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The untold story of Hitler's war on "degenerate" artists and the mentally ill that served as a model for the "Final Solution." "A penetrating chronicle . . . deftly links art history, psychiatry, and Hitler's ideology to devastating effect."--The Wall Street Journal As a veteran of the First World War, and an expert in art history and medicine, Hans Prinzhorn was uniquely p The untold story of Hitler's war on "degenerate" artists and the mentally ill that served as a model for the "Final Solution." "A penetrating chronicle . . . deftly links art history, psychiatry, and Hitler's ideology to devastating effect."--The Wall Street Journal As a veteran of the First World War, and an expert in art history and medicine, Hans Prinzhorn was uniquely placed to explore the connection between art and madness. The work he collected--ranging from expressive paintings to life-size rag dolls and fragile sculptures made from chewed bread--contained a raw, emotional power, and the book he published about the material inspired a new generation of modern artists, Max Ernst, Andr� Breton, and Salvador Dal� among them. By the mid-1930s, however, Prinzhorn's collection had begun to attract the attention of a far more sinister group. Modernism was in full swing when Adolf Hitler arrived in Vienna in 1907, hoping to forge a career as a painter. Rejected from art school, this troubled young man became convinced that modern art was degrading the Aryan soul, and once he had risen to power he ordered that modern works be seized and publicly shamed in "degenerate art" exhibitions, which became wildly popular. But this culture war was a mere curtain-raiser for Hitler's next campaign, against allegedly "degenerate" humans, and Prinzhorn's artist-patients were caught up in both. By 1941, the Nazis had murdered 70,000 psychiatric patients in killing centers that would serve as prototypes for the death camps of the Final Solution. Dozens of Prinzhorn artists were among the victims. The Gallery of Miracles and Madness is a spellbinding, emotionally resonant tale of this complex and troubling history that uncovers Hitler's wars on modern art and the mentally ill and how they paved the way for the Holocaust. Charlie English tells an eerie story of genius, madness, and dehumanization that offers readers a fresh perspective on the brutal ideology of the Nazi regime.


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The untold story of Hitler's war on "degenerate" artists and the mentally ill that served as a model for the "Final Solution." "A penetrating chronicle . . . deftly links art history, psychiatry, and Hitler's ideology to devastating effect."--The Wall Street Journal As a veteran of the First World War, and an expert in art history and medicine, Hans Prinzhorn was uniquely p The untold story of Hitler's war on "degenerate" artists and the mentally ill that served as a model for the "Final Solution." "A penetrating chronicle . . . deftly links art history, psychiatry, and Hitler's ideology to devastating effect."--The Wall Street Journal As a veteran of the First World War, and an expert in art history and medicine, Hans Prinzhorn was uniquely placed to explore the connection between art and madness. The work he collected--ranging from expressive paintings to life-size rag dolls and fragile sculptures made from chewed bread--contained a raw, emotional power, and the book he published about the material inspired a new generation of modern artists, Max Ernst, Andr� Breton, and Salvador Dal� among them. By the mid-1930s, however, Prinzhorn's collection had begun to attract the attention of a far more sinister group. Modernism was in full swing when Adolf Hitler arrived in Vienna in 1907, hoping to forge a career as a painter. Rejected from art school, this troubled young man became convinced that modern art was degrading the Aryan soul, and once he had risen to power he ordered that modern works be seized and publicly shamed in "degenerate art" exhibitions, which became wildly popular. But this culture war was a mere curtain-raiser for Hitler's next campaign, against allegedly "degenerate" humans, and Prinzhorn's artist-patients were caught up in both. By 1941, the Nazis had murdered 70,000 psychiatric patients in killing centers that would serve as prototypes for the death camps of the Final Solution. Dozens of Prinzhorn artists were among the victims. The Gallery of Miracles and Madness is a spellbinding, emotionally resonant tale of this complex and troubling history that uncovers Hitler's wars on modern art and the mentally ill and how they paved the way for the Holocaust. Charlie English tells an eerie story of genius, madness, and dehumanization that offers readers a fresh perspective on the brutal ideology of the Nazi regime.

