (e chi segue le mie recensioni sa che è proprio il mio genere preferito) ambientato in una Germania mai esistita ma che avrebbe certamente ...more
Pep Bonet
I started this novel convinced that it was a description of Nazi Germany in 1964 after a successful, for them, end of the war. And then I discovered something completely different. It's true that there are some descriptions of how the world could have evolved, with Europe under German dominion and a European Union based in Berlin (maybe not so casual that the author is a Briton). Some descriptions of never-ending war in Asian Russia or a Cold War between the States and Germany are other nice ide ...more
Monica
Fatherland was my second foray into Robert Harris’ writings, the first having been Enigma (which I loved as well, despite finding it rather long-winded and hard to follow at times – unsurprising, I guess, for a book dealing with cryptography set during WWII).

But Fatherland – well, Fatherland was a completely different experience. I found it mesmerizing, in the same way a train headed towards a bridge that is sure to collapse under its weight is mesmerizing: you can sense the disaster drawing clo
...more
Mark Hebwood
Not bad. This is a well-written thriller, and widely regarded as Robert's breakthrough novel. It is set in an alternative-history Germany, in which the National Socialists had won the war, and Germany had bloated eastwards, gobbling up everything between its modern Eastern border and the Ural mountains.

The plot is common-enough fare: the body of a dead man turns up on the shore of lake Havel in Berlin. Inspector March of the Kriminalpolizei is sent to investigate, but instead of clearing up a co
...more
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Λέσχη Ανάγνωσης Κ...: 02.06.14 - Fatherland 1 10 Jun 10, 2014 12:11AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Fatherland by Robert Harris 14 27 Oct 23, 2013 06:38PM  
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Librarian Note: There are several authors in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Robert Dennis Harris (born 7 March 1957 in Nottingham) is a best-selling English novelist. He is a former journalist and BBC TV reporter. He specialises in historical thrillers noted for their literary accomplishment. His books have been translated into some thirty languages.
Ha
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More about Robert Harris...
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“A police state is a country run by criminals” 6 likes
“Down in the cellar the Gestapo were licensed to practice was the Ministry of Justice called ‘heightened interrogation’. The rules had been drawn up by civilised men in warm offices and they stipulated the presence of a doctor.” 4 likes
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