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Fatherland

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  35,081 ratings  ·  2,034 reviews
It is twenty years after Nazi Germany's triumphant victory in World War II and the entire country is preparing for the grand celebration of the Führer's seventy-fifth birthday, as well as the imminent peacemaking visit from President Kennedy.

Meanwhile, Berlin Detective Xavier March -- a disillusioned but talented investigation of a corpse washed up on the shore of a lake.
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Paperback, 380 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by HarperTorch (first published May 26th 1992)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  35,081 ratings  ·  2,034 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. Ke
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Glenn Russell
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing


Fatherland, by Robert Harris, a 1992 novel of alternate history conceived as: "What might have happened if the Nazis won World War II?" Set in 1964 Berlin, all the novel's characters are sharply drawn and passionately motivated in decidedly political directions. The author has done his research and knows the Nazi world inside out, sticking with a number of actual high-ranking Nazis such as Reinhard Heydrich and Wilhelm Stuckart imaginatively projected into his fictional Germany. Other Nazis in t
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Sean Barrs
“What do you do,’ he said, ‘if you devote your life to discovering criminals, and it gradually occurs to you that the real criminals are the people you work for?

Fartherland offers a dismaying vision of what could have been. If the Nazis had won world war two, if their power had continued to spread, they would have owned half the world perhaps even all of it if they conquered at the speed they demonstrated in the 1930s. Their momentum was near unbelievable. The world would be in a terrible s
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Steven Godin
I am sure it's a question that's been pondered on by countless many, just what if Hitler had really won the war? or even worse taken over the planet. Would we be in a state of total autocracy?, would Companies like Amazon and Microsoft be run by the Third Reich?, would the gestapo be snooping on emails?. Or the flip side to that, what if no war at all?, what if Hitler, Himmler, Bormann and Goebbels were pacifist jazz musicians and started a quartet?, what if Mr and Mrs Hitler senior moved to the ...more
Will Byrnes
It is the 1960’s in Berlin. American President and Nazi sympathizer Joseph Kennedy has at long last agreed to meet with the Fuehrer. Fatherland presents an alternate history in which Germany won WW II, without taking out China or the United States. A Berlin detective is called to investigate a murder, sees connections among various disappearances and follows them despite interference from his superiors. He encounters a young American journalist who turns out to be key to the whole caper. What is ...more
Kemper
Sometimes it seems like every Tom, Phillip K. Dick, and Harry Turtledove wrote books that asked what would have happened if Hitler won the war.

It’s 1964 and Germany is preparing to celebrate Hitler’s 75th birthday. Police detective Xavier March is called in when a body is pulled out of a river, and he soon discovers that the dead man was a prominent member of the Nazi party. March’s investigation eventually leads him to secrets going back to the war that his government is desperate to keep buri
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Bill Lynas
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can you read a book too many times ? Well, I have to admit that this is the seventh time I've read Fatherland & I still thinks it's as fresh as when I first read it over twenty years ago. The story just seems to grip me from first page to last. Harris seamlessly blends fact & fiction as his thriller takes us through Berlin in 1964 in the week leading up to Adolf Hitler's 75th birthday. This alternative history is so believable without being cliched & the characters are as much of a focus as the ...more
abby
It's 1964 and Germany has reason to celebrate. Fuhrer Adolph Hitler 75th's birthday is on the horizon and the cold war with America is starting to thaw. President Kennedy-- Joseph P. Kennedy Sr, that is-- has planned a much-hyped visit to Berlin. Germany is the center of Europe, with "independent" satellite states like France and Britain to the west, and plenty of Lebensraum, living space, to the conquered east. Things are so good for the Aryan race, it's almost enough to forget about the attack ...more
Jason Verber
Mar 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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Kate Quinn
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A chilling alternate history that poses the question: what if Hitler won? A German investigator named March tries to solve a murder, but what really rivets the attention is the world he takes for granted. This is a world where the German Reich has swallowed France, England, and Russia, President Kennedy (Joe, not JFK) is meeting with Hitler to declare a pact between nations, and a typical personals ad in the newspaper reads "Pure Aryan doctor desires male progeny through marriage with healthy, A ...more
Dimitri
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy, fiction
Robert Harris never made me fall in love like this again*.
There are many books out there set in the universe of an Axis victory, but few capture its atmosphere so well: the suffocating conformism that indoctrinates the post-war generation, the casual cruelty of the regime's Praetorians, the ubiquitous double faces and hidden blemishes of the fanatics.

