CASE WHITE is a sad and disturbing look at the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, told mostly from the viewpoints of two main characters, Joseph and Micah.
Starting several decades before WWII, we follow each man through these years, learning slowly what Hitler and the Nazis are about. Of course, at that time no one yet knew who Hitler even was. Then, little by little over the years, more and more racism becomes apparent. At first, it’s accepted…these seemed like minor things, as compared to the difficulties of daily life. But as the words and actions of this man as he rises to power, make it nearly impossible for some to remain silent; those who went along to get along then found themselves in the position of having to stay silent to survive.
What’s that old quote?
“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”
Each man here makes his own choices. For myself, I was rooting for Micah and almost started crying over something that he discovered when he came home one day. I also found myself beginning to hate Joseph. Then, thoroughly hating Joseph. Even from a hateful standpoint, though, I can see how he ended up where he was. Thing is, with racists, if you do nothing, you have actually made a choice. One of those choices that is in reality, a slippery, slippery slope-the top of which will never be reached again, because the downfall is permanent.
I’m nearly ignoring a major plot point here-that of finding and owning historical and religious relics; the holy grail and the lance of Longinus. This lance is said to have pierced the body of Jesus Christ while he hung upon the cross. Hitler’s, and others’ beliefs in these relics overall led to only more madness and death. To me, it’s so twisted to believe in and be willing to move heaven and earth to find these “holy” relics, while simultaneously enacting the most horrific, murderous acts known to humanity. To me those two things cannot be reconciled.
A recent poll of millennials shows that a shocking number of them think the Holocaust was over exaggerated, didn’t happen, or that the Jews caused it. (An easy Google search will bring up the articles.) This book is a shocking and sad reminder of all the things that happened and the millions upon millions of people killed. The cruelties they suffered, death being a only a minor one, cannot be allowed to be forgotten.
Looking around at the world today, I think humanity is once again forgetting the lessons of history. I see, even around me in my little state, the rise of hatred and racism- again. Maybe it never really left? Fear of the “other,” blaming of the “other,” and a loathsome lack of taking responsibility for anything, seems to be the rule of the day.
Let me leave these generalities behind and come back to the book. Thomas Sullivan is an outstanding writer. At points I wished I was reading this rather than listening because I could then have highlighted some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read, (or listened to.) For those words to shine as brightly as they did, even amidst the most heinous violence described, is amazing to me. The narrator, Joshua Saxon, is truly one of the best out there and is a rising star in the performance of audiobooks. There are lots of German phrases and words in this book and to the best of my knowledge he nailed all of them. I’m not sure how both Thomas Sullivan AND Joshua Saxon aren’t more well known. (Sullivan was once nominated for a Pulitzer!)
Perhaps this would be a good time for you to become acquainted with them both? CASE WHITE gets my highest recommendation!
*Please note, I may not have gotten the spelling of the characters quite right, because I listened to this book instead of reading it.*
**I received a download of this audio from the narrator in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.**