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Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  229 ratings  ·  53 reviews

“[Hitler in Los Angeles] is part thriller and all chiller, about how close the California Reich came to succeeding” (Los Angeles Times).

No American city was more important to the Nazis than Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, the greatest propaganda machine in the world. The Nazis plotted to kill the city's Jews and to sabotage the nation'
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published October 24th 2017)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  229 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Jon Boorstin
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: los-angeles
Before WWII, before Hitler was seen as our enemy, winning over Los Angeles was vital to his plans for gaining influence in America – it’s port, it’s airplane factories, and most of all Hollywood, megaphone to the world. Anti-semitism was a fact of life here, embraced by many, and the Nazis were trying to exploit it as a path to power, as they did so effectively in Germany. The FBI wasn’t interested, already obsessed with hunting Communists, and the LAPD had strong fascist sympathies. Who would s ...more
Shae McDaniel
Sorry, I need to just sit and stare at a wall in unblinking horror for the next few hours. Holy crow. Mr. Ross does an incredible job of detailing just how close we came on multiple occasions to utter disaster only to be saved by the dogged persistence of an amateur spy ring run by a Jewish lawyer. Leon Lewis and his crew are heroes, full stop.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and chilling. I had no idea that Nazi operatives were so active in America and LA in particular. Let's all be thankful for brave people like Leon Lewis and his spy ring. I listened to the audio book of this, which I wouldn't particularly recommend. The reader always had a sinister tone, which was sometimes appropriate, sometimes just odd.
Note: I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

I wanted to like this, I really did. I'm a big history buff, and this particular era of American/world history has always fascinated me. This, however, really sort of let me down. The subject was fascinating, but the execution just didn't really do much for me. It read more like a long, tedious history book a lot of the time and I found myself getting easily distracted by other things. I'm not a quitter, I rare
Maggie Anton
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish
As a LA native and current resident, I found Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America fascinating. I knew that Glendale had been headquarters for American Nazi Party but all the rest was new. It was scary to see how much antisemitism there was, both locally and in the US, before WW2. Scary as well to see the parallels to today's rise of white nationalism. It was also sad to read how the Jewish-led movie industry put profits over alerting people to the dange ...more
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I love history especially about World War II and the Nazi regime....shocking how close to home this stuff was....but a great read...just a lot of names to keep track of.
Natalie L.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story. Leon Lewis, the man who planned and implemented the dismantling of the Nazi ring here in the USA, is a true unsung hero.
This was an interesting bit of history that I didn't know much about. It seems like these sorts of radical counter-culture groups are an ever-present background noise - generally with more bark than bite (though not with no bite) - but in this case they seem to have at least had some degree of backing from the Nazi government, which makes their "let's dress up and play army" games take on a lot more of a sinister tone.

I am somewhat cynical about the extent to which many counterfactual overthrow
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the best writing in the world but the story is fascinating.
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, history
From a 21st century vantage point, the moral struggles of the Second World War and the fight against Hitler seem obvious. He was a genocidal madman, all good people joined in opposing him. For those living at the time, it was far from simple. In 1933, Hitler was an authoritarian and eccentric European ruler. Anti-Semitism was mainstream. German-Americans were the single largest European ethnic group. A shifting alliance of native-born American fascist groups like the Silver Shirts, German-Americ ...more
Marcella Wigg
American sympathies towards Nazism in the years preceding Pearl Harbor are chronically under-covered in high school history classes, so while I was familiar with the fact that far more Americans had antisemitic attitudes and sympathized with the then-rising German regime in the 1930s, the sheer number of prominent Nazi sympathizers in the Los Angeles area alone is pretty interesting to read about. And despite the Nazi-sympathetic isolationists' claims that Jews were cowardly and unwilling to sta ...more
Donald Luther
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most who are familiar with American history leading up to World War II know about America First and, possibly, the Silver Shirts. But there is an impression that those groups simply disappeared after Pearl Harbor and that, even during their peak periods, they were fringe groups without much influence and with a small membership. This is a very thorough chronicling of the very large number of Nazi-supported, anti-Semitic organisations that sprouted up in southern California during the 1930s and e ...more
Evelyn Switzer
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well researched and powerful book.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, judaica
This reads like a thriller, all the more amazing because it’s based on true events. It’s hard to believe that the Nazi threat wasn’t taken seriously in the 1930s, in fact, Hitler had widespread support and the German government could exercise tremendous influence in Hollywood. A handful of Jewish activists, many of whom were WWI veterans, banded together with other veterans and supporters to expose the Nazi threat.