30 review for The Gallery of Miracles and Madness: Insanity, Modernism, and Hitler's War on Art

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Howdle

    The final quarter of this book is devoted to sources: The Gallery of Miracles and Madness walks a familiar field. It does so, however, with gusto and insight. English establishes with real clarity how Art and Nazi philosophy marched together. And this aspect does not refer to the aesthetic appeal of Nazi uniforms as some have suggested! English demonstrates, over time, how Hitler's thought patterns were founded on an Artist-Prophet equation whereby a great leader could use art to cleanse the nat The final quarter of this book is devoted to sources: The Gallery of Miracles and Madness walks a familiar field. It does so, however, with gusto and insight. English establishes with real clarity how Art and Nazi philosophy marched together. And this aspect does not refer to the aesthetic appeal of Nazi uniforms as some have suggested! English demonstrates, over time, how Hitler's thought patterns were founded on an Artist-Prophet equation whereby a great leader could use art to cleanse the national psyche, which also implied, of course, the opposite: the need to disinfect the unclean. Yes, Hitler's mass murdering of the mentally ill was a practical blue-print for the final Holocaust, but English traces the psychological linkage with originality and tenacity to show how one flowed into the other: how Mein Kampf led to Aktion T4 and it led to the Final Solution. The Gallery of Miracles and Madness centres on the Prinzhorn Collection and its artists -- on Prinzhorn's belief that art by the mentally ill was not ill art, but creativity of a high order. By focusing on a number of the Prinzhorn artists -- notably Karl Buhler (Pol in Hans Prinzhorn's monumental work Bildnerei der Geisteskranken: ein Beitrag zur Psychologie und Psychopathologie der Gestaltung) -- English maintains a humane tone. English also outlines the central fear that came with Prinzhorn's book. By allowing pathological works into the sacred grove of academe, Prinzhorn both liberated art (Dada and Surrealism drew strength from the book) and incarcerated it (modern art's embracing of schizophrenia proved the degeneracy of modern art as asserted by Hitler). Lebensunwertes Leben a life less than life, a terrible phrase, became the Nazi's justification for sterilisation, medical investigations, and mass gassings. English does well in keeping a balanced tone that does not lose itself in numbers and sheer horror ... to the point that the reader's mind blurs into incredulity before human evil. There are moments when over-familiar ground irritates (do we need to be told yet again about Hitler's suicide?) and the book goes off point, but these are rare occasions. This is a book written with humanity that confronts human anesthetics, what occurs when art's spirituality is lost, and people can be killed because their lives are unproductive and cost the Stare too much. Ironically, Hitler's war on art and war on the world as it existed, was self-defeating. After he had defaced modern art (because it did not depict faces correctly) and connected Germanic collections of modern art to excrement, it did not have great currency. Works worth millions were sold for next to nothing, in fact, as English observes, just enough to equip two Panzer tanks. And once Hitler had burnt Modernism he was left with a new Kunst without life and a Reich centred on a creative vaccuum.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mervyn Whyte

    The word 'insanity' in the - rather lurid - subtitle of this fascinating book refers more to those running the psychiatric hospitals than it does to the patients who inhabited them. For, if there's one era in history when the lunatics really did take over the asylum, it's Nazi Germany 1933-45. Just when you thought there was nothing left about that terrible time to write about, a book like this comes along to remind you of all the unbelievable horror and (collective) madness. This time the story The word 'insanity' in the - rather lurid - subtitle of this fascinating book refers more to those running the psychiatric hospitals than it does to the patients who inhabited them. For, if there's one era in history when the lunatics really did take over the asylum, it's Nazi Germany 1933-45. Just when you thought there was nothing left about that terrible time to write about, a book like this comes along to remind you of all the unbelievable horror and (collective) madness. This time the story is centred around modern art and Hitler and the Nazis' deranged attitude towards both it and the artists who created it. Like with everything else the Nazis were against, what they couldn't defeat through ideas or talent or reason, they had to destroy using brute force, lies, distortion and mass murder. Charlie English tells the story authoritatively and sensitively, bringing to the fore the names of those who suffered the ultimate price for their differences as individuals and artists, and those who participated in their destruction. One quick note about the number of pages. Yes, the book is 336 pages long. But over 100 of these are endnotes, bibliography and index. The text itself only makes up 228 pages.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alisa

