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Kirkus Review:
Publish Date: December 23, 2019

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Kirkus Review:
Best Book Selection 2013

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ML | Reviewed: 03/19/2020 | Format: Hardcover | 5.0 out of 5 stars

I have just finished reading “Wolf”, a book by Herbert Stern and Alan Winter, and just can’t stop thinking about it. What a story! What a great job and service the authors did in telling it. Their use of the fictional character, Friedrich, in telling Hitler’s rise to power is ingenious, as we see history through Friedrich’s eyes.

The narrative flows so well as it explains and connects historical events. It shows the strategies that Hitler used to accomplish his national goals; his ability to overcome setbacks; his keen understanding of human emotions and frailties, and how he knew how to manipulate these. Bringing this history to life in this vivid story reminds us that we must be en garde in preventing a repeat in the future.

Friedrich is a fascinating character, and his life’s story is a story in and of itself. His observations, his conflicts, his struggles, his passionate love affairs, his adventures, and his evolution are engaging and instructive; and how the authors merge these with historical realities is exemplary. The easy flow of writing weaves Friedrich’s story and Wolf’s narrative so perfectly together that Stern’s and Winter’s fresh ideas of this history are clear, concise and easily interpreted. It showed great pacing as the story revealed itself. The authors’ historical research has valid arguments refuting many of the rationalizations of currently accepted explanations of Hitler’s behavior.


Without reservation, I highly recommend reading “Wolf”.

Midwest Book Review | Diane Donovan's Bookshelf

Wolf: A Novel is a historical novel about Hitler, told from the unusual perspective of 1918 amnesiac soldier Friedrich Richard, who encounters Hitler in a mental hospital ward where Corporal Hitler, once a painter, has been diagnosed as a psychopath. He introduces himself to Richard, using the name 'Wolf.' The unusual friendship that forms between these two mentally challenged men will last 15 years and embraces Hitler's move from the mental ward to become the leader of Germany, then the scourge of the world.

It is fortuitous that Herbert J. Stern and Alan A. Winter chose to couch Hitler's life in an alias name, because readers who may have eschewed yet another novel with Hitler in the title, who picked up Wolf for other reasons, will find it an astute, involving, unusual perspective that considers Hitler's mental facilities in a different way.

This focus on Hitler's personal life and how he rose to power is based on extensive research, yet the fictional devices elevate these facts to more personal, revealing levels as Hitler hones political power, creates a new ideology for a crippled nation, and involves Frederich in a rise to power that surprises and fulfills them both.

In addition to its different approach to Hitler's rise to power, Wolf: A Novel excels in many other ways. Its use of the first person makes events and perceptions more immediate; its subplot of the protagonist's dilemma in following Hitler versus his own inherent rejection of Hitler's anti-Semitism creates an involving conflict; and its focus on Hitler's lifelong friendships, which cemented personal connections in his life, all expand the reader's view of Hitler's personality and the roots of his influences.

The authors studied Hitler's personal connections for this book, so these insights and ideas aren't fiction, but are firmly rooted in new research that lends depth to his persona and story. As additional support for the historical research and accuracy of this story, history buffs have rare access to the authors' research at the website www.NotesOnWolf.com.

There's a basic question that is tackled, here. How did an ordinary man become the world's most famous and feared mass executioner? It's a question and lesson that needs to remain at the forefront of any Hitler examination. It which receives special attention in this story, which captures not only the visions and madness of Hitler's approach to rule, but the methods by which he convinced an entire society to go along with genocide. Most of all, it's a side story of how an ordinary man, Frederich, serves as the microcosm of how a "man without a past and not much of a future" becomes embroiled in and contributes to Hitler's Nazi juggernaut. Frightening and eye-opening, Wolf: A Novel will linger in the mind as a prophetic and disturbing story long after Frederich and Hitler's world (and this story) ends.


