A Postcard from the Volcano: A Novel of Pre-War Germany

A Postcard from the Volcano A Novel of Pre War Germany Beginning in and ending on the eve of World War II this epic story follows the coming of age and early manhood of the Prussian aristocrat Max von Hofmannswaldau From the idyllic surroundings of

  • Title: A Postcard from the Volcano: A Novel of Pre-War Germany
  • Author: Lucy Beckett
  • ISBN: 9781586172695
  • Page: 238
  • Format: Paperback
  • Beginning in 1914 and ending on the eve of World War II, this epic story follows the coming of age and early manhood of the Prussian aristocrat, Max von Hofmannswaldau From the idyllic surroundings of his ancestral home to the streets of cosmopolitan Breslau menaced by the Nazi SS, Hofmannswaldau uncovers the truth about his own identity and confronts the modern ideologieBeginning in 1914 and ending on the eve of World War II, this epic story follows the coming of age and early manhood of the Prussian aristocrat, Max von Hofmannswaldau From the idyllic surroundings of his ancestral home to the streets of cosmopolitan Breslau menaced by the Nazi SS, Hofmannswaldau uncovers the truth about his own identity and confronts the modern ideologies that threaten the annihilation of millions of people.A Postcard from the Volcano opens with the outbreak of World War I and the Prussian pride and patriotism that blind the noble von Hofmannswaldau family to the destruction that lies ahead for their country The well researched narrative follows the young count as he leaves home to finish his education and ends up a stranger in the land of his birth.Both intelligent and sensitive, Beckett s prose explores the complex philosophical and political questions that led Europe into a second world war, while never losing sight of a man whose life is shaped by his times A deeply moving historical novel that shows the horrific impact that two world wars had on whole countries, and how individuals struggled to deal with the incredible challenges presented by such devastation.

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      Published :2019-01-08T14:45:38+00:00

    1 thought on “A Postcard from the Volcano: A Novel of Pre-War Germany”

    1. This beautiful book has entered into my very difficult "top ten" favorite books. I am a huge reader, 1000s of books in my over 40 years of life. Oh, I did I love it! I savored every moment. I'll admit, I am very interested in the time period between WWI and WWII. I'm a Catholic and may have Jewish blood. So, I'm a little biased. Boy did this book speak to me. I love the story line, tears, tears, tears. I love the philosophy and history. Wow, I just loved this book. Really, the question is HOW DI [...]

    2. This book is quite similar to Brideshead revisited, with several important differences. The main one, that it happens in Germany, between the two wars, and ends when Hitler takes power. It follows the adventures of two friends, who pass through an atheistic phase and then convert to Catholicism, although in different ways. One of them, in fact, the main character, stops practicing until just near his death, like Lord Marchmain in Brideshead. By the way, this is not an spoiler, as it is stated in [...]

    3. This is an interesting historical book. Know before you read that much of it is about the philosophical and political questions that led Europe into the second World War. Many pages are filled also with religion, Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant. Much of it pretty deep. This is what dragged for me, the philosophy and politics. I much preferred the story line about the boys who grew up during these years, Max von Hofmannswaldau, the Prussian aristocrat and Adam Zapolski, the Polish count. Beginni [...]

    4. This is an important book because of its subject matter, the history of Germany between 1914 and 1934. We should always be aware of the State and its ability to overrun personal freedoms. It is easy to write this in the U.S but you never know when the political arena will change. Tyranny from the right or the left is always dangerous to human life and freedom. This is the lesson she teaches. I only gave this book three stars because, although I connected with the characters, I think the author s [...]

    5. This novel is a deeply philosophical one, in that there are long discussions of politics, philosophy, religion, and such. But the patient reader will be rewarded, as the discussions in the crumbling Weimar Republic of the 1920s and 1930s resonate all too frighteningly to political events in the year 2017.

