Reviews

  • "Beautiful and gripping, it unfolds like a detective story as an obscured past emerges into the light."

    Hadley Freeman, author of House of Glass: The Story and Secrets of a Twentieth-Century Jewish Family
  • "This is a little gem of a book. It is beautifully written and reads as grippingly as a detective story. The story of the quest is fascinating in itself but the result is also a work of serious historical scholarship. Its reconstitution of the life and career of an ‘ordinary Nazi’ throws revealing light on the workings of the Nazi regime."

    Julian Jackson
  • "A fascinating true-life detective story, as the author engagingly chronicles his searches in archives and interviews with elderly survivors… An illuminating biography and more evidence for the “banality of evil”."

    Kirkus Reviews
  • "In this richly detailed and eloquent account...Lee’s granular focus reveals the mechanisms by which ordinary Germans were drawn into horrific crimes. Even those well-versed in the history of the Holocaust will learn something new."

    Publishers Weekly
  • "In Daniel Lee’s The S.S. Officer’s Armchair, the story of an utterly obscure and ‘ordinary’ SS officer, recovered through extraordinary research, is embedded in the illuminating context of upper-middle-class German society and family life in the first half of the 20th century. The result is a fascinating combination of social history, family drama, and ingenious detective work."

    Christopher R. Browning, Frank Porter Graham Professor of History Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • "Beginning with his discovery of a cache of papers sewed, inexplicably, into an old armchair, Daniel Lee traces the life of an ordinary though far from insignificant Nazi bureaucrat, showing, as his story slides into horror, that there is no such thing as an armchair Nazi. His interviews with the surviving children and grandchildren add a poignant postscript to this powerful investigation of the war between memory and oblivion."

    Alice Kaplan, Sterling Professor of French at Yale University and author of Looking for the Stranger
  • "The S.S. Officer’s Armchair is an extraordinary book that lingers in the memory long after you've read the final page. I became totally engrossed in Daniel Lee's investigations to discover the story behind long hidden Nazi documents. In uncovering the life of an disconcertingly outwardly ordinary man who became an SS Officer, the atrocity of the Holocaust – and those who supported, facilitated, or chose to ignore what was happening all around them – becomes even more shocking."

    The Rt Hon. the Baroness Smith of Basildon
  • "Many of the most horrific acts against humanity during the Holocaust were carried out by the untold thousands of low-level, virtually-unknown civil servants, who facilitated the worst deeds of the Nazi enterprise without ever getting their own hands dirty. In this brilliantly researched story of one such 'ordinary Nazi,' Daniel Lee illuminates the whole."

    Martha Weinman Lear, author of Heartsounds and Where Did I Leave My Glasses?