have begun reading the book and my first impression is extremely
positive. It is a wonderful gateway to the character of a
great human being; Goethe would have called Dorothy "eine
schöne Seele." Her letters exude such warmth and
intelligence, it is a breath of fresh air in the milieu
of Prussian aristocracy. And you did a beautiful job in
bringing out her sense of humor and humanity. Your comments
are very informative and make it an attractive narrative not
only about her, but about the time in Europe before the two
world wars. -- Robert S.
I got my copy
of the book and love it! I couldn't put it down! It connects
many of the dots that I have heard about from my parents
as well as my own time in Tubingen and Austria in the 1960s.
I think your narrative does a beautiful job providing context
as well as tying things together for the reader. I can't
help seeing some parallel to our present situation with
the "tea party" and her discussion of the political
situation in Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
I don't know whether you know this or not but my father
was in Germany in 1934 when the General Von Schleicher murders
took place that summer. I think it was called "Operation
Kolibri" (Kolibri is hummingbird in German). It made
a huge impression on him and he often spoke of a situation
where he was with friends in a Biergarten and heard the
paper boy shouting the news. The host came up to a member
of their party (a German) and whispered something into his
ear. Suddenly this friends face turned white, then green
and he said he had to go right then. Dad thought he was
going to be sick on the spot. I think dad wondered if this
person thought he might be next because he never heard from
him again. Dad said the next day everything was very quiet
in the streets. I remember him saying, "It was just
as though a trap door had suddenly closed." Needless
to say, it was a very dangerous time for anyone with anti
nazi feelings. Many thanks for getting such an interesting
story together. -- R.E.E.
book ! could not put it down. Really fabulous work. Congratulations.
can say right away that it is a scintillating study of a
family of great interest and significance. Every German
martyr of World War II should be raised from the dead and
accorded maximum honor. Your book does that, and it also
portrays a woman of tremendous charm and vitality whom one
would certainly have liked to get to know. Now through your
sensitive editing and discriminating comments one can get
to know her. I will say more about the public commentary
later, but for now congratulations on producing such a timely
and readable work. -- J.W.
so excited to hear about the successful introduction of your
edition of Dorothy von Moltke's letters on Sunday, Nov. 17th.
The "standing room only" is a great testimony to
the indomitable spirit of Dorothy as well as to your own effort
of making her life and letters available to the public. I
have just finished the book (both parts) and I am struggling
to find the right for words that adequately reflect my feelings
about its content. I was deeply moved by Dorothy's humanity,
by her spirit of fairness, by her honesty and clarity of thought,
and by her sense of commitment to Germany even when she did
not agree with its political development. I grew up, as
you know, between the two world wars, and I know that it is
very easy to dismiss the Germans as stupid, arrogant and vengeful
for embracing the Nazi movement. But Dorothy did not fall
into that trap, she did not like the Nazis, but she also saw
the tremendous economic hardship that was inflicted on the
German people after World War One and understood their plight.
In fact, Dorothy's comments on the German dilemma between
the two world wars are thoughtful, clear-eyed, and objective.
It is one of the best assessments of that period in European
history that I have read.
Helmuth von Moltke's strong commitment to Christian Science
was totally new to me. I had no idea that both he and Dorothy
visited Boston, that they did important translating work
for Christian Science, and that they both kept their faith
even in perilous times. I had never thought about it before,
but I am convinced now that Helmuth James von Moltke not
only learned his basic moral values from his parents, but
that Dorothy was the most immediate influence on his sense
of human decency and fairness, and that she inspired his
later efforts to create a democracy in Germany based on
equal rights and peaceful co-existence. I have always
admired Helmuth James von Moltke, but thanks to your book
I now have a better understanding of where his courage came
from. "The Letters of Dorothy von Moltke"
are one of the best books I have read in recent years, they
have not only given me a marvelous insight into the mind
and soul of Dorothy (Goethe would have called her "eine
schöne Seele"), but they have given me a much
deeper understanding of my own native land, which I left
in anger, but cannot forget. --
elegant job you have done weaving the letters into a cohesive
and sensitive narrative.
the family is so impressed and so grateful.
documented too. -- A.W.