    “The tragedy of contemporary art… was that it had lost touch with this primeval purpose. Artists were taught that there was an objective reality, a “correct” photographic version of the world, when there was no such thing.” This is a harrowing, impeccably researched book which outlines Hitler’s war on modern art, which he viewed as a threat to German culture and civilization. Part of his hatred toward the modern art movement had to do with the fact that many modern artists derived inspiration “The tragedy of contemporary art… was that it had lost touch with this primeval purpose. Artists were taught that there was an objective reality, a “correct” photographic version of the world, when there was no such thing.” This is a harrowing, impeccably researched book which outlines Hitler’s war on modern art, which he viewed as a threat to German culture and civilization. Part of his hatred toward the modern art movement had to do with the fact that many modern artists derived inspiration from the works of psychiatric patients, whom Hitler viewed as a burden on the state and sought to exterminate. “Art, Hitler came to believe, was an eternal value that could be passed on through the… body of the pure race, over the generations. The German people would be genetically healthy when they produced “good” art, while “bad” art was a symptom of their malaise.” People often speculate how the course of history may have changed had Hitler become a successful artist. Like the egomaniac that he was, Hitler considered himself to be the pinnacle of artistic talent. He was therefore shocked and enraged when struck by the reality of his artistic mediocrity, failing his art school entrance exams. His eradication of modern art and artists may have stemmed from a feeling of vengeance: “The artist-dictator… set aside his pencils and paints to work with humanity.” It was heartbreaking to read about the hundreds and thousands of asylum patients and children – all helpless victims – who were gassed and starved to death, tortured, and experimented on as a precursor to Hitler’s “Final Solution.” History books often glaze over this disturbing segment of Hitler’s extermination policies (perhaps because the numbers don’t compare to the millions of Jewish victims), but the details are nevertheless vital to our understanding of the Holocaust, and how a mass extermination of German citizens was allowed to be carried out. In short, I believe this to be essential reading for any art/history enthusiast, or anyone looking to delve into the more obscure details of Hitler’s regime.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Wow, what a remarkable book! Several sections includes graphic details of death (especially gassing) at the hands of the Nazis due to "economic" reasons which justified their heinous euthanasia scheme on the mentally ill. It was difficult to read but the subject very important to learn about. Psychiatric patients and those who were deemed imperfect were the first to be sterilized and then murdered, including many artists. Modernist art had to go, too. Billions of dollars worth of it in today's c Wow, what a remarkable book! Several sections includes graphic details of death (especially gassing) at the hands of the Nazis due to "economic" reasons which justified their heinous euthanasia scheme on the mentally ill. It was difficult to read but the subject very important to learn about. Psychiatric patients and those who were deemed imperfect were the first to be sterilized and then murdered, including many artists. Modernist art had to go, too. Billions of dollars worth of it in today's currency was burned and some was kept to be used as propaganda in displays which were free to the public (though interestingly, children were not admitted). "Degenerate" art was placed adjacent to professional art and the public was asked to judge for themselves which was better. What a cruel mockery! Hitler's dream was to become an artist and was convinced he was but experts didn't agree. He copied postcards and sold them to earn money to live. When he came into power he only allowed art HE was interested in. He took some of his favourite art with him underground. Thankfully some of the "degenerate" art had been secreted away. Hans Prinzhorn was a singer, doctor and art history expert. He became fascinated by the art of the mentally ill (and many really who were forced into asylums as they were inconvenient) so gathered a collection including that of Buhler who desperately tried to escape from the asylum in which he was imprisoned. Buhler dated his art which became a journal of sorts. Some of the "degenerate" art was judged to be on par with that of professionals. This new style of art became so attractive and revered that some professional artists such as Dali tried to force themselves to become insane in order to produce it. Surrealism was born and Breton and Ernst capitalized on it. Some of those who experienced war firsthand captured human suffering in art...and the medium wasn't always paper but whatever the artist could get their hands on. Though Modernist art isn't for me, it is easy to see where it comes from and reflects what the artist felt at the time, often nightmarish anguish. My sincere thank you to Random House Publishing for the privilege of reading this unforgettable book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Booty