    6. I am not certain where to begin! I have been most fortunate to know so many individuals who enriched my life, individuals who came to America as refugees from Hitler or Stalin. While they all were proud to be American citizens, I knew in their heart of hearts their hearts and minds were elsewhere - at a place and in a time long gone. Most had benefited from what we today call a "Prussian education" in the liberal arts: Greek and Latin, philosophy, literature, and history. They are all now long g [...]

    7. I just fell into this book. My grandparents grew up in this time period, and in fact were kicked out of Germany in 1937 because they refused to vote for Hitler or support the regime, or give up their Jewish friends. If they and their friends hadn't had Americans visiting, at a time when the regime wasn't keen to have their tactics broadcast, they might not have been lucky enough to be merely kicked out. So a lot of this narrative sounded familiar in a haunting way, due to their stories. It truly [...]

    8. I actually read this book a couple of years ago, but I feel compelled to recommend it to others. It is a very literary work that deals with the great themes of life: human dignity, depravity, despair, sacrifice, and redemption. Keenly capturing a sense of the times in which it is set, as well as the prevailing philosophies of the day, the reader gets to know and care about characters whose lives move relentlessly toward their historical destinies.

    9. This book provided all sorts of insights into how Hitler was able to take over Germany and manage to convince people that their friends and neighbors--honest, hard-working Jews, Gays, and other people "in the way"--were the enemy, and how decent Germans were powerless to stop him. It is cleverly told as a coming of age novel as a young German count grapples with his classical education and the new philosophies and discoveries he encounters. One of those books that I wish had gone on

    10. My first Lucy Beckett, and I was completely absorbed. It came close, too, because my parents were German Jews, completely assimilated, and who escaped with their lives by the grace of God. They converted to Christianity, and some of Adam's struggle in this story is similar to what I heard from my parents. I'm not quite finished, but I don't want it to end.

    11. DisappointingVery slow moving and each conversation between characters seemed to last for page after pageI didn't have the will to finish it

    12. When reading historical novels like this, I've found they take a while to pay off. This can go one of two ways: one, you keep waiting for things to get interesting, and they don't, but you have enough of the book read to keep telling yourself there might be a really great ending, and you finally turn the last page to find that there's nothing more to read. Two, there's an authorial flourish at the end that imbues the whole thing with an unexpected profundity and weight. What's incredible about t [...]

    13. Oh the humanity wasted in those not-too-distant times. The Art, medicine, legal and theological advances that were lost and never found. The book kept me engrossed in the life of a Prussian count and his friends during the depression, and up to the war. The growing bigotry of the Germans, Russians, Poles, Catholics against the Jews is examined from both a young students idealistic point of view as well as the wise old school masters historical truth-is-the-answer viewpoint. Excellent book. Excel [...]

    14. In London in 1961, a young violin student visits her teacher for the last time. He is dying, and he gives her a postcard with a list of names and dates of birth and death. The postcard is from an in-between time and place: Prussia in the time between the two great wars. The student’s task will be to learn and pass on the story of the friends whose names are listed on the card, her teacher among them. In pre-WWII Prussia, a small group of friends from different backgrounds and having different [...]

    15. This started out a bit slow for me and was at times rather didactic and occasionally I found myself wondering if there was just a little too much knowledge gained in hindsight at play but I kept picking it up and reading on until i came to care rather a lot for the main characters and learned even more about the period between the two wars, filling in some of those holes in my education. This well written story of two young men growing to adulthood and even more importantly becoming thinking bei [...]

    16. It must have been around 2010 when I got this from Ignatius press, whose catalog I'd occasionally peruse looking for Catholic fiction. It caught my eye due to the protagonist's name, "Max von Hofmannswaldau"(badass!) & the setting in Germany(cool, my ancestral home!)Alas, I was to be disappointed. TL;DR Synopsis: Young German lad discovers a hidden family secret - he's actually Jewish! Makes a Polish friend during the summer; has a gay dream about said friend, then life goes on. He plays the [...]