When March travels to Switzerland "from one prison into another" he pretty much sums up the mental state of the dissident in any dictatorship.


*Unt
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Jon Nakapalau
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As Hitler's 75th birthday approaches the murder of a man who has hidden ties to the top of the party is discovered. Detective Xavier March must now walk a tightrope over the chasm of state secrets as the Gestapo tries to cut the rope...having him fall may be the zugzwang the state wants to play.
Darwin8u
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
"A police state is a country run by criminals."
-Robert Harris, Fatherland

Nazi Noir + alternative historical fiction is an interesting mix of genres. It's my birthday and late, so I'll review this tomorrow. If Gestapo dreams don't get me. But for now, Robert Harris is definitely a guilty pleasure.
Henk
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid if somewhat template like thriller, with a lukewarm hero, to finish of the reading year
However this war may end, we have won the war against you; none of you will be left to bear witness, but even someone were to survive, the world would not believe him. There will perhaps be suspicions, discussions, research by historians, but there will be no certainties, because we will destroy the evidence together with you. And even if some proof should remain and some of you survive, people will sa
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Supratim
This book had been on my radar for quite some time and I finally got it from my library. It was a very enjoying read indeed.

The book presents an anternate history scenario where Hitler has won the Second World War and Eastern Europe has been conquered by the Nazis. The nations of Western Europe has been forced into a trading block and the German currency is accepeted all over continental Europe.

Hitler's birthday is approaching and people are getting ready to celebrate. A body has been discovered
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Michael O'Brien
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best alternate history novel I've read to date. In this alternate history, Nazi Germany basically has won the European theatre during WW2, capturing the Caucasus and its oil fields, cutting off the Soviet Union from its oil supplies; driving it back beyond the Urals; and utterly destroying Allied Forces during the D-Day invasion. Meanwhile, the United States has defeated Japan in the Pacific Theatre. The result: a Cold War --- except this one being between the USA and Third Reich, instead of ...more
Brandon
What if Hitler had won?

Author Robert Harris presents a world where Germany came out on top following WWII. Hitler remains as head of Germany’s Western European empire with several of his key associates like Joseph Goebbels and Reinhard Heydrich in positions of power.

Following Germany’s discovery of the cracking of the Enigma Code, the Reich cruised to victory over its enemies in Europe. The United States’ victory over Japan still ended with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but it was delay
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Inkspill
Two-Thirds in and the shock of the drama reverberates, no longer is detective story pedestrian for me, from here after I am gripped to the last page. The dramatic build-up of tension with days left for hero to solve crime or save his life did not work for me, maybe I’ve just read too many books. For me the plot is predictable and the character of Xavier March is dull to the discoveries he would unwittingly make.

Fatherland is set decades after Nazi Germany winning the Second World War, it’s an a
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Erin
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Its 1964 and its been 20 years since Nazi Germany's great victory in World War II. The entire country is preparing for the grand celebration of the Führer's 75 birthday as well as the imminent peacemaking visit from President Kennedy (not the one you're thinking of). Despite Hitler's decisive win in WW2 and Germany's "thriving" economy there are whispers about what really happened to Europe's Jewish population with some in parts of Europe & the U.S.A. suggesting that millions of Jewish
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Jill Hutchinson
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwi-wwii, fiction
Since history is so interesting I often wonder why I pick up a a"what if" book based on a mix of fact and fiction. But after seeing some good reviews on this book, I thought I would give it a chance and am glad that I did.