KIRKUS

A deeply researched novel about HItler's rise to power, co-authored by Stern, a former federal judge, and Wintger, a novelist (Island Bluffs, 2015 etc.). In a German army hospital in 1918, two soldiers meet. One, the narrator, has lost all memory of his past, even his identity, so a doctor assigns him the nme of a dead soldier, Friedrich Richard. Richard shows kindness to the man suffering from hysterical blindness in the bed next to him. The blind man calls himself Wolf, but his real name is Adolf Hitler. They form a strong friendship, and Richard later follows Hitler into the Nazi Party. Richard is a not-entirely-sympathetic narrator who stands 6-foot-7 and "doesn't shy away from a fight," willingly bashing heads to defend his friend. But he shies away from talking about his past, especially when he learns he's inadvertently been given the name of "a dead Jew." Meanwhile, Hitler "demanded total loyalty, but he also gave it...even to friends who disappointed him." "Friedrich," he says, "you must stay close to me. Always. You are the only one I really trust." Even knowing that Richard defended a bearded Jew against three thugs, Hitler promotes him to SS Obergruppenführer. "Our Friedrich is well known for his tender heart," he says. The fictional narrator proves a great tool to show Hitler up close, based on the authors' research. For example, historians often portray Hitler as pathologically afraid of women. Richard tells a woman that "Hitler's romance is with Germany," not with fräuleins, but Hitler is attracted to young women and girls, including his niece Geli, who commits suicide after ol' Uncle Adolf leaves her for another woman. In 1934, Richard visits a dying man in Dachau but is long since hopelessly ensnared in the Nazi juggernaut. As the novel ends, the horrors are only beginning. An engrossing look at a monster.

Alex DeMille, co-author with Nelson DeMille THE DESERTER

Wolf offers a front row seat to the Nazi Party's early years, expertly using the fictional protagonist Friedrich Richard to take the reader on a fifteen-year journey from the end of the First World War to Adolph Hitler's seizure of absolute power in Germany. The reader experiences the gradual death of democracy in Weimar Germany like a slow motion train wreck, equally fascinated and horrified. We all know how Hitler's Thousand Year Reich ended, but Wolf shows us how the nightmare began. A compelling, thoroughly researched, and important work.

Wolf is an impressive achievement. Exhaustively researched and richly detailed, it draws on new historical research to paint a fascinating portrait of Adolph Hitler that is more human and recognizable than most depictions - and thus even more chilling and sobering.

SUMMARY

In the great tradition of Herman Wouk, author of Winds of War and War and Remembrance, WOLF is a thoroughly researched-and-illustrated historical novel about a man who is not yet a monster . . . but will soon become the ultimate one: Adolf Hitler.

Perhaps no man on Earth is more controversial, more hated, or more studied than Adolf Hitler. His exploits and every move are well-documented, from the time he first became chancellor and then dictator of Germany to starting World War II to the systematic killing of millions of Jews. But how did he achieve power, and what was the makeup of the mind of a man who would deliberately inflict unimaginable horrors on millions of people?

Meet Friedrich Richard, an amnesiac soldier who, in 1918, encounters Hitler in the mental ward at Pasewalk Hospital. Hitler, then a corporal, diagnosed as a psychopath and helpless, suffering from hysterical blindness, introduces himself as WOLF to Friedrich and becomes dependent upon Friedrich for assistance, forming an unbreakable bond between the two men.

Follow Friedich-our protagonist-who interacts with real people, places, and events, through the fifteen-year friendship that witnesses Hitler turn from a quiet painter into a megalomaniacal dictator. Using brand-new historical research and never-before-seen photos to construct a realistic portrait of the evolving Hitler, WOLF will satisfy, by turns, history buffs and fiction fans alike. And as this complex story is masterfully presented, it answers the question of how a nondescript man became the world's greatest monster.





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WOLF REVIEWS


Adolph Hitler anointed himself with the name, Wolf, then plotted and connived with remorseless determination to become Der Fuhrer, Dictator, Savior of the Fatherland. As in ancient Greek drama, we know the ending to the story. The riddle is how we get there. It begins with an ingenious premise that unfolds in a defeated and humiliated Germany following World War 1, and advances towards its goal like a Panzer division on the attack. A brooding cloud of inevitability hovers overhead, feelings of dread at the horror we know is coming yet we are unable to get out of its way. It culminates in an escalating climax as Wolf consolidates his power, kin to the baptism of fire that concludes The Godfather. A Hitler we did not know existed emerges page by page, all his bits and pieces, certain of his role as Savior of Germany, evil, driven, shrewd, an unrepentant, serial seducer of teen-age girls, surrounded by toadies as ruthless as himself but not nearly so smart - his rise and words an unnerving parallel as we witness the continued erosion of democracy today in our own sweet land. Put this book on the shelf with Ludlum, Michener, and Clavell. WOLF deserves to be in their company. --Stephen H. Foreman, author TOEHOLD, SEARCHING FOR GIDEON, JOURNEY and screenwriter for "The Jazz Singer" starring Neil Diamond


