In the Presence of Mine Enemies

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Overview

In the twenty-first century, Germany's Third Reich continues to thrive after its victory in World War II-keeping most of Europe and North America under its heel. But within the heart of the Nazi regime, a secret lives. Under a perfect Aryan facade, Jews survive-living their lives, raising their families, and fearing discovery...

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In the Presence of Mine Enemies

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Overview

In the twenty-first century, Germany's Third Reich continues to thrive after its victory in World War II-keeping most of Europe and North America under its heel. But within the heart of the Nazi regime, a secret lives. Under a perfect Aryan facade, Jews survive-living their lives, raising their families, and fearing discovery...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Harry Turtledove, the master of the alternate history, asks a fascinating question in this novel: What if Nazi Germany won World War II and ruled over most of Europe and North America well into the 21st century?

Heinrich Gimpel is a mid-level government worker living in Berlin with his wife, Lise, and their three children. Life is good for Heinrich and his family, who are living in the capital of a world-spanning Third Reich, the heart of the Nazi regime. And life will remain good so long as no one discovers that they're Jews.

Thus far, Heinrich and his wife have been model citizens and have stayed out of trouble; but as the political landscape of the Third Reich dramatically changes when a new Führer comes to power, their safety is put in jeopardy. As revolutionary reforms begin polarizing the populace, Heinrich tries to fend off the advances of his best friend's wife, with disastrous results.

Although In the Presence of Mine Enemies is decidedly more cerebral than Turtledove's popular alternate history Great War and Worldwar sagas, it is by no means lacking in excitement. The last few chapters of this novel are as action-packed and emotionally charged as any in recent memory. With dozens of major characters set against an incredibly well researched historical background, In the Presence of Mine Enemies is another Turtledove classic. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
Despite its intriguing alternative premise, Turtledove's lengthy tale of Berlin's Jews hiding in the open long after the Nazis defeated all their WWII enemies plods along in a series of vignettes told from the viewpoints of six different Jewish characters passing as "good Germans": Wehrmacht analyst Heinrich Gimpel, his wife, Lise, and their precocious 10-year-old daughter, Alicia; medieval English scholar Susanna Weiss; and physician's receptionist Esther Stutzman and her husband, Walther, whose computer expertise has helped many Berlin Jews shed their "unclean" ancestry. But as the Gimpels and their friends struggle to keep their secret culture alive, all around them chinks are appearing in the very foundations of the Reich, starting with the death of Hitler's second successor and the selection of a progressive new Fuhrer. Tepid characterizations, clumsy plot devices, interminable bridge sessions between the Gimpels and their Aryan friends, even some dialogue seemingly better suited to a drawling John Wayne than a Wehrmacht panzer commander (who defies the SS with "you're going to be mighty sorry"), all dilute the author's message of hope for these downtrodden remnants of the Chosen People. Closing on a curiously inconclusive note-or is it a lead-in to an equally ponderous sequel?-this account of an unlikely political thaw dribbles off into a puddle of clich s, sentiment and unconvincing coincidence. (Nov. 4) Forecast: The prolific Turtledove can't produce a winner like last year's Ruled Britannia, about Spanish-occupied Elizabethan England, every time. On the other hand, Steve Stone's striking jacket art, which features a clunky classical building that Albert Speer might have designed, with Nazi banners in front and satellite dishes on the roof, is sure to draw curious browsers. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
This masterful alternate history offers a near-future world split between the Third Reich and the Empire of Japan. Jews, gypsies, Negroes, and other "subhumans" have been exterminated—or have they? Heinrich Gimpel is a modest bureaucrat at the Wehrmacht headquarters in Berlin and an accountant who oversees the collection of tribute from the North American client states. Gimpel lives a seemingly normal life, but he hides a deadly secret—he and his family are covert Jews. On the surface, he reacts to a new Führer's loosening of the reins of power as any other German bourgeois might—but underneath, he allows himself to hope. Friends are endangered when their second child develops Tay-Sachs. Gimpel is threatened when a coworker's Aryan wife accuses him of being a Jew as revenge—then attempts suicide when his daughters are arrested as mischlings. But the younger children have never been told that they are Jews, and the eldest stands firm in her outraged denials, so eventually the family is released. The SS attempt a coup against the new Führer and his "liberal" policies, but Heinrich "mans the barricades" with his army coworkers, and defeats them. The story is told from several viewpoints—Gimpel's, his ten-year-old daughter Alicia's, his sister-in-law and professor of Middle-English Susanna, and other covert Jews. Its quick pace involves the reader, but the subtle variations on the world encourage consideration of root causes. Possibly Turtledove's strongest contribution to alternate history to date, this novel is highly recommended for senior high libraries. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High,defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2003, NAL, 454p., Ages 15 to Adult.
—Marsha Valance
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451459596
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 563,743
  • Product dimensions: 4.48 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 1.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry Turtledove—the New York Times bestselling author of numerous alternate history novels, including The Guns of the South, How Few Remain, and the Worldwar quartet—has a Ph.D. in Byzantine history. Nominated numerous times for the Nebula Award, he has won the Hugo, Sidewise, and John Esthen Cook Awards. He lives with his wife and children in California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 3, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommend this Book for it's What If Idea