    This is a fascinating and compelling story of how one psychiatrist, intrigued by what art created by patients committed long term to mental hospitals might reveal about their conditions, collected hundreds of samples of the work and eventually published a book about his work. This book, had a staggering impact far beyond what Hans Prinzhorn, it author, expected. Their work made other artists see the world anew, influencing the work of Klee, Picasso and Dali among many others. This artistic revol This is a fascinating and compelling story of how one psychiatrist, intrigued by what art created by patients committed long term to mental hospitals might reveal about their conditions, collected hundreds of samples of the work and eventually published a book about his work. This book, had a staggering impact far beyond what Hans Prinzhorn, it author, expected. Their work made other artists see the world anew, influencing the work of Klee, Picasso and Dali among many others. This artistic revolution took place as the Nazi party took power in Germany. With a frustrated and failed artist leading the nation, art was seen as nothing less than an emblem of moral health. In a perverse turn, the Propaganda Minister decided to illustrate what good art was by demonstrating what it was not. A gallery of degenerate art by the mental patients and artists influenced by them was assembled and exhibited drawing, in the end, millions of people. In the meantime, the patients themselves were being put to death for being unproductive and unwanted citizens of Germany. This is a powerful story and brings new information about Nazi Germany and a new perspective on the role that art played in it. I received and advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joann

    A well researched and well written account of the role of art in Hitler’s Germany and how Hitler used it for propaganda. The book focuses on the Prinzhorn collection of art by patients in asylums. Prinzhorn believed that these works deserved recognition and he spent his life collecting, protecting and writing about the works. The link with Hitler comes when he used this collection to demonstrate, in his opinion, how degenerate modern art of the time was. Mounting an exhibit which toured the coun A well researched and well written account of the role of art in Hitler’s Germany and how Hitler used it for propaganda. The book focuses on the Prinzhorn collection of art by patients in asylums. Prinzhorn believed that these works deserved recognition and he spent his life collecting, protecting and writing about the works. The link with Hitler comes when he used this collection to demonstrate, in his opinion, how degenerate modern art of the time was. Mounting an exhibit which toured the country, the propaganda was thick and convincing. Unbelievably convincing. Though we may think that everything has been written about this time in history, this book demonstrates there are still layers to be revealed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Edward Wendt

    An interesting examination of the approach to art by the National Socialists. This recounting goes back and forth between the works highlighted by Prinzhorn, and the maniacal outlook on art and history from the Fuhrer. It is a bit dry at times in the middle, but the beginning and ending are quite engaging.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Strike

    The Nazis loved art. It’s a fact. Some scholars would even argue that the entire Nazi movement was itself an aesthetic, something fleeting, and not at all solid. The leaders of the movement—among whom many were artists themselves—had strong opinions about what made for worthwhile art, an attitude which tragically extended past art to people. In his book, The Gallery of Miracles and Madness: Insanity, Modernism, and Hitler’s War on Art, journalist Charlie English aims to connect the dots between a The Nazis loved art. It’s a fact. Some scholars would even argue that the entire Nazi movement was itself an aesthetic, something fleeting, and not at all solid. The leaders of the movement—among whom many were artists themselves—had strong opinions about what made for worthwhile art, an attitude which tragically extended past art to people. In his book, The Gallery of Miracles and Madness: Insanity, Modernism, and Hitler’s War on Art, journalist Charlie English aims to connect the dots between art, madness, genius, and some of the lesser-known tragedies of the Nazi period. He accomplishes this by following two seemingly disparate threads: art and the rise of the Nazi movement. English then connects the dots through the lives of his subjects. And let’s be very real; The Gallery of Miracles and Madness follows a curious cast of characters. A doctor, and all-around weirdo, Hans Prinzhorn, an eccentric blacksmith turned asylum artist, Franz Karl Bühler, and egomaniacal monster and fan of water-color paintings and small moustaches, Adolf Hitler. English’s book begins by diving in to fin-de-siècle Germany and Austria, a place and time that would intrigue Alice and her white rabbit. This is the time period that birthed modern psychology, criminology, as well as the Avant Garde art movement. On the other hand, it is also a time associated with some of modernity’s worse excesses and inhumanity. English manages to wind these themes together by taking a look at a compelling and largely unknown art exhibit put forward by Dr. Prinzhorn. This exhibit was unique because it showcased pieces made by folks like Bühler who were currently patients of Germany’s mental health facilities. The good doctor thought that perhaps by studying work done by people suffering from maladies like schizophrenia and psychosis, we may stand to learn something about those conditions, and how people afflicted saw the world. It is a great idea, and Dr. Prinzhorn should be credited for that, and also for his lovely baritone singing voice, which apparently he had. This project is complicated when National Socialism rose in Germany, as Hitler’s vision for Germany’s future was very tied up in art. He wanted to create the Wagnerian ideal of Gesamtkunstwerk—a total work of art out of German society and her people. This meant to Hitler and his lackeys getting rid of those deemed ‘degenerate’ and unhealthy for the glorious future they envisioned for Germany. The idea that mentally ill folks were degenerate becomes tied to their art, and many are tragically murdered during Hitler’s euthanasia program. Their art remains however, and it is quite good. People like the master of nightmares himself, Alfred Kubin came to view the exhibition during its run, and praised Bühler’s work. What the world lost during the Nazi regime continues to be staggering. I really appreciated English’s work for many reasons, but most of all, it drew attention to a part of Nazi atrocities that does not often factor into popular discourse. The book was also eminently readable and enjoyable—a fact which is no small feat considering the subject material. English found a way to bring archival sources and the creations of these artists to life, and to therefore finally moved these masters of the craft back into the light. My thanks to English, Random House Publishing Group, and Netgalley for giving me an opportunity to read this excellent piece.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve 'Rat'

