Hans Hellmut Kirst

Biografie şi Bibliografie

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Hans Hellmut Kirst (December 5, 1914 - February 13, 1989) was a distinguished German author from Osterode, East Prussia who wrote many books which have been translated into English.

Kirst, a World War II veteran, had his first success with the Gunner Asch series of novels. Published in German as the trilogy; "Band: 08/15 in der Kaserne, 1954", "Band: 08/15 im Krieg, 1954", and "Band: 08/15 bis zum Ende, 1955", and later followed up with the novels, "08/15 heute, 1963" and "08/15 in der Partei, 1978", they follow the career of a soldier from before World War II, to the Eastern Front, and finally to post-war Germany. The books were published in English as:

    * "The Revolt of Gunner Asch" [1955]
    * "Forward, Gunner Asch!" [1956] (also published as "Gunner Asch Goes to War")
    * "The Return of Gunner Asch" [1957]
    * "What Became of Gunner Asch" [1964]

At the end of the war, Asch was a Lieutenant as Kirst was.

Kirst wrote other novels about the corruption of Germany and its armed forces by Nazism. Kirst's best known work is "The Night of the Generals" (published in German as "Die Nacht der Generale," 1962) about an investigation into a series of murders of prostitutes during and after World War II. The book was made into the successful 1967 film of the same name.

Other major novels by Kirst set during the Third Reich and World War II include; "Officer Factory" (published in German as "Fabrik der Offiziere, 1960") about the investigation into the death of a training officer in an Officer School near the end of World War II, "The Castle", "Camp Seven Next Stop", "The Fox of Maulen" (subsequently re-named "The Wolves") and "The Nights of the Long Knives" (about a fictitious SS squad of six hit men). All of these novels were translated by J Maxwell Brownjohn and show Kirst's unique blend of deadpan humour and devastating satire. Characters are often shown positioning themselves as outspoken ardent Nazis during the Third Reich era, and than being equally ardent in claiming to have been anti-Nazi -- and to be 100% pro-democracy or pro-communist, whichever is to their advantage -- after the end of the Nazi era.

Kirst's non-World War II themed novels include; "The Seventh Day", a nuclear holocaust story that received worldwide acclaim and was dubbed "so convincing, that it doesn't seem like fiction at all", and "Die letzte Karte spielt der Tod, 1955", a fictional account of the life of Soviet spy Richard Sorge that was published in English as "The Last Card" and "Death Plays the Last Card".

Kirst also wrote a series of detective novels set in Munich in the 1960s and published in English translations as "Damned to Success" (and also as "A Time for Scandal"), "A Time for Truth", and "Everything has a Price".

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