    Turtledove is a master at Writing, I choose not to give any details about the plot cause it would spoil the fun in reading it. But highly recommend this what if Scenario is in my opinion

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    Great concept.. but

    I loved reading Harry Turtledoves Timeline 191 Series regarding the alternative history of the US from civil war to the end of WW2 era... so I thought that "In the Presence of Mine Enemies" would be as enjoyable. The idea is interesting. The US does not enter WW2 and Germany essentially overtakes all over Europe and eventually most of the world, bringing their Aryans Only policies with them. What remains is a small group of Jews living as Gentiles in the main stream of life in modern day Nazi Germany. We get a good feel for the terror they live with every day as well as their endeavors to remain free from suspicion by embracing the very policies and ideals that destroyed the culture they try to preserve. While the subject is fascinating, the characters are less than that. They are in fact, regular people living under extraordinary circumstances. But unfortunately, Turtledove takes us thru endless scenes of two couples playing bridge. That and the plot lines regarding the lives of the children while necessary to the story, tend to drone on and become repetitive. Overall, I liked this book and the premises, but any Turtledove fan expecting as fun a ride as the Timeline series are, may be disappointed. I was genuinely disappointed when I finished the final book of that series because it was over. With this book... i couldn't wait to finish and get it behind me...

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Excellent book

    That draws parallels from the end of the Soviet Union. An excellent single book that I highly recommend.

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  • Posted August 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an excellent book!

    This book is an alternate history whose premise is that the Nazis won World War II and continued to exist up until today. The main characters are hidden Jews. I have virtually nothing at all against any part of this book. It's truly excellent, especially the happy ending. (Just before the book ends there's a really exciting coup and "people's revolution" like what happened in Russia with Gorbachev and Yeltsin some years back). My favorite part was when the ordinary Germans are using anti-semitic slogans to fight the head of the Gestapo! It was highly ironic and thrilling at the same time.
    To sum up, you won't regret the money and time spent if you buy and read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2005

    Turltedove let me down

    While I have been a huge fan of Harry Turtledove, lately his works have become rather stale, and 'In the Presence of Mine Enemies' is another example. While you can read a plot introduction from the publisher and critics, I can sum it up in a very few words. 'We are Jews and we must hide,' encapsulates the entire novel. It seems as if every page has to have at least one variation of this idea, and it becomes a tiresome effort to continue. Only towards the end does the author offer something besides this belabored idea, and even then the ending is rather anti-climactic. Sorry Mr. Turtledove, but I used to pick up your novels without even reading the covers just because you wrote them. I am very hesitant to purchase any now, and that is sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2003

    One of Turtledove's best

    What an enjoyable read. I could not put the book down. Turtledove fans will enjoy hunting for the symbols from the past and contemporary references. I look forward to reading about the further adventures of Henrich, Lise, Willi, and Susanna. Plus, the little girls are absolutely precious.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2003

    The Nazis win WW II

    The Germans won World War III using nuclear bombs to wipe out a third of the population of the United States. The borders of the Germanic Empire include England, Russia all the way to the Urals and India. The armies of the victorious German Empire occupy the U.S., France and Canada. Most Jews and Blacks have been put to death, making the empire and the countries it occupies racially pure. The Germans believe that all the Jews and Gypsies were destroyed in the camps but in the heart of the capital, a small cell of Jews hides their religion from the public at large. <P>The Nazi Party led by the SS stormtroopers have kept the country in a grip of repression for over two decades. The newly appointed Fuhrer Heinz Buckhagen calls for radical reforms. He wants free elections in the conquered and occupied countries as well as Germany. He strongly feels that Germany must become self-supporting instead of looting the treasures of the losers to keep the country in the black. The people, particularly the Jews, wait with baited breath to see how far he will take his reforms and if his enemies will stop him. <P>The question of what would happen if Germany won W.W.II is answered very satisfactorily IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES. Hearts will go out to the German Jews who live their lives in fear of being discovered and put to death by the SS. HARRY TURTLEDOVE, the master of alternate history, has written a sweeping saga of a world where the Fascists won and to the victors go the spoils. <P>Harriet Klausner

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    Posted January 9, 2010

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