Winifred, an English girl, brought up in an orphanage in East Grinstead, married at the age of eighteen to the son of Germany's most controversial genius, is a passionate Germanophile, a Wagnerian dreamer, a Teutonic patriot. In the debacle of the post-Versailles world, the Wagner family hope for the coming, not of a warrior, a fearless Siegfried, but of a Parsifal, a mystic idealist, a redeemer-figure. In , they meet their Parsifal - a wild-eyed Viennese opera-fanatic in a trilby hat, a mac and a badly fitting suit. Hitler has already made a name for himself in some sections of German society through rabble-rousing and street corner speeches.
It is Winifred, though, who believes she can really see his poetry.
Almost at once they drop formalities and call one another 'Du' rather than 'Sie'. She is Winnie and he is Wolf.
Like Winnie, Hitler was an outsider. Like her, he was haunted by the impossibility of reconciling the pursuit of love and the pursuit of power; the ultimate inevitability, if you pursued power, of destruction. Both had known the humiliations of poverty. Both felt angry and excluded by society. Both found each other in an unusual kinship that expressed itself through a love of opera.
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Authors A-Z. Complete Verse Hilaire Belloc. How to write a great review Do Say what you liked best and least Describe the author's style Explain the rating you gave Don't Use rude and profane language Include any personal information Mention spoilers or the book's price Recap the plot. The first-person narrator, an assistant at Bayreuth who brings up Hitler's child as his own, had been a philosophy student with Heidegger; and, in a wonderful set-piece, Hitler is both envious and spiteful about his schoolmate from Linz, Wittgenstein. In , they meet their Parsifal - a wild-eyed Viennese opera-fanatic in a trilby hat, a mac and a badly fitting suit. At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer's personal information.
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Either of these visions, though, would outstrip many of the plot points that purport to make this book fiction rather than history: our narrator's infatuation with Winnie, his marriage to a Communist and the persecution of his family by the Nazis. N, as his name suggests and his vacillating politics prove, articulates one version of a typical German of the period; the clergymen in his family, who quietly resist Fascism and are deported, depict another.
But the characterisation is sketchy at best, and the impression develops that Wilson - whose recent biographies and histories have been better than his novels - is less interested in finding a medium for the delineation of character than one that will serve as a cursory frame for his deliberations on Wagnerian opera, mid-century Nazism, 19th-century German philosophy and so on. It's telling that Winnie and Wolf is dedicated to Beryl Bainbridge, who is the mistress among novelists at combining fact and fiction. But where Bainbridge's stories fit with seamless cunning into history, Wilson's tale proves less agile; it takes its liberties more obviously, shows off its research with greater ostentation, and often seems to struggle to justify its existence.
Still - very much in the manner of Wilson's take on Betjeman, another book in heavy debt to a recent longer work - if you don't want to read Hamann's biography, this makes a decent second best. Love puzzles? Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles. A collection of the best contributions and reports from the Telegraph focussing on the key events, decisions and moments in Churchill's life. This book tells the story of the men and women of Fighter Command who worked tirelessly in air bases scattered throughout Britain to thwart the Nazis. The essential gift book for any pet lover - real-life tales of devoted dogs, rebellious cats and other unforgettable four-legged friends.
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go to site View all online retailers. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 'An outstanding novel, brilliantly imaginative and hypnotically readable' Selina Hastings, Books of the Year, Sunday Telegraph Winnie and Wolf is the story of the extraordinary relationship between Winifred Wagner and Adolf Hitler that took place during the years , as seen through the eyes of the secretary at the Wagner house in Bayreuth. About the Author A. Wilson A. Read more. Also by A. Related titles.
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Unity Mitford attempted suicide when Britain declared war on Germany in and not in despair at Hitler's downfall. The upper-class Unity Mitford fell morbidly in love with Adolf Hitler, and shot herself in despair at his downfall. In AN Wilson's new novel, it is Winifred. Happily we now have both in AN Wilson's novel Winnie and Wolf and Jonathan Carr's biography The Wagner Clan. Paul Levy. Sun 9 Sep
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