Allen Lane buys Third Reich drugs book

Allen Lane buys Third Reich drugs book

Allen Lane has acquired an “extraordinary” new book on the Third Reich and drug use, which was published in Germany this month.

Publishing director Simon Winder bought world English rights to Norman Ohler’s Der Totale Rausch (Total Intoxication) from Tanja Howarth at Tanja Howarth Literary Agency in London.

Der Totale Rausch is a “remarkably researched” account of the role of drugs in the Third Reich – from the over-reliance on a wide range of drugs by the top leadership to the industrial use of all kinds of stimulants among soldiers and civilians.

It shows how a culture of drug abuse was at the heart of the Nazi project – fuelling everything from the endurance-levels of troops to chaotic decision-making by Hitler, Goering and many others.

Winder said: “This is a book which makes us think again about the nature of the Third Reich. One of the early Nazis crusades had been to wipe out the ‘decadent’ drug culture of Weimar Berlin, but they ended up industrially producing drugs for great swathes of the population. 

“While never blaming the leadership’s drug use for their ideology, Ohler makes it clear that many of the leadership, including Hitler (who became disastrously reliant on cocaine, morphine and amphetamines) was increasingly incapable of rational decision-making.”

Howarth said: “In Total Intoxication, Normal Ohler gives us a new insight into the hidden secrets of warfare in the Third Reich and I hope it will be read over as many years as Perfume.”

Der Totale Rausch was published last week in Germany by Kiepenheuer & Witsch.

The English language edition will be published as an Allen Lane hardback in autumn 2016.