Densely packed with facts and figures, it’s a cautionary tale that’s sadly timele
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patriot Anti-Nazis in LA

An historical account of the undercover work of anti-nazi patriots in LA to subvert and inform on nazi agents and sympathizers in the Southern California area. Well written, fast-paced, wonderfully narrated, and inspiring.
Elise Libnic
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reads like a spy thriller and exposes a hidden and dark chapter inn the history of Los Angeles. Highly recommend.
Joshua Cheifetz
Very interesting story that I did not know. Glad that I read. However, extremely detailed and reads more like a history textbook than a novel.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I came across Steven Ross' book, "Hitler in Los Angeles". I was pretty sure Hitler never visited Los Angeles, so was curious about the title and subject. While Hitler may not have visited L.S., Ross writes about Hitler's many supporters in America in the late 1930's and early 1940's. Anti-Semitic attitudes weren't rare in the United States during this period, but those attitudes seemed to be increasing among many German-Americans and pro-Nazi groups during ...more
Rob Kitchin
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prior the Second World War the Nazis targeted Los Angeles and Hollywood due to its strong military-industrial complex (especially Navy and aircraft production) and the propaganda power of the movies produced. As well as the German consul vetting movie production across studios with the threat of banning all films from the lucrative German market, they also set up spy networks, encouraged those of German descent to oppose America entering any future European war, and helped organize and fund pro- ...more
Umar Lee
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an important read for three reasons. The book details how the Nazis feared the influence of Hollywood and used their financial power to curtail films they saw as negative to their image. On multiple ocassions the Hitler regime was successful in stopping films from being made and distributed. There are regimes today (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India and China to name a few) using similar methods. Nazi Germany also financially supported their American supporters.

The book also discusses the pla
Hal Issen
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who gets their news from Fox
A very important book for our time; this is the part of history leading up to WW II I never learned. The most important reason to read this book is to see historical precedent that the USA certainly has the capacity to become a fascist state. Basically, there were large-scale organizations of white nationalists organized in Los Angles, that a foreign fascist government actively added and encouraged to in order to influence USA's foreign policy - sound familiar? Ordinarily I would give this book ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
As a resident of Los Angeles, I have never spent much time considering what the political environment in Los Angeles (or any American city) was like during the rise of Hitlerism and through the advent of the Second World War. Wasn’t LA then just like it is now, but without television? Well, no. There were active Hitler support groups, rife with spies, ready to kill the American Jewish propagandists who ran the Hollywood Studios, the actors and fellow travelers who assisted them, and a wide varie ...more
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was initially intrigued by this book as I thought it would deal mostly with the German Government's relationship with the American Film Industry. Boy was I wrong! It is an in depth expose' of the German American Bund,Friends of New Germany and the German Government's activity on the West Coast and the men who kept eye on them. It turns out that California was the 2nd largest center for German prewar spying. Initially, it was only through the efforts of Leon Lewis, a Jewish Attorney, that kept ...more
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing was a bit dense, and it was easy to get lost among all the organizations and people's names that Ross feels it necessary to include. However, the topic is fascinating, and I had no idea there was such a level of Nazi infiltration into US institutions in the 1930s. I knew the government had been focused on Communism as the enemy, but it was frightening how that emphasis permitted them to ignore the Fascist threat that it took this small group of valiant spies to expose. And the anti-S ...more
Benjamin Stahl
Published in 2017, I have little doubt what kind of audience this book was targeting, but that does not remove from the fact that (actual) Nazism was a great threat during the third and fourth decade of the last century. I had no idea how rampant this poisonous ideology had become in America prior to the outbreak of war. Much like B.A. Santamaria's memoir dealing with Communists infiltrating the Australian Labour Party during the Cold War, this book offers much surprising evidence that the polit ...more
Did you know of Hitler’s plan to occupy and control the United States, beginning with the takeover of Hollywood for use Nazi in propaganda?

Did you know of the numerous hate groups in the U.S. urged on by the bigoted likes of Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh?

Do you know who Leon Lewis and his associate Joseph Roos are? Are they on your list of people to admire?

If not, read this book. It’s eye-opening to a part of the war that I was never taught in school. It even tells you the rest of the story o
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“...when a government fails to stem the rise of extremists bent on violence, it is up to every citizen to protect the lives of every American, no matter their race or religion.”

This book documents the history of Nazism and anti-Semitism in Los Angeles and beyond. Had Lewis and Roos not acted as they did in coordinating the undercover actions of people determined to show the true goals of the Nazi party in U.S. before and during WWII, the atrocities that occurred in Europe would have been duplica
Andy Newton
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To call this story incredible would ultimately be a disservice, as we’ve clearly seen the continuing legacy of white supremacy in this country and the pernicious effects of our government and law enforcement agencies not taking it seriously. In this well-researched book, Ross weaves a fascinating and inspiring tale that illustrates what a few ordinary citizens can accomplish with determination, courage, and an aptitude for filing systems.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting history. It puts into context for me the internment of my German grandfather during WWII. He thought he was a US citizen due to previous US military service, so after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he tried to reenlist. He lived in southern California at the time. He was arrested and then interned for the entire war and was rather bitter about it. Was the dragnet too wide? Hard to say. His whole family thinks he was innocent of Nazi motives, though.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Loved it, I grew up in Southern CA so many of the references were strangely familiar. I had no idea the Nazi's were so active in Los Angeles at the dawn of WWII and that a number of Americans were actually sympathetic to their cause. While sometimes a little repetitive, overall, it was more thrilling than not. Educational from a historical perspective and inspiring because of the courage of so many unsung heroes.
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