    Somewhere near Boston is a place called The Museum of Bad Art. Part of this book is about if that idea were run by a very bitter and bland artist who grew up to become a dictator. This is a very serious book, but still has a small element of The Producers (the bad guy opens up a gallery intentionally trying to make all of the work in it look bad and it's quietly very popular, but since people are legitimately and understandably fearing for their lives they bite their tongues even as it becomes t Somewhere near Boston is a place called The Museum of Bad Art. Part of this book is about if that idea were run by a very bitter and bland artist who grew up to become a dictator. This is a very serious book, but still has a small element of The Producers (the bad guy opens up a gallery intentionally trying to make all of the work in it look bad and it's quietly very popular, but since people are legitimately and understandably fearing for their lives they bite their tongues even as it becomes the most successful exhibit in history). There is a lot more to this book, but I'm sure other reviews will cover. Probably my favorite book I've gotten from NetGalley. An excellent story, well-told, well-structured, well-researched, super informative.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Peg - The History Shelf

    You can read my published review at The BookBrowse Review here: https://www.bookbrowse.com/mag/review... You can read my published review at The BookBrowse Review here: https://www.bookbrowse.com/mag/review...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julie Stielstra

    This extraordinary piece of work might be read in conjunction with Mary Lane's Hitler's Last Hostages (my review here). While Lane's excellent book covers some of the same ground, it focuses more on the Nazi looting of museums and private art collections to feed Hitler's own art obsession and desire for glorification of a new Aryan culture. English delves into the dark flip side (did you think it could get even darker ?): the demonization of modern art as exemplified in the Entartete Kunst (Dege This extraordinary piece of work might be read in conjunction with Mary Lane's Hitler's Last Hostages (my review here). While Lane's excellent book covers some of the same ground, it focuses more on the Nazi looting of museums and private art collections to feed Hitler's own art obsession and desire for glorification of a new Aryan culture. English delves into the dark flip side (did you think it could get even darker ?): the demonization of modern art as exemplified in the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition, specifically as a propaganda tool. This was built in association with a collection of art works - drawings, paintings, sculptures, and whatever media was available - done by the inmates of psychiatric institutions across Germany, assembled by an art historian turned psychiatrist named Hans Prinzhorn. Prinzhorn collected, studied, examined and published a book of hundreds of these works, and championed them as more than just proof or examples of the patients' pathologies, but as worthy works of creativity and artistry. Modern European artists were astounded and inspired by them. Hitler's cronies seized on the "art of insanity" and deliberately exhibited them side by side with the "degenerate" modern art they loathed as an object lesson in the imminent destruction of German culture: Look! These degenerate artists want us all to be like this! Crazy, ugly, insane - bet you can't pick out the ones by the lunatics from the so-called 'real' artists! This is what THEY want us to be! This is what these museums are spending your tax money on! It was all part of a carefully crafted campaign to vilify "the Other" and herald the new age to come of sunlit soldiers, beautiful blonde mothers, and apple-cheeked children in sunny meadows. Which meant that all those defective people - disabled, mentally ill, ugly - were "lives not deserving lives," "ballast lives," only undermining Germany's future and costing txpayers money. In fact, they were so expensive that it was recommended to asylum administrators to starve or beat them to death because it was cheaper than shipping them to the gas chambers (which they also did, loading up postal service buses to ferry them in). The hospitals and asylums were emptied of 70,000 disabled and mentally ill people, including children, who were then methodically murdered. And then their families were to be checked out, since they "produced" these defective people, it seemed likely they carried the defects also, and so... As much as we already know about Nazi horrors, it seems there are always more depths to which they went. And still, there were heroes who resisted them: the president of the German psychiatrists association objected, and helped hospitals hide their endangered patients. His name was Karl Bonhoeffer, father of Dietrich (and another son besides - also butchered by the Nazis). English introduces us to Prinzhorn and many of the artists, their work, and what became of them all (virtually every artist he collected was killed by the Nazis). It is an astonishing story, and fleshes out the role of art: not just as loot and bragging rights, but as a tool for the inculcation, explication, and justification of evil. The writing is brisk and vivid, as befits a veteran Guardian journalist covering the arts and international affairs. I wish the notes had been handled differently: supporting notes are collected in the back of the book, but not linked to pages or specific references, and rather are prose passages themselves. A good writer like English could have woven some of the supporting facts into the text, and then done a standard bibliography / footnote list, rather than make me keep flipping back and forth! In the 1960s, a psychiatry trainee at the Heidelberg hospital opened up a myseriously locked cupboard in a side room. There were the stacks and bundles of the fragile art works of the murdered inmates of Prinzhorn's era. They have been cleaned, restored, and now have their own museum, library, and exhibition space. As they should. Ruhe in Frieden.

