A Perfect Madness

A Perfect Madness

4.5 90
by Frank H. Marsh

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It is the autumn of 1938 when Julia Kaufmann meets Erich Schmidt while studying medicine at the German University in Prague. With Hitler’s army soon to invade the city and the terror of World War II looming, it is the worst of times for a Jew and a German to fall in love. As the excitement of the eugenics movement gives way to outright genocide, and the fear


It is the autumn of 1938 when Julia Kaufmann meets Erich Schmidt while studying medicine at the German University in Prague. With Hitler’s army soon to invade the city and the terror of World War II looming, it is the worst of times for a Jew and a German to fall in love. As the excitement of the eugenics movement gives way to outright genocide, and the fear sweeping across Europe grows into madness, Julia and Erich find themselves forced to travel two very different paths—ones which will determine the fate of their love and, ultimately, the fate of their souls.

A Perfect Madness takes us on a journey back to a dark time when the fight for survival often eclipsed the fight for the truth. Beautifully and provocatively written, it examines the crippling effects of fear on the human mind, asking painful questions of moral choice we cannot afford to leave unanswered.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A novel of love, betrayal and ideology during the horrors of World War II. In this dense saga, Marsh (Rebekka's Children, 2009) weaves the love story of two college students in Prague whose union is as unlikely as it is unwelcome. In 1938, Julia Kaufmann, a Jew from Prague, and Erich Schmidt, a German, nevertheless pursue their affair even after being warned away from each other in the turbulent times before the second world war. Julia's family, who initially disapproves of her choice, soon comes to love and respect Erich. But the war intrudes on the budding romance, and Julia and her brother escape to England while Erich returns to Germany. His father, a prominent medical doctor with considerable influence in the Nazi regime, arranges for his son to work at a hospital, shielding him from the obligation to become a soldier. As the war progresses, their paths continue to diverge. Julia becomes an agent in the resistance movement, and Erich's hospital responsibilities intertwine with medical eugenics and euthanasia, progressing slowly from incurably disfigured children to the mentally unfit to a horrible culmination. Throughout their wartime experiences, both Julia and Erich cling to the idea that they will reunite and continue their lives together. Marsh thoroughly explores the shades of gray that can exist in wartime. Erich is a sympathetic character, yet his role in the war seems largely the result of his innate passivity--"stay silent to survive"--which is in stark contrast to Julia's developing courage. Despite the horrors surrounding them, many of the characters observe the beauty of the natural world, and Marsh's sensory descriptions, especially of sights and smells, enrich the story. The writing is eloquent, but not always economical--tangential, philosophical and at times dreamlike elements slow the pace. Perhaps that is Marsh's intention. Although the conclusion is not a surprise, it shouldn't diminish the story's lingering impression. Patient readers will be rewarded with a contemplative story that will likely inspire further discourse.

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Brandylane Publishers
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Meet the Author

Frank Marsh was a trial attorney for twenty-five years and then a university professor of philosophy, law, and bioethics. He has published six books in bioethics, numerous articles, and scripted documentaries dealing with medicine, genetics, and law. He is also the author of the novel Rebekka’s Children.

