Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Swastika Night” as Want to Read:
Swastika Night
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Swastika Night

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,656 ratings  ·  206 reviews
Published in 1937, twelve years before Orwell's 1984, Swastika Night projects a totally male-controlled fascist world that has eliminated women as we know them. Women are breeders, kept as cattle, while men in this post-Hitlerian world are embittered automatons, fearful of all feelings, having abolished all history, education, creativity, books, and art. The plot centers ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published 1985 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1937)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Swastika Night, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Swastika Night

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,656 ratings  ·  206 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Swastika Night
Printable Tire
Jan 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Swastika Night envisions a world thousands of years in the future in which the Nazis have joint world dominance with the Japanese and the past before Hitler has been obliterated from collective memory. It is a static world in which Hitler is worshiped as a blond, blue-eyed Viking-god that was not born of woman but exploded, where Knights rule small feudal societies, where the cult of manliness dominates to such an extent that boys are taken as lovers and women are hairless cattle kept in cages, ...more
Adaya Adler
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Swastika Night – A book review…

I originally picked this book up because a friend of mine said that it was always what she thought of when I described my relationship with my parents. And after reading it I can see *exactly* where she was coming from.

However, putting my personal psychoanalysis aside, what I can say is that I am deeply and profoundly disappointed that the main body of the book isn't... well... better. Because the author had a truly amazing idea - to present institutional
Katherine Budekin wrote her frightening vision of a Nazi future in 1937, at the height of Hitler's power in Germany, as a scathing attack on the powerful patriarchies engaged in fascism.

Her argument , however, goes far beyond the confines of Nazism and her imaginary Nazi future. She is concerned with the history of all of Western Civilization: a history driven by gender politics, wherein women's voices have been erased from the collective memory almost as completely as her Nazis wiped out the
Carmilla Voiez
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
Possibly the most troubling of the four dystopian books I have read this year, at least from a woman's point of view. Women are all but completely absent from the story, and from the society. It is set 720 years after the second world war. Germany won and Nazi's now rule all of Europe and Africa. The Japanese rule Asia and America (although they are only mentioned in passing in the story).

The action happens in Germany and England (a subject nation). While Alfred (an English engineer) is
Dan Keating
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Along with Brave New World and We, Katharine Burdekin's Swastika Night is often hailed a precursor to Orwell's earth-shattering work of dystopian fiction, 1984. While 1984 is probably a better story (for story's sake, with deeper, more well-rounded characters), it has one weakness; it is largely a justification of the idea that a society so twisted when compared with our own might survive. Burdekin's Swastika Night is not so much about the survival of a sick society (as arguments can be made ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Soon review ;-)
Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
Rated 4.5/5 stars

I'm honestly a little bit blown away by this book. It's the first "if hitler won the war" dystopia, and yet reads like something that could very well be published (and extremely popular) now. Just the way the world is imagined brings about so many discussions of racism, sexism/feminism, religion, you name it.
Now I will say that some of the discussions did seem to go on for a little too long, and the majority of the book seemed to be going through the "big reveal" stage of
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: big-white-square
Frightening! So many pederast Nazis.

The oddest thing is that for much of the time I was thinking "The fact that this was written by a woman (who might have been a lesbian?) makes it OK." But for much of its life, everyone thought it was written by a man. They must have thought he was insane.

"But the English had remained just as queer as ever, sloppy and casual and yet likeable."

"You ought to be ashamed of your race, Alfred, even though your Empire vanished seven hundred years ago. It isn't
Jake M.
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Swastika Night is a dialogue driven and philosophically laden tale of a pilgrimage of an Englishman named Alfred to Germany, the center of the Holy Nazi Empire. This fusion of alternate history and dystopian fiction is set six hundred years after the German victory over the Allies where Hitler is worshiped as an Aryan god. During his pilgrimage, Alfred encounters a Nazi knight who has doubts about the effects of holding women to an animal-like status. This book should not be typecast as a ...more
Bilge B
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
it is just all over the place and poorly consturcted.

She constructed a world and rather than explaining it with actions and situations, two people just sit down and discuss the history of the world for 3/4 of the book.

