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Destined to Witness

Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany
Durée : 19 h et 58 min
5 out of 5 stars (1 notation)

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Description

What would life be like for a black boy growing up in Nazi Germany? This unprecedented autobiography answers that question with the spellbinding true story of Hans J. Massaquoi’s life in Hamburg during the height of Hitler’s regime.

Hans is the son of a black Liberian diplomat father and a white German mother. His father returns to Africa at the beginning of the war, leaving them behind in poverty and without the means to flee. Bewildered, Hans is force-fed ceaseless anti-semitic and anti-African propaganda in his schools. Within this tense atmosphere, increasingly violent Nazi policies and Allied bombing raids make Hans and his mother’s lives a desperate day-to-day struggle for survival.

Through countless close calls, Hans perseveres by his ingenuity, strength of character and a liberal dose of good luck - eventually going on to find his father in Liberia and emigrate to America.

Peter Jay Fernandez’s intense narration brilliantly punctuates all of the tragedy and triumph in this monumental audiobook.

©1999 Hans J. Massaquoi (P)2001 Recorded Books

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Notations

Global

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Histoire

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  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher
  • 04/03/2015

An important story, marred by lackluster writing.

Anyone wondering what the life of an ordinary person (i.e. not a political figure, or the types usually biograph-ized) was like under Nazi rule will learn a lot from this book; Massaquoi goes into great detail discussing his daily life, and it's from a rare and interesting perspective. I was struck by how normal his life was (until the war) and one of the important and sobering takeaways from this book is that the racism he endured under the Nazis was in many ways less severe than what he experienced in America -- and what many black people still suffer through here today.
Though it's certainly worth a listen if the above appeals to you, Massaquoi's story is bogged down by rather tedious writing. He lacks the ability to make a scene really come to life, and offers few vivid descriptions. Worse, he repeatedly makes the rookie mistake of telegraphing the result of a scene beforehand: he'll say something along the lines of (to paraphrase) "I had a bad feeling about this, and my fears would turn out to be well founded," and to THEN write the scene in which that happens, thus removing any chance at narrative suspense. And he does this ALL THE TIME.
The reader has a pleasant voice and cadence but his emotional range is rather limited and he struggles with the German words.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MALACO
  • 14/02/2015

A Great Read

What did you love best about Destined to Witness?

The story was well written and you could feel the reality of his day to day existence. His story was so much like many of ours, except he was in an entirely different environment.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hans, his willingness to open up and share his personal experiences, the good the bad and the foolish, it took a lot of courage. He was a lucky fellow to have survied the many close encounters with almost certain disaster.

What about Peter Jay Fernandez’s performance did you like?

The narration was good. I read the hard copy afterwards, which was more enjoyable after hearing some of the German phrases.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

This would be a really entertaining movie. BLACK KID IN NAZIS GERMANY? or
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: Black in Nazis Germany

Any additional comments?

A unique fascinating story. It makes you wonder what other stories are out there, that we just don't know about and what were there outcomes. I recommend this to everyone.

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daryl
  • 15/08/2014

Destined to Witness - a Gripping biography

What made the experience of listening to Destined to Witness the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed Mr. Massaquoi's introspection, and his willingness to acknowledge his mistakes without beating himself up or excusing them. Things were the way they were, and- good, bad or ugly - everyone had to try and survive in nazi Germany even if one's race made them an obvious potential target.

What does Peter Jay Fernandez bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I have never listened to his performances, but I will definitely check them out soon. His German is a little awkward, but this is a minor quibble in a stellar performance.

Any additional comments?

This book made me think about how any culture views race. Even as a white person, my lack of acknowledgement of race is, by itself, a comment on my racial views. I will pick up this book again.

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 15/07/2013

A Well Told of a Life in the Head Winds

The Narration: Seamless. The inflections and tenor of the narrator made this easily one of the most aesthetically enjoyable reads I can compare in my years listening to audio books.

The Content: Destined to Witness is a cradle to middle age narrative which is rich the experiences that men face growing up, which brings one close to the writer's experience. The story then begins to ascend like a roller coaster ticking up the first precipice; as the implications of the time and setting this man was born into reveal their eminence in history and set the stage for a great story.

I can pay no greater compliment than to say the emotions and thoughts conveyed in the book had me swaying like sports fan watching a live game in over time. For such a harrowing tale there is an uncanny optimism, as the writer does not shrink from expounding his good experiences in equal measure to his tribulations.

Over All: This is a story all should read, not simply for a wonderful message which will stimulate your thoughts, but because it is a great listen and well worth a credit at it's 19 hour running time which had me engrossed throughout.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tobey
  • 29/06/2013

One of the most amazing books I've ever read!!

Any additional comments?

This is one of the most incredible stories I've ever heard! Such a different perspective than most WW II memoirs. I couldn't put it down! A must listen for anyone, really!

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Read2Reggio
  • 08/03/2019

Amazing listen

beautifully written about his life. know one thinks about the biracial children during Nazi rule.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jessica
  • 03/11/2018

Easily the best book I have read this year

I cannot recommend this book enough. I got it as a recommendation from my boyfriend and I couldn’t stop listening to it. Amazing story in a very pleasant narration.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynn Snarr
  • 23/07/2018

Excellent

Excellent book. It is so compelling. Of all the books I've heard on audible this is my first time making a comment. That is a testament to this outstanding book.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SiR Tin Man
  • 17/04/2018

Dope listen...

I really enjoyed listening to this book. Great to get the insight on a Black man's plight & upbringing during the Nazi era.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • NgoziWinif
  • 02/11/2017

All should read this detailed story of the life of Hans Massaqoui

I found this book intriguing. It allows one to experience the life of people living in Nazi Germany and two subsequent countries, Liberia and the USA & offers much in gaining an understand of the varied thoughts of the people living under the rulership at that time. The story opens up one’s understanding bringing compassion for the suffrage of those not in agreement with the rulership of the day. Fantastic read