Waldheim and Austria

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bassett, former Vienna correspondent for the London Times , examines the Kurt Waldheim affair in light of the continuing denial by the Austrians of his complicity in Nazi war crimes. The author ventures to explain why so many of Waldheim's countrymen voted for the former United Nations secretary-general in the 1986 presidential election, and why Austrians reacted with either indifference or furious defensiveness to negative world opinion over the details of his wartime service. Bassett is harsh toward the Austrian people. Comparing them with ``demented sheep,'' he cites them for selfishness, greed, immaturity, pettiness, mental lassitude and their capacity for self-delusion. There is nothing shrill, however, in his devastating appraisal, and the book is elegantly written. In the end, after referring in passing to Waldheim's ``spinelessness,'' Bassett brings into focus the somber fact that the case against him was made in the main by Jewish organizations. Photos. (Jan.)
Library Journal
There is a dark side to Austriathat land of ``. . . sachertorte, Mozart and dirndls''and Bassett deftly explores it through juxtaposition of Kurt Waldheim's career with the history of post-imperial Austria. Neither standard biography, like Robert E. Herzstein's Waldheim: The Missing Years (LJ 6/15/88), nor conventional history, this slim, articulate work will be of great interest to a wide range of readers. The author is surely no Austrophobe; his five years as a Vienna-based journalist insure a certain empathy. Yet, in the end, one comes away convinced of Waldheim's complicity with the Nazis in Yugoslaviathat he was primarily a product of a unique Austrian environment, one that has not yet overcome its predilection for amnesia. For most libraries. Mark R. Yerburgh, Trinity Coll. Lib., Burlington, Vt.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140130195
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/1990
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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