Now I can
share with you that I am not a particular fan of reading historical
books, but your book is awesome. I had trouble putting it
down sometimes as your organization and timely remarks really
made it come alive. Such a terrible time in history. -- M.F.
the book! I loved it. You've done a great service. Thank you
ever so much. -- K.T.
finished An Island of Peace. It was a page-turner,
a great read. -- G.W.
Just to say a sincere 'thank you' for the book about Dorothy
von Moltke written by Catherine Hammond. It arrived safe and
sound about four days ago and I have been reading it ever
since. It is a superb book - well written and most interesting.
It has provided me with plenty to detail as to how my uncle
experienced Schweidnitz in 1925 in the house of Frau von Trotha.
The detail about Christian Science was also most informative
and very useful. - I.N.
I read the book in its entirety & enjoyed it very much.
was a remarkable woman living out the last days of feudalism
with grace & perception. She precedes Shirer and possibly
Churchill in noting the absence of proportion in the German
character. I thought your historical editing/ commentary
was very good and note that you had some qualified advisors.
I think the title you chose was a good one. Needless to
say, it was a blessing for Dorothy to die in 1935 before
the war and the loss of two sons. Her explanation for Germany
going to war in 1914 makes as much sense as anything I've
read, although I am not a student of WW I. She clearly saw
a war of revenge in the offing after 1918. - C.P.
to Cynnie I have a copy of your book "Island of Peace
in an Ocean of Unrest" - And what a wonder it is -
so full of historical and personal interest, all woven
together into a most fascinating book. I am so impressed
with the job you did - you may possibly remember our friend
whose mother was a Christian Scientist of some note. And
Clark is history buff especially concerning that war (in
which he was wounded twice) so he will be waiting for me
to finish the book with some impatience! So you see, your
book has all kinds of resonances. Well, probably for everyone
who gets to read it. - M. M.
I have enjoyed reading every one of Dorothy von Moltke's
letters, with your ever-helpful narrative bridges. Hers
is so much the voice of an adoring daughter to parents so
far away. I was intrigued by some of her recurring usages
("the Boy" to refer to Helmuth James and "the
Y.T." to refer to her spouse
any info re why
those usages?). What a good time you had putting together
this book. - R.B.
In the spirit of Dorothy von Moltke, I'm going to write you
a good old-fashioned letter, to say how & why I've enjoyed
it's given me insight into a well-off person's life. (Though
not entirely a "life of leisure," since I understand
her many duties on the estate. And, I loved her appreciation
of nature, and how they'd take moonlight walks and wintry
rides and skiing.
I love the peacefulness of the everyday routines, and her
love of her parents, (and theirs for her). And the growth
of the children. And, inevitably, I've learned of the encroachment
of the war and the failed economy, leading to Hitler's strange
degrees of acceptance and control. We look in the mirror
and see much of the same here, today.
I've only read Part I, I eagerly look forward to Part II
and expect that part to mean a lot to me.
you, Kate, for all the years of research, collecting, interviewing,
and selecting letters. It is a wonderful book, telling of
a family with wonderful strengths.
radio interview was also great. Hats off to you for pursuing
a line of great interest which now will benefit many! -
to thank you so much for the book you wrote. It is excellent,
I loved every bit of it. The way you connected the letters
Dorothy von Moltke wrote and brought out your ideas just
at the right place in telling the stories about the Moltke
family and her family from South Africa, all well educated
and from a noble family, is simply wonderful.
their view of the upcoming Nazis. So much of that was new
to me; I guess I was too young to see the whole picture
early on. We lived in East/West Prussia, far away from Berlin.
I never accepted a DOM (Nazi) leadership role. When the
people from our area wanted to go to Berlin or to say (?)
to the West, they had to go by train that was locked until
they were out of the Corridor which was Polish. You may
remember this from reading the Zayas book, "Anmerkungen
der Vertreibung den Deutschen aus den Osten" ["Observations
of the Expulsion of the Germans from the East"].
book was such good reading. I learnt a lot.
again I want to thank you for your wonderful book. I love
it and will go back to ti again and again. - C.K.
loaned me this wonderful book of Dorothy von Moltke's letters
and your weaving of their stories into the history of Germany
during much of the Twentieth Century. You have a wonderful
writing style, both in clarity of organization and in depicting
events taking place at the time of this dramatic history.
to you on a book well-written! - B.