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The Nazi Occult

The Nazi Occult Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review September 2013 Title The Nazi Occult
Author Kenneth Hite Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2013 ISBN 9781780965987
Format 60 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $17.95


Werewolves.  Flying saucers.  The Grail.  Majestic.  And Ian Fleming.

Another History Channel production?  Or Indiana Jones plot?  Nope.  It's the first volume in Osprey Publishing's new "Dark Osprey" series: The Nazi Occult.

And what oddly alluring account it is.

Author Kenneth Hite "attempts to synthesize and systematize the history of the Nazi occult".  And he launches his curious compendium by stressing that Adolph Hitler himself, a "pragmatic", "street-brawling politician, scoffed at occultists."

Their bizarre beliefs, Hite argues, did not propel repulsive Nazi racial policies and mass murder.  Instead, "occultists who surrounded Hitler, and who took advantage of the suspension of both morality and skepticism in his regime, used those killings for their own ends".

Fair enough.  But if some diseased, degenerate, delusional Nazi conjured it, Hite probably notes it.  He traverses the total topic: völkishe societies, Nazi party occultist roots, omnipresent Vril energy, "magico-military operations", lions, tigers and bears.  Oh, my!

Some sections nearly gave me whiplash.  And "Is this for real?" regularly and spasmodically spilled from my gaping jaw.  Did ERR archeologist Reinerth really enter into "communication with batrachian undersea beings dwelling in the Hellenic Trench"?  And did the US Government's "Inquiry Group" – "a team of Middle Eastern intelligence specialists" – really battle Germans for the Ark of the Covenant in 1939?

Duh, I don't know.  But beside Raiders of the Lost Ark fans, this byzantine little book should appeal to SS researchers and Luftwaffe '47 enthusiasts.  Then maybe we'll spy 54 mm Hexensoldaten at future IPMS meets – or, heaven forbid, endure egotistical Experten heatedly disputing Antarctic flying disk colors on web forums.

Now control your gag reflex.  From more, shall we say, "conventional" histories, some of Hite's subjects actually proved familiar.  But I never connected certain "dots" – until now.  So maybe I'll pay closer attention to those weird History Channel productions – and, as I did with this tiny tome, possibly learn something.

Portraits, photos, drawings and sidebars season Hite's surreal story.  Darren Tan's forceful, fanciful illustrations further flavor the tale's high strangeness.  And a handy glossary, robust index and selected sources – including movies and comics – neatly wrap things up.  My brain hurts!

So peruse this production on a dark and stormy night.  Fact or fiction, it's weirdly entertaining, competently presented, surprisingly stimulating and, well, just plain fun!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!