  12. 4 out of 5

    John

    I approached this book unsure whether it was primarily an enquiry into the relationship between artistic potential and mental health or an exposition of the evil wrought by the Nazis using its belittling of modernist art as evidence. The answer, predictably perhaps as these two themes are causally linked, is that it is a bit of both. Personally I would have preferred more examination of the general theme. The case against the Nazis was established early in the book, and I felt that some of the su I approached this book unsure whether it was primarily an enquiry into the relationship between artistic potential and mental health or an exposition of the evil wrought by the Nazis using its belittling of modernist art as evidence. The answer, predictably perhaps as these two themes are causally linked, is that it is a bit of both. Personally I would have preferred more examination of the general theme. The case against the Nazis was established early in the book, and I felt that some of the subsequent detail of, for example the travelling shows of “degenerate” art had been more than adequately covered by previous authors, although I concede that this may be of great interest to those new to this chapter of history. Nevertheless a fine, well-written summary of a fascinating subject. Those drawn into the subject will want to move onto Hans Prinzhorn’s study from the 1920s entitled Artistry of the Mentally Ill, which forms one of the foundations of Mr English’s evidence base and which has been republished in an English language edition.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    One is almost staggered at the reach of Nazism that is exposed in this disturbing, but also entertaining look at modern art as it was seen by the Hitler and his party cronies. I was surprised at the end to find that the US Army was given Hitler's art that survived the war. The analysis of Hitler's work, as it has survived, fits the story I have seen elsewhere of how my great-great grandfather's refusal of Hitler as an art student was perfectly understandable. Modern critics have viewed his work One is almost staggered at the reach of Nazism that is exposed in this disturbing, but also entertaining look at modern art as it was seen by the Hitler and his party cronies. I was surprised at the end to find that the US Army was given Hitler's art that survived the war. The analysis of Hitler's work, as it has survived, fits the story I have seen elsewhere of how my great-great grandfather's refusal of Hitler as an art student was perfectly understandable. Modern critics have viewed his work as being empty of life - seems to fit rather well. The biggest part of the book dealt with how the Nazi Party found ways to deal with artists who had been diagnosed with mental illness. A rather shocking tale of bow the medical community ended up being in league with Nazis as a matter of course.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth Lee