Changes subject in the following paragraph without a warning and you're like "what? huh? where did that come from?"
Dish Wanderer
This rings as a warning for our present and future. A world where women are even less than worms.The " Cult of Masculinity" rules. Burdekin bravo for warning us. Every woman must read this.
This book makes 1984 look like the land of Shiny Happy People.
Pat Schakelvoort
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, interbellum
Feminist nazi dystopia written in 1937 about women only kept for breeding

Sometimes it feels like it gives out the message that the worst about the nazis is their view on women. If it wasn't for the story itself where a nazi finds out about a book proofing even Hitler wasn't that sexist.

It does have bit of a "lack of women turns men into homosexuals"-vibe, puts an emphasis on German chauvinism instead of nazi racial theories but also gives a pro-family message.
Aurélien Thomas
Jul 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Burdekin tells of a chilling world hundred of years after the triumph of Nazism -where Europe is plunged into a new dark age, ruled by a brutal elite and, above all, where men are celebrated for their tough violence and women reduced to breeders. Indeed, here lies in fact its main interest: no matter how striking and clever such an alternate history is (the tabula rasa, the violence, Hitlerism having turned into a cult and, the whole society having collapsed to the level of that new feudal-like ...more
Alex Sarll
Goodness. Nazi victory is one of science fiction's mainstays, but this 1937 iteration is (one of?) the first. Still a possible future, rather than a nightmare alternate present - but Burdekin calls details like extermination of the Jews, which at that point wasn't even official policy yet. In some ways this is less a novel than a fable; in others it reminds me of a Socratic dialogue, except that no participant represents Truth fully - they are all plausible products of an unutterably fucked ...more
Edward Davies
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually enjoyed this book, with its bleak look at a future that could have happened if Hitler had won World War II. It’s amazing to read when you realise that this book was actually published before the war had even begun, so Burdekin not only comes up with a dystopian future based on a fiction but also predicts the war itself. The idea that Nazism moves its focus onto women once it has all but wiped out anyone else they deem unfit to be part of the so-called master race is a scary one as ...more
Morgan Dhu
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've long been meaning to read Katherine Burdekin's classic dystopia, Swastika Night, and given the political climate of the day, now seemed an appropriate time to finally get around to it. What makes Swastika Night stand out among the other anti-fascist dystopias of its era is the explicit connection that Burdekin makes between fascist ideology and what we would now call 'toxic masculinity.' As Daphne Patai notes in the Introduction to this Feminist Press edition:

"Though Burdekin’s feminist
Swastika Night is scary. It's scary because the alternate-history/dystopian future that Burdekin explores is one that could very much come to fruition, you only have to turn on the tv and listen to the way world leaders talk about gender equality, or look at rulings in criminal cases, to see the degradation of anyone who wasn't born a cis white man.

While Swastika Night does explore this concept, I did however find the writing to be lacking in several ways. For one, the plot was dry and not
3,5 stars.

Nothing much happens in this book except men sitting around talking about history and women and themselves. It is intriguing however. A world where everyone is ruled by the nazis or the Japanese, where Hitler is worshipped as an aryan god and where women live in cages like cattle and even the most enlightened man has trouble seeing how a woman could ever have a soul or contribute anything worthwhile into society or even be considered human. What really makes this interesting is that it
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel, I think it really says a lot about...a lot of things, i guess. Obviously this book says a lot about the patriarchy, as it was written by a woman and the back of the book describes the novel as “a dystopia where men rule the world”. But this novel also has a lot to say on the importance of history, of love, and of knowledge. I was surprised at the ending of the book, and didn’t like it so much, which is why i only gave the book 4/5 stars, but really it’s more like a ...more
Leo Robertson
Gotta love that cover!!

Fascinating to think now that this was written pre-World War II. Though it is world-buildily shallow, didactic, and loses pace significantly in the middle. The introduction in this book + available wikipedia summary is enough for anyone to get the gist.