    17. Beautifully written Catholic historical novel about a young Prussian aristocrat growing up in the years prior to World War II. The book opens when he is a child with his tutor, just before World War I, and covers the period through the rise of Hitler, and ends just as the Second World War is beginning.The book is heavy on philosophy, specifically examining how many of the bad philosophies of the 19th and early 20th centuries led to the war. So, much of the book is dialogue in which the character [...]

    18. A devastatingly clear picture of the years preceeding WWII in Germany and its neighboring countries that is like looking into the wrong end of a telescope--which helped me grasp more of something which has always been overwhelmingly beyond my understanding. Each of the main characters was the synthesis of a much bigger ideology which was a brilliant way to handle an immense, complicated process. Although this was a tough book to read because so much of what had to be written was morally repugnan [...]

    19. If you like philosophy and enjoy a good novel, this book is for you. Beckett spends much time developing her characters and the friendships between them. Yet she does not shrink back from the emotions and painful pitfalls that are inevitable in any bond between people, especially young people as they come of age in a historically confusing time. Adam and Max's quest for truth, and how then grapple with science vs. God is well portrayed.

    20. This book took me a very long time to read; it's extremely dense, packed with history and philosophy that took me a long time to process. It made me wish I knew more about the music described, and also taught me a whole lot about the various political incarnations of Germany/Austria/Poland/Russia between the two world wars. And after all those many long treatises about religion and philosophy, the end was jarringly abrupt. I think I like this book overall, but I'm still not sure. . .

    21. This is less a novel and more a meditation on religion, nationalism, fascism and identity. There is a plot that I won't describe here but enough to say it's a collision course of characters who have stepped out of WWI into the the uncertain 1920s and 1930s in Breslau. There is the rise of the Nazis and the looming of another Second World War. There is a lot of philosophizing. So be warned. But as I get older I have more time to contemplate those things that used to make me restless.

    22. A fascinating look at the philosophies that led to the rise of the Third Reich and the affects on people throughout the German empire (including Austria-Hungary and Poland.) Most WWII books I've read are from the perspective of the Allies, but this one allowed me to see the impact on dissidents within Germany.

    23. Lucy Beckett's grasp of history, philosophy, and theology is remarkable. The real historical plot is fascinating and the spiritual/intellectual development of the fictional characters as well. Written in 2009 this book seems hauntingly prescient of a lot of what is going socially, politically, philosophically in America today. I highly recommend.

    24. Lord, this is badly written. Started it for a bookclub. There is no characterization, minimal setting. The "dialogue" is really tedious and pedantic monologue peppered with questions or comments by Max to propel it. Ugh. It is obviously Catholic propoganda, and I'm a devout Catholic, but couldn't bare it's obvious, base apologetics. Avoid this book.

    25. I actually listened to the audiobook version and would highly recommend that format. It's fairly long and the conversational parts can seem more like thorough expositions of the different ideologies of the characters, so listening helped me be able to stick with it for long periods of time while sitting at a desk or riding the bus and thus remain engaged.

    26. Yes, it's a little too pedantic, the author "having a conversation with herself," but so what? The point was to lay out the philosophical mix that brought Germany from WWI to Hitler though the lives of her characters and she did it brilliantly. If you care about that--and especially if you are a Catholic with Central/East European Jewish ancestry--you must read this novel.

    27. this is a well written book about Germany from the point of view of the upper classes Not a subject generally seen Interesting to me. I wanted to add that there are scenes in this book that come back to my memory not a haunting but when I read the same era book. It is a book I will remember a long time.

    28. There were four major themes in this book, pre-war German history, classical music, philosophy, and Catholicism; all worked together in an interesting way. Excellent characters and presentation of human nature. The one thing I didn't like was the ending, and especially how it fit in with the prologue. Without giving anything away, I felt like the ending was a little disappointing.

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