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Young Adolf by Beryl Bainbridge

Beryl Bainbridge’s late 70s short novella is based on an alleged visit by the 16-year-old Adolf Hitler to his brother and sister-in-law who occupied a modest dwelling in the poor part of Liverpool. The book received a cool reception from most of us; some thought a major fault was that, although there were references to the Hitler we know from history (his brother was briefly in Liverpool and there are politico/socio soliloquies which could only have come from someone with Hitler’s political leanings), the book could almost have been written  about any awkward 16-year-old German teenager visiting his brother’s impoverished family in the 1930s. The author was on her home territory and we know she was raised in relative poverty, thus the descriptions of Liverpool’s back streets, and the contrasting magnificence of the Adelphi Hotel were all vividly described.

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