By Crane Brinton
THIS is, first, a brilliantly devastating account of Nietzsche as man and as philosopher. (‘The Supermen, it they come, will probably forget him, along with the rest of history. Until they come, his work will doubtless continue to look rather more like a Rubaiyat than a Koran.') It is, secondly, an even more devastating account of how the official apologists of National Socialism have distorted, falsified, and suppressed him in order to jack their warped structure on to an underpinning of respectable holy writ. Every one of Mr. Brinton’s pages is a fresh demonstration of a really superb talent for critical mockery. (‘The emotional tone of Nietzsche’s life and writings . . . is much like what we hear of the emotional tone of inner Nazi circles. The unrelieved tension, the feverish aspiration, the driving madness, the great noise Nietzsche made for himself, the Nazi elite is making for an uncomfortably large part of the world. But these are vague, grand terms. The situation can be described much more simply. Nietzsche, like the Nazi leaders, was never really house-broken.’) The volume inaugurates a series, ‘ Makers of Modern Europe,’ edited by Donald C. McKay and Dumas Malone. If the series can continue as it begins, it will be worth watching. W. F.