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A Perfect Madness 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 90 reviews.
ForeverTexan More than 1 year ago
Frank Marsh takes the reader on a thought-provoking exploration of his characters as they are drawn into events that challenge their integrity and threaten their survival. While telling a tale of forbidden love, the novel also addresses the effects of fear and desperation on personal choices and the sense of right and wrong. A Perfect Madness is a moving and well-written novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book did for me what history books and others have not. It made the story of how such atrocities could have happened and how life could have coexisted during their execution real. Thank you to Mr. Marsh for a wonderful story that held my attention as it unveiled the very minds and hearts of those who lived WWII. It will remain with me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book provided a different look at WWII. It was a fast and fascinating read; studying the effects of the horrors of war on one's character and sanity. I found myself feeling compassion for Erich one minute, then getting angry at him the next. Survival brings about many emotions and great turmoil. If I had to find fault in this book it would be in the lesser telling of Julia's experiences. Although less time was spent with this character, the reader is still given great insight into her "adventures" as well. The more I read, I wondered how this story would end. No disappointment there; it was a most appropriate conclusion for this type of novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will most likely read more of this author.
the_curious_reader More than 1 year ago
Well-crafted, thoughtful novel about WW2, the Holocaust, and the Resistance. Takes you from the present to the past and back to the present again in a compelling story with memorable characters who quickly become real people in your mind and emotions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best free book I have ever downloa,ded. It's not a light read. If you like history, especially WWII, you will LOVE this book. I would have paid to read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Strong. Powerful. Having read hundreds of books (fiction and non-fiction) on WWII, specifically Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, "A Perfect Madness" ranks up there with the best. Marsh brings a perspective to the Holocaust, the probability of having seldom been broached. Congratulations, Mr. Marsh, on a good book.
Wilkinson122 More than 1 year ago
Excellent Book. I recommend this as a must read for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cannot say enough good things about this novel. Well written, informative, thought provoking. A must read for anyone who enjoys history, or a good yarn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. It truely was perfect madness. Taking you through the minds if the tortured and tortuers during hitlers reign.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of WWII/Holocaust memoirs and fiction, but this one is absolutely worth the read. Different and haunting, going into the pseudoscience of eugenics in America and Germany that led further to concentration camps.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful read. I thought it was well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many books on this subgect but never from a Nazi's point of veiw this way.Eric puts a new look from those just forced into killing. We all have choices yet are we strong enough to fight for whats right. Reading this books makes me wonder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book. It kept me in suspense
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a well written story without long winded superfluous paragraphs that tend to flag interest Any account of this period is important to remind us of man's weakness for cruelty when faced with his own survival
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been worried about a possible WWIII with the Russians invading the Ukraine. Reading this noval based on factural events, has me pondering if I could be strong enough to stand up to a moral compass, and could I go through what the Jews & others went through in order to eke out a living in a war torn world. The book has been well written and organized. Using Google Images truly brought it deeper into my soul. So tragic and gut-wrenching!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't really know what to say about this book aside from the fact that it was absolutely amazing. I could not put it down because i got so drawn in and so attached to the stories of the characters. It was very thought provoking and left you with an entirely new perspective about how such atrocities could occur. I highly reccomend this, and i will be reading it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a tremendous book. It drew you into a past filled with horror. At times i had to stop reading because it was so intense. Having an uncle who liberated a death camp and brought back pictures he himself took made this seem all the more real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel has been the best free book I have read and I have read a lot of free books! Perfect Madness is a well written, thought provoking look into the minds and souls of those affected by the madness of Nazi Germany. Heart wrenching from beginning to end. Well done Mr. Marsh, I will definitely be reading more of your works.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderfuly nuanced treatment of the otherwise unimaginable horror and, indeed, perfect madness of Nazi inhumanity. Would make a powerful required supplemental reading to more purely historical materials for any class dealing with the Holocaust and Jewish persecution.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who can pass up the combination of "Strongly Recommended" and free? A very thought-provoking read, indeed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I come from Czech heritage and this is the setting for this book.I am a Christian and the characters in this story are Jewish. That is the only difference. I was horrified to find my fathers people would persecute a sect because of their belief. My heart broke while reading this story. I realize this happened in most parts of eastern Europe but this story particularly touched me as a human being. We are all GOD'S children no matter what we like or what we believe.Pity the German character. He paid dearly because he did not follow his convictions. Loved the book. PS Dad told me stories about the gypsies that I was fascinated to by.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A thought provoking look at how war can change a person's ideals stripping away their humanity one layer at a time. How the mind can rationalize even the worst evil deeds when death is feared more than losing your soul. And when faced with the same horrors and devastation some stand courageous holding on to their ideals chosing death rather sacrificing their humanity. A very good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down, the 709 pages, flew by. More than a love story, a history of WWII somewhat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. At times i wanted to cry but others i found very enlightening. Page turner and loved how everything comes together at the end. Its a omg kind of book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a very accurate portrayal of WWII. If you enjoy historical fiction you will love this. Be prepared for a heavy read and gut wrenching decisions made by the characters.