I guess this book is an interesting yet horrific artefact of the past itself!
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
An influential predecessor of several 20th century dystopias: 1984, The Handmaid's Tale, Native Tongue among others. An eerily prescient tale of a world in which the Axis won WW2. Eerily presecient because it was written in 1937, before WW2 even started.
Kelly W.
Like many people, I’ve been panicky over this current political administration and have turned to literature – if not to make me feel better, at least to make something feel eerily familiar. While George Orwell’s 1984 and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale have been popular picks as of late, I opted for Katharine Burdekin’s Swastika Night. It has a lot of things I generally look out for in literature: forbidden books/books with secret knowledge, rebellious characters that defy an obviously ...more
Ana Yarí
It's more like a 4.5. I keep trying to figure out exactly why I liked this book so much. There's very little of a standard idea of a plot; the bulk of the drama takes place in the past, when a character reveals to our main characters the truth about how their world came to be. Character development is also not deep or thorough. But, despite its flaws and the subject matter, I found myself enthralled by this book.

Swastika Night takes place about 500 years after World War II and the Nazis have
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It says Murray Constantine on the cover but it’s sort of an open secret that Constantine was a pseudonym of Katherine Burdekin, so I have to wonder why Gollancz chose to use the pseudonym on the SF Masterwork edition. I mean, no one remembers either name these days, so it makes no fucking difference. Use her real name, make it obvious the writer was female. Anyway, the story is set 700 years after the Axis won WWII, and and Europe is all Greater Germany. People – well, men… as women are ...more
Peter Dunn
This purchase reminded me of the importance and power of actual bookshops as part of our book buying experience. I would never have read this book if I had not fallen on it by accident while browsing the science fiction shelves of an actual shop.

My first reaction was: what the heck is this book that I have never heard of, with such a title, and such a cover, doing be reprinted in the SF Masterwork’s series? Then I read the blurb on the back. A future 700 years hence where the Nazi’s rule half
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
A lot of talk, a lot of interesting ideas, not a lot of action. Look elsewhere for excitement because this book is not about that. Instead, this is a world where nothing exciting happens because deviations from normal have almost been bred out of the species.

In a future, hundreds of years after Hitler won the war and conquered most of the world (the Japanese got the other half), there is no technological advancement, no science, no exploration, no new ideas, no writing, no new music, no
David Nelson
Jul 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
For starters: I abandoned this book. It was written for polemic reasons (like most Ayn Rand, for example) and it shows: Characters that aren't even characters, tedious situations, *very* long diatribes. It's basically unreadable.

But it's also kind of fascinating, and for many academics worth chasing down a copy: It was written by a British woman (using a male Pseudonym) in the mid-1930s and is about a far future that is ruled by an all-male, homo-social-to-sexual hegemony. What most interests me
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have a sort of ranking system for dystopian sci-fi novel that runs from Anthem by Ayn Rand at the bottom up to 1984 at the top. This one is pretty well up near the top. It's a view of life hundreds of years in the future after a Nazi victory in the "twenty year war". Germany and Japan have divided the world between them, each with their own social order based largely on ignorance of the past. Women's place in these societies is more or less on a par with an animal - and not even an animal ...more
Jennie Walter
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • One
  • The Big Lie
  • Saint Peter's Snow
  • La condición animal
  • The Rising of Bella Casey
  • The Iron Heel
  • Untouchable
  • The Red Laugh
  • Las madres negras
  • Barbarın Kahkahası
  • Gulyabani
  • The Long Tomorrow
  • The Book of Skulls
  • Evrak Kürek: Sektörden Arkadaşlara Giriş 101
  • When the Sleeper Wakes
  • The Driver's Seat
  • Validate Me
  • The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell's "1984"
See similar books…
Katharine Burdekin was a British novelist who wrote speculative fiction dealing with political, social, and spiritual issues. She was the sister of Rowena Cade, creator of the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. Many of her novels could be categorized as feminist utopian/dystopian fiction. She also wrote under the name Kay Burdekin and under the pseudonym Murray Constantine. Daphne Patai unraveled "Murray ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Almanlar ,kalplerinizi taşlaştırın.Kalplerinizi her şeye karşı ,ama en çok da kadınların gözyaşlarına karşı taşlaştırın.Bir kadının ruhu yoktur ve bu yüzden de acı çekemez.Onun gözyaşları sahtedir,aldatmacadır.” 3 likes
“Hitler Tanrı'ysa,ben de Tanrı'yım.Ama ikimizin de Tanrı falan olmadığını düşünmek daha mantıklı tabii.Ve daha makul” 1 likes
More quotes…