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April 29, 2024

Darkness Does Not Come at Once by Glenn Bryant ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Darkness Does not Come at Once 
is a look at one young crippled girl and how her life changes at the beginning of the war when the Nazi party decided that disabled people were useless and should be killed. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of historical fiction novel Darkness Does Not Come at Once by Glenn Bryant
April 2024; The Book Guild; 9781916668638
ebook, print (288 pages); historical fiction

Meike is a 17-year-old girl who was injured in an accident and uses a wheelchair.  She knows that she'll always be different but with the love and acceptance of her family, she knows that she can lead a good life.  Until the Nazi party decided that disabled people were not acceptable in their new Aryan society.  They told the families of disabled people that they were being put into a hospital so that they could remain safe until the end of the war.  The truth was much different. Disabled people were put into a hospital where they were beaten, starved, and treated horribly by the hospital staff who felt that the patients were useless members of society. Meike's father had been arrested so she and her sister went to their grandparents' home.  Her grandmother is very protective of her and tries to keep her safe from the new restrictions and from her sister who is a firm believer in the Nazi way of life.  There is also a young man across the road from her grandparents who tries to help her.  Her life in the hospital was horrible and she knew that death was near but the boy from her neighborhood and another friend of her grandmother's try to find her and find a way to get her released.

I've read other books about the way the disabled were treated in Germany during the war but they were on a broad perspective.  This book narrows it down and is about one young girl and her family facing the new views of society.  Once you start to know Meike and what she's gone through, it makes the genocide of the disabled much more focused and horrific.

This is a short but interesting look at the restrictions of the new Aryan society and the beginning of their plans to rid the world of all the people they felt diluted the power of their society.

Genocide of the Disabled in World War II:  Many Germans did not want to be reminded of individuals who did not measure up to their concept of a "master race" and were considered "unfit" or "handicapped." People with physical and mental disabilities were viewed as "useless" to society, a threat to Aryan genetic purity, and, ultimately, "unworthy of life." At the beginning of World War II, individuals with mental or physical disabilities were targeted for murder in what the Nazis called the "T-4," or "euthanasia," program.

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.

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  1. You've sold me. It sounds like a very powerful book. Thanks for the recommendation.