Critical Acclaim for 'The Third Reich's Elite Schools'

Thus far, Helen’s second book The Third Reich’s Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas has received critical acclaim in ten different periodicals, ranging from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to Historical Studies in Education.

You can find some highlights of these reviews below, as well as a full list here.

The Third Reich’s Elite Schools can lay claim to the status of a standard work […] The book’s great merit lies in its abundance of meticulously researched case studies […] At no point in her account does Roche indulge in moralisation or judgment, and that makes her investigation all the more nightmarish and impressive.” – Rüdiger Gröner, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Roche has managed what very few historians of institutional or organizational studies are able to do: she has successfully embedded the historical trajectory of an understudied system of Nazi elite schools in the wider currents of German and European history, employing a balanced and empathetic analytic approach, crystal-clear prose, and easy-to-follow expositional structure. Her work is therefore guaranteed to appeal to a wide and varied readership and hopefully attract other historians to this vital scholarly arena […and is] written with a keen eye for the modern reader.” – Tim Mueller, H-German

“[E]xtensive, detailed and thorough… an essential reference point for future investigations into this field. This applies not only to historians of education but more broadly to people interested in the Nazi period and Nazi rule in particular… [Roche’s] critical handling and deconstruction of autobiographical narratives […] is exemplary […] Overall, in combining a detail-oriented narration with anecdotal evidence, the book […] explains the multifaceted functioning of the Napolas and of Nazi rule in an informative and captivating manner.” – Lisbeth Matzer, History of Education

“The first comprehensive study of these National Socialist educational institutions […], founded on an impressive source base […] Roche very effectively carves out the schools’ ambivalent relationship between tradition and innovation […] Overall, with her source-rich and interestingly-written total history of the NPEA, which includes countless individual case studies, Roche has not only achieved a weighty contribution to the history of education, but also offers beyond that vital insights into countless subjects of contemporary historical research” – Jana Wolf, Sehepunkte

“…an incredibly detailed, richly described, and meticulously researched book contribution to the education history of Nazi Germany… A word like “comprehensive” does not…capture just how detailed and expansive this study is. The source material Roche drew upon is mind-bogglingly varied and extensive. …the conclusions to each chapter fulfill Roche’s intention of embedding this educational history within the wider contexts of Third Reich history. The Napolas do indeed reveal the basic mechanics of the Hitler dictatorship writ small. The Third Reich’s Elite Schools thus reminds us how enlightening and important the history of education can be.” – Kristin Semmens, Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire de l’éducation

“…a comprehensive, timely account… Helen Roche’s synthesis of long years’ research on the “avant-garde of the Volksgemeinschaft” offers a highly welcome contribution to the history of the perversion of educational practice under National Socialism.” – Klaus-Peter Friedrich, Neue Politische Literatur

“…a new foundational work on the topic… Roche’s analysis is thorough and sound [with] a writing style that is both informative and easy to follow… Overall, Roche’s book is a fine work of scholarship that deals with a subject that needs serious revision. She successfully distills her vast amounts of research into an easily consumable volume that is an asset to any historian studying the Third Reich.” – James Lautens, H-War

“This is a monograph that will be of interest to scholars and students of education and of the Third Reich alike. Roche has written a comprehensive and meticulous survey of a very specific area of German history, using an extensive source base… Throughout[,] Roche balances the detailed and divergent experiences of individual schools and students whilst highlighting the wider connections to the history of the Third Reich these experiences demonstrate. Her introduction argues for treating educational history not as a subgenre but as a valuable prism for exploring wider historical trends and how the ideals of a regime are inculcated in the next generation. This well-researched and scrupulously referenced monograph ably demonstrates how this can be achieved.” – Robin Smith, German History