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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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Wolf Reviews


Kirkus Review


"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."


The Jewish Voice | Published: 12/04/2019 |Edited by: TJVNews.com


Meticulously Researched Thriller Debunks the Myths Surrounding the Life of Adolf Hitler

Perhaps no man on earth is more controversial, more hated, or more studied than Adolf Hitler. Yet many questions remain about his personal life and how he gained power. Based on extensive research, the extraordinary novel WOLF, by Herbert J. Stern and Alan A. Winter (Skyhorse Publishing; February 11, 2020), lifts the curtain so that the reader can observe through the eyes of a fictional character, how a seemingly unremarkable corporal who was denied a promotion for lack of "leadership ability" became dictator of Germany. The result is a gripping page-turner, a masterful historical novel.

The story begins in the mental ward of Pasewalk Hospital as World War I ends. A gravely ill soldier, who has lost his memory and is given the name Friedrich Richard, encounters a fellow patient: Adolf Hitler. Suffering from hysterical blindness, Hitler, also known as Wolf, becomes dependent on Friedrich for help with the simplest, day-to-day tasks. By the time Hitler's sight returns, the two have forged an unbreakable bond.

Upon release from the hospital, Friedrich heads to Berlin to work as a nightclub bouncer, while Wolf moves to Munich where he focuses on turning a fledgling political club into what will soon become the Nazi party. After accidently killing a man, Friedrich flees to Munich and reunites with his close friend.

Persuaded by Hitler's convictions about how to rebuild Germany in the wake of its defeat, Friedrich joins the Nazi's inner circle. Hitler, who in real life often played one advisor against the other - and was not one to rely on any of them - trusts the fictional Friedrich so much so, that he calls upon him to help resolve both personal and national crises that are historically accurate. Throughout the sixteen years covered in WOLF, Friedrich interacts with dozens of people who largely lived the lives the authors depict - from Hermann Göring and Joseph Goebbels to Berlin brothel-owner Kitty Schmidt and film star Lilian Harvey.

While history has painted Hitler as a man unable to forge lasting relationships, the authors' research has uncovered that, in fact, he built many lifelong friendships. Hitler was attractive to women, and had multiple affairs with young women as well as with the wealthy society matrons who backed the party. These relationships, which are portrayed in WOLF, "have been documented in numerous interviews over the course of seventy years, yet they have rarely, if ever, been reported by historians," Stern and Winter explain.

During the course of the novel, Friedrich struggles to reconcile his loyalty to Hitler with his own rejection of the party's anti-Semitism. He never wavers in his friendships with Jews, such as nightclub owner Max Klinghofer and police chief Bernhard Weiss. It is Friedrich who saves Weiss, the highest-ranking Jew in the German police, when Goebbels orders him arrested. After this incident, Friedrich promises Weiss to remain by Hitler's side in the hope that he can help lessen the severity of increasingly harsher laws meant to drive Jews from Germany.

WOLF is an historical novel that will satisfy history buffs and fiction fans alike. For those who want more, the authors' meticulous research can be accessed at www.NotesOnWolf.com. In combination, the novel and the notes deftly answer the question: how did a nondescript man become the world's greatest monster? This is truly a lesson that no one can afford to ignore.


Stephen H. Foreman, author TOEHOLD, SEARCHING FOR GIDEON, JOURNEY and screenwriter for "The Jazz Singer" starring Neil Diamond


"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."


Amy Wilhelm Senior Writer, Book Club Babble.


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.




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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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