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Summary

A groundbreaking investigation of how the Nazis helped German tycoons make billions from the horrors of the Third Reich and World War II—and how the world allowed them to get away with it.

In 1946, Günther Quandt—patriarch of Germany’s most iconic industrial empire, a dynasty that today controls BMW—was arrested for suspected Nazi collaboration. Quandt claimed that he had been forced to join the party by his arch-rival, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, and the courts acquitted him. But Quandt lied. And his heirs, and those of other Nazi billionaires, have only grown wealthier in the generations since, while their reckoning with this dark past remains incomplete at best. Many of them continue to control swaths of the world economy, owning iconic brands whose products blanket the globe. The brutal legacy of the dynasties that dominated Daimler-Benz, cofounded Allianz and still control Porsche, Volkswagen and BMW has remained hidden in plain sight—until now.

In this landmark work, investigative journalist David de Jong reveals the true story of how Germany’s wealthiest business dynasties amassed untold money and power by abetting the atrocities of the Third Reich. Using a wealth of untapped sources, de Jong shows how these tycoons seized Jewish businesses, procured slave labourers and ramped up weapons production to equip Hitler’s army as Europe burnt around them. Most shocking of all, de Jong exposes how the wider world’s political expediency enabled these billionaires to get away with their crimes, covering up a bloodstain that defiles the German and global economy to this day.

©2022 David de Jong (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well written and researched

A decently written and researched, if unexceptional, historical examination of men who became wealthy in on the blood and bones of others.

They did this through luck, circumstance, bribery and miscellaneous criminal activity (in the form of the Nazi “Aryanisation” of Jewish assets as the basic example) before and during the war years.

The book seems to lack a driving force. It skips from one example to the next one until the reader loses track buried under a morass of described thievery.

The author has an agenda, a righteous one, perhaps but this fact only allows for a work that describes but does not explain the mechanics wherein a whole race of people were taken advantage of by beneficiaries who never really paid the price for their treachery and venality.



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Story which deserves the widest audience

Remarkable piece of research and writing delivered dispassionately to all the more chilling effect.

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Informative

Very well written, very informative, and well paced. A little one-sided in the modern chapters.

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vert well researched

not sure what I expected from this book. the title made me buy it. the story was very interesting.
the narrator was very good
definitely worth a listen