by Brad Nelson
I don’t normally read spy thrillers, but a conservative friend recommended Garden of Beasts to me. But I’d say it’s equal parts spy thriller and historical novel. The books recommended for further reading at the end is huge. It seems the author did much research and it shows. One Amazon.com reviewer writes:
In Garden of Beasts, Deaver takes us back to 1936 and I mean he takes us back. Edward R. Murrow used to have a television show, as I recall, entitled “You are There.” in which the viewer was taken back to an historic event. Well, after reading this book, you will have a pretty clear picture of Germany in the days of the Hitler ascendancy. It is not a pretty picture.
Of course, yours truly enjoys reading such a book to notice the parallels in our own time. I can’t help connecting Nazi fascism with liberal fascism. As Jonah Goldberg writes in his excellent book, Liberal Fascism, the penchant the Nazis had for health food, animal rights, purity, uniformity, demonizing various classes, and hatred for smoking is so reminiscent of today’s “Progressives” or the Left. “The rich,” “Big Oil,” “the right wing,” “Christian conservatives,” or just “conservatives” are among the demonized “Jews” of our day. And, of course, the Jews still are targets of anti-Semitism from the Left, as always.
And in the Nazi era it was common to denounce other people. You might find out that some neighbor was one-quarter Jewish, and just out of spite, you would denounce them. (And, I believe, very often there was a profit motive behind such denunciations, but not always.)
That reminds me of neighbors who will today denounce people for supposed environment crimes. I know one good fellow who is scared to death of his neighbors. He will sneak out in the dead of midnight to do a little pruning on his own trees — something that is against the law for certain trees near the water. Especially if you live on the shoreline, your property no longer is under your control. And you have to be very careful of neighbors who will report you to today’s Gestapo (the EPA, or whomever) if you should dare to touch some of the shrubbery on your property covered by the increasingly fascist Shoreline Management Act.
Oh, and the Hitler Youth. What a scary organization that was. And I can’t help thinking of our own public school system wherein some teachers were, a while back, teaching kids to sing songs praising Obama. And you can’t help thinking of those instances (environmental fascism again) where teachers have sent their students home to report on their parents regarding any environment crimes. It may sound all warm and fuzzy if your kids are checking up on you to see if you are recycling, but it should strike most parents as a creepy thing for the schools to be doing.
There are parallels in religious bigotry as well. Religion is typically a no-no in socialist or fascists regimes. The Leader wants your loyalty all to himself. And today we have the left trying to erase religion wherever they can. And, of course, ideological purity is a must, whether fascist or liberal fascist. That is, in effect, what political correctness is. Fascist-like liberals also often demand ideological conformity in higher education and where commonly (as reported by David Horowitz and others) conservatives and Jews are increasingly treated with contempt, and sometimes outright violence, including the breaking of glass. Shades of Kristallnacht.
But if you live in California, or just about any other liberal extreme, you’ve been taught that “the right wing” are the nasty authoritarians. Well, nobody is perfect. But it is this bigotry (again, very Nazi-like) that blinds these people from the real Nazi-like mentality in their midst.
And the real Nazis, as portrayed by Jeffery Deaver in his novel, are no picnic either. And another amazing parallel is that, just as the press is apologizing for and covering for Hamas and other Jew haters today, back during the Olympic games in Berlin in 1936 (the era this novel is set), there were plenty of people willfully overlooking the evil of the Nazis.
Will we ever learn? This is where novels such as “Garden of Beasts” come in. You get a glimpse of the kind of bigotry, ideological purity, and government-as-god that is so dangerous, now as then. Oh, and it’s a pretty good spy thriller as well. • (923 views)