    Dr. Prinzhorn, in the Germany between the wars, was fascinated by the art works created by those in asylums. His book on the art inspired modern artists such as Ernst, Breton and Dali. When the taste challenged, and art school denied, Adolf Hitler viewed these and modern expressionist art he declared them degenerate and demanded only bland Ayran art be available for the Germans. Goebbels, who had been an admirer of modern art, becomes Hitler's right hand man in decrying and destroying the art wo Dr. Prinzhorn, in the Germany between the wars, was fascinated by the art works created by those in asylums. His book on the art inspired modern artists such as Ernst, Breton and Dali. When the taste challenged, and art school denied, Adolf Hitler viewed these and modern expressionist art he declared them degenerate and demanded only bland Ayran art be available for the Germans. Goebbels, who had been an admirer of modern art, becomes Hitler's right hand man in decrying and destroying the art works. Hitler organizes the Degenerate Art exhibit, to warn the public, but it becomes the most visited exhibit in history. What the Nazi's did to the inmates, their own citizens, was hard to stomach. A fascinating book on the Nazi's art propaganda and a little known genocide.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    In this fascinating read, Charlie English both celebrates the scholarly work of Dr. Hans Prinzhorn, who collected and wrote about the art of psychiatric patients in Germany in the 1920s, and explains how Hitler used that work to create propoganda that sought to align modern art with insanity. The book also recounts the horror of Hitler's extermination of physically disabled and mentally ill children and adults in "Euthanasia Centers" in World War II. The scope is impressive here -- psychiatry, a In this fascinating read, Charlie English both celebrates the scholarly work of Dr. Hans Prinzhorn, who collected and wrote about the art of psychiatric patients in Germany in the 1920s, and explains how Hitler used that work to create propoganda that sought to align modern art with insanity. The book also recounts the horror of Hitler's extermination of physically disabled and mentally ill children and adults in "Euthanasia Centers" in World War II. The scope is impressive here -- psychiatry, art, political history, a brief biography of Hitler, and more. Highly recommended for readers interested in history, World War II stories, art history, and psychiatry.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Martin Wilkie

    A staggering journey from the individuals incarcerated in early 20 th Century asylums of Germany, through optimism of discovery and presentation of their art to the cultural wasteland of National Socialism and its unconscionable genocide. In places fascinating and inspiring - whereas in others extremely distressing and painful to read. I had no idea. The thesis is clear - the arts are central our common consciousness and relies on valuing the expression of individual experience.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This fascinating and tragic story of Hitler's use of art to promote his world view, and the pre-Holocaust of adults and children's deemed unworthy of life, is a critical chapter in Nazi history. English's engaging and well-written history sheds light on a much-ignored area of National Socialist history and culture and Hitler's own peculiar mentality and personality. Highly recommend. This fascinating and tragic story of Hitler's use of art to promote his world view, and the pre-Holocaust of adults and children's deemed unworthy of life, is a critical chapter in Nazi history. English's engaging and well-written history sheds light on a much-ignored area of National Socialist history and culture and Hitler's own peculiar mentality and personality. Highly recommend.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Grabs

    This book is a magnificent journey through the horrific events of WWII by looking at the role art played in creating their propaganda and used to justify their actions. A must-read for history or art buffs and should be required reading for anyone studying social history. Thank you NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read an advance reading copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marianne Villanueva

    Fascinating, especially the first half, which showed both how a collection was born (Hans Prinzhorn's) and Hitler's early years (More than anything, got me to sympathize -- sympathize! -- with young Adolf's profound loneliness) Fascinating, especially the first half, which showed both how a collection was born (Hans Prinzhorn's) and Hitler's early years (More than anything, got me to sympathize -- sympathize! -- with young Adolf's profound loneliness)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Excellent book! Fascinating book, although it is hard to read about Nazi atrocities. I knew Hitler wanted to be an artist, but didn't know much Hitler, and the Nazis, influenced art in Germany during the Reich. Excellent book! Fascinating book, although it is hard to read about Nazi atrocities. I knew Hitler wanted to be an artist, but didn't know much Hitler, and the Nazis, influenced art in Germany during the Reich.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Kukwa

    I enjoyed this, but many times it rather blurs the line between the topic of art and the topic of mental illness...and sometimes it travels into the territory of one at the exclusion of the other. Well written and well researched, but not quite as balanced as I hoped it would be.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  23. 4 out of 5

    Altheasus

  24. 5 out of 5

    Greta

  25. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  26. 4 out of 5

    Detroit

  27. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Muster

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

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