In their groundbreaking novel Wolf, Stern and Winter use the historical facts about Hitler as their warp and his friendship with the fictional Friedrich Richard as their weft. The horrifying and captivating picture they weave reveals the gradual evolution of Hitler from an insecure young man into an evil dictator. The authors deserve tremendous credit for being unafraid to tread a new path over the well-worn territory of Hitler's rise to near demonic power. Like any successful novel should be proud to do, Wolf will incite intense discussion in historical circles and book clubs alike. It is a poignant, persuasive, and ultimately terrifying story of how one man came to bend the path of history through oppression and genocide by taking one step at a time. --Amy Wilhelm Senior Writer, Book Club Babble.


WOLF is a fascinating and original investigation into the rise of Adolf Hitler and the early years of the Nazi Party. Authors Stern and Winter apply extensive research and absorbing storytelling to provide fresh insight into this dark period of history. This novel is compelling reading for anyone interested in understanding the origins of the most destructive and consequential events of the 20th Century. --Josh Mensch, co-author with Brad Meltzer THE FIRST CONSPIRACY and soon-to-be-published THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY






buy island bluffs book

ISLAND BLUFFS


ISLAND BLUFFS is a multi-layered story of forgiveness, of understanding the dark side of the human spirit, and plumbs the question: are children and grandchildren accountable for the sins of their parents. It is also a love story.

Carly Mason, NY's top forensic dentist is married to widower, Gabe Berk. Having exhausted all of NYC's top fertility experts, they learn of an eccentric scientist -- a survivor of the Mengele Twin Experiments - who runs an exclusive clinic. The doctor presents a Faustian challenge: Carly must carry twins, one biologically related to her and one that is not, agreeing to give up the surrogate baby at birth. In addition, the Berks must move to within thirty minutes of the doctor's clinic at the Jersey Shore.

Carly and Gabe, along with Gabe's daughter from his first marriage and his father who is a Holocaust survivor, move to Island Bluffs. Island Bluffs is a present-day town blinded by a pact made long ago that is filled with secrets all would prefer to remain buried. Now that the Berks have bought this long-forgotten house, keeping secrets buried is no longer an option. When these truths are revealed, they will, by turns, shock and amaze and challenge the very fabric of what is morally right and wrong.


ISLAND BLUFFS REVIEWS
"In this emotional thriller, a couple strikes a Faustian bargain in order to have a child." -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"Winter's sure-footed novel follows the twists and turns of their discovery of the secrets hidden (in Island Bluffs)" -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"The dread only increases as the Berks steadily uncover more dark secrets, including an echo of the Nazi Germany that Yehuda only barely escaped." -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"Winter (Savior's Day, 2013) keeps what could have been a fairly predictable plot moving briskly, and the climactic series of revelations is handled with smooth control and a good deal of dark humor." -- KIRKUS REVIEW




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SAVIOR'S DAY


SAVIOR'S DAY Savior's Day is a work of fiction taken out of today's headlines. Cardinal Arnold Ford, head of the Archdiocese of New York, witnesses a murder on the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral. With the old man's dying breath, he hands the Cardinal a sliver of ancient parchment to keep and protect. What follows is a tale woven from an open case that Israel's vaunted spy agency, the Mossad, is afraid to solve. What do they fear? How can the lost pages of an ancient treasure threaten the very existence of the State of Israel?

Kirkus Review:
Best Book Selection 2013


Honorable Mention: Fiction
2015 New York Book Festival




SAVIOR'S DAY REVIEWS
"An ancient text contains a shattering truth in this apocalyptic thriller." -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"Winter's (Someone Else's Son, 2013) tense, tightly plotted novel opens with an exceptionally effective dramatic hook ..." -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"The complicated plot resembles a pair of interlocking spirals, with Detective Thompkins's revelations taking readers steadily further back in time and the gunmen's parallel back stories bringing readers forward to the moment of the shooting." -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"Winter's command of his historical material is impressive, as is his skill at shaping his characters." -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"... Ford and Thompkins, whose unfolding relationship is the best thing in the book." -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"The textual mystery of the codex will please Dan Brown fans, and its execution is a significant step above that in The Da Vinci Code (2003)." -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"A thrilling, satisfying and multilayered adventure story." -- KIRKUS REVIEW



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Kirkus Review:
Publish Date: December 23, 2019

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Kirkus Review:
Best Book Selection 2013



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