Basically the story is a police procedural but it is set in a Europe which is now under Nazi rule. It is set in 1964 and Europe is preparing to celebrate Hitler's 74th birthday. Xavier March is an officer in the Kripo, a police unit one step below the Gestapo and is called to t
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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
Dyuti
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Jean
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book, fiction
Fatherland is a speculative fiction. Harris has the Nazis winning World War II. Our protagonist is Xavier March, a policeman. He is investigating the murder of an old man who was once an important Nazi bureaucrat. The timeline of the story is 1964.

The book is well written and researched. I believe that Harris had George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” in mind when writing this story. Considering what is happening in the world today, I found this book most interesting. I also found it intriguing
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James
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert Harris' brilliantly thrilling and thought-provoking debut novel - set in a post WWII (1960's) alternative Germany; one where Nazi Germany had previously won the war. An excellent thriller set against a wonderfully imagined and evoked backdrop of a world that so very easily might have been...

The first of many excellent thrillers from the pen of Robert Harris, but this is where it all started.

Not to be missed.
Roopkumar Balachandran
I have to thank Leah for her beautiful review of Fatherland which piqued my interest in alternate history.

The story is police procedural and based on the alternate history, if German had won the Second World War, the protagonist Herr Sturmbannfuhrer Xavier March, homicide investigator with the Berlin Kriminalpolizei, he previously worked in Kriegsmarine during WWII, married to Klara had a son named Pili, after promoted to Berlin his marriage failed.

On April 14th 1964 he was called to investiga
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Andrew
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fatherland by Robert Harris, is a book of alternate history set in 1964 Germany. This is a Germany where the Nazi's won WWII, took large swathes of territory, reorganized Europe in their own image, and continue to fight Russian partisans in the Ural mountains. The book follows a German Kripo, Xavier March, who is called to inspect a dead body in a river in Berlin. The body is of one Josef Buhler, who was a member an administrator in the General Government region in WWII. Buhler is a top Nazi pol ...more
Kavita
Dec 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
The premise of Fatherland is interesting. I have been waiting for years to read this book because of it. It is set in a world where the Nazis have won Second World War and are now a major power base in the world. This leads to a LOT of intriguing speculations about how the world might have turned out. Sadly, the book does not even come close to the potential this theme offers.

Harris has done his research, but it's a very basic and narrow research. He knows how the Nazi system functioned but noth
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Grumpus
Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
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Richard
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
8.5/10

This turned into a gripping read and by the end I was well and truly absorbed in this alternative reality and “what if” scenario of Germany winning the war. Although, I’ve read two books recently where Germany won the war. I’m starting to doubt my knowledge now…did the Axis powers really win?!

It took a while to get going in this book, presumably because a lot of information was provided in this alternative reality and making the reader aware of the police state and nervousness of any non-c
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Susan
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this debut novel, by Robert Harris, when it was first released, in 1992, so it was interesting to go back and re-visit it over a quarter of a century later (has it really been so long?!). I recall that I read, “March Violets,” a few years earlier – Philip Kerr’s first Bernie Gunther novel was published in 1989, although there was a long gap between the original trilogy and Kerr’s taking up the character again. Robert Harris tends not to do series books so often, although he wrote hi ...more
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Reading the 20th ...: Fatherland by Robert Harris (March 2019) 64 35 Apr 04, 2019 10:49AM  
All About Fantasy!: Fatherland 1 5 Jul 02, 2017 11:40AM  
Dystopian Society: Fatherland by Robert Harris 2 19 Jul 06, 2016 08:28AM  

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ROBERT HARRIS is the author of nine best-selling novels: Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, The Ghost Writer, Conspirata, The Fear Index, and An Officer and a Spy. Several of his books have been adapted to film, most recently The Ghost Writer, directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. He lives in the village of Kintbury, England, with his ...more

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“What do you do,’ he said, ‘if you devote your life to discovering criminals, and it gradually occurs to you that the real criminals are the people you work for? What do you do when everyone tells you not to worry, you can’t do anything about it, it was a long time ago?’ She was looking at him in a different way. ‘I suppose you go crazy.’ ‘Or worse. Sane.” 9 likes
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