Book review: Timur Vermes ~ Look Who’s Back (Translated by Jamie Bulloch)

A satire about Adolf Hitler, by a German, breaks new ground. Vermes brings Hitler back to 21st century Germany, as though the previous 70 years had never happened. Hitler retains his oratorical abilities. His rhetoric makes him an attractive showbiz personality. From which he develops a ‘new’ political career making use of all the old tropes with adjustments for new circumstances like having a large Turkish population in Berlin.

Vermes’s Hitler exploits the vacuity of TV and YouTube. Hitler stars on both with his ‘Hitler act’, which is so retro that it wows a jaded audience. The modern German public  uncritically accepts whatever is put before them. They relish his catchy phrases and certainties. The same ones that propelled his career in the 1920s and 30s. Hitler’s rhetoric is seen as ‘performance’. His political programme is sucked in as if by osmosis because it’s fun. Insidiously Hitler’s coherence attracts modern Germans who embrace his simplicities in exactly the same way their great grand-parents did 90 years ago. Germany finds itself in the throes of a reborn Nazi political programme because modern media has made them uncritical consumers.

The shallowness of the German public is mirrored in German politics. Hitler’s popularity doesn’t go unnoticed by the principal party’s and he’s courted by mainstream politicians. Vermes’s satire is unrelenting and successful.

Why you should read this book: A German satire about Hitler and modern Germany is unprecedented and deserves to be read.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: You think it’s impossible it could happen here

Buy it here 2nd hand for 1p (+pp)


This entry was posted in Humour, Literature, Politics, Review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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