Young Adolf: An Alternate History
by Frank P. Daversa
PageTurner Press and Media

"The soreness was gone by then, but the feeling of wrongness was as pervasive as it had been since he had awoken on the Friar’s cot."

Daversa effectively engages readers with the story of Adolf, a young Austrian boy. As the book opens, readers are sympathetically immersed in the confusion of a male youngster about to be beaten then protected by his mother. This is followed by other key life events such as the birth of a baby sister, suspension from school, involvement with a drunken Friar, learning breathing exercises in a monastery, trying to relate to a dog, fainting, learning the importance of keeping one's word, feeling emotionally powerless, and also being physically abused.

Adolf begins to fail socially, overcome with guilt and anger. The beatings described that he gets from his father are graphic. The family decides to move. The interactions among siblings are intense. Daversa's clear, bold, and emphatic writing leaves no doubt as to the impact the early childhood treatment had upon the character of the future Nazi leader: "Adolf felt his muscles protest as he uncrossed his legs and first got to his knees, and then, when he tried to stand, he gritted his teeth as the soreness of his father's spanking returned." The atmosphere is just as grim in the new school. Social awkwardness and anti-Semitism as a response surface.

Emotionally gripping, fast-paced language hurtles readers through life's brutal and dark obstacles, leaving no doubt as to the reason for the course that emerged for the protagonist. Deep feelings are described well, vicariously pulling readers into a series of bottomless pits from which it is impossible to escape except by "rummaging through his father's library" where he "found a collection of books that contained accounts and illustrations from the Franco-German War of 1870." There the boy "found refuge from his depressive thoughts in the heroic war stories the volumes recounted." The rest is history, which from reading this book is more deeply understood.

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