The Kindly Ones Jonathan Littell's novel The Kindly Ones is a hugely polarizing best-seller in France, where, like The Da Vinci Code , it has inspired books of… The Kindly Ones Jonathan Littell's novel The Kindly Ones is a hugely polarizing best-seller in France, where, like The Da Vinci Code , it has inspired books of… 2009-03-03 Fiction History HarperCollins
Book Review

The Kindly Ones (2009)

The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell
The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Mar 03, 2009; Writer: Jonathan Littell; Genres: Fiction, History; Publisher: HarperCollins

Jonathan Littell's novel The Kindly Ones is a hugely polarizing best-seller 
in France, where, like 
The Da Vinci Code, it has 
inspired books of its own. The grim World War II plot concerns Maximilien Aue, an 
impassive Nazi carrying out the Final Solution. Littell maneuvers his character Zelig-like past a rogues' gallery of Nazis, culminating in a trip to Hitler's bunker. It's like Dante's Inferno written by Reich historian William Shirer. Aue warns 
that the slippery slope to genocide is greased by ''calm, collected'' ordinary people, but when he's not insisting ''I am just like you,'' he's lusting after his twin sister, fantasizing about matricide, or performing perverse sexual acts. Such graphic depravity lets us all off the hook. B–

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Originally posted Mar 04, 2009 Published in issue #1038 Mar 13, 2009 Order article reprints
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