Jim Mannell : I Write

What the Book is About

Two thirty-year-old men, separated by sixty years of twentieth century history and a distance of 17,000 kms, suffer traumatic change to their young lives, each suffering violent head injuries and facing a grim struggle to survive, one hovering between life and death in hospital and the other with severe memory loss at a perilous and confusing time in history.

A happy, charismatic and irrepressible Australian scholar of Germanic history and researcher into his own German parentage, Mike Hilgard is plunged into depression, grief and irrational guilt by a series of tragic events in his family life, particularly the recent road death of his young wife. His downward spiral into emotional surrender culminates in an apparent suicide attempt. At a hospital in Sydney a bedside vigil is maintained by his distraught sister and a friend of his dead wife, who become increasingly drawn to his research work, but pessimistic about his chances of recovering….

In a military hospital in Munich of the Twenties, Dieter Rattinger, a member of the DAP, a fledgling workers’ party, emerges from his coma into a gradually unfolding nightmare of shattered memory and social turmoil.  To his supportive best friend, whom he doesn’t appear to know, Dieter begins to undergo an incomprehensible and alarming psychological change that makes him a danger to himself and increasingly unpopular with the DAP. His old friend is hard-pressed to protect him.  Meanwhile Dieter, the reluctant pin-up boy for Aryan supremacy, is being stalked by a vengeful young Jew…

A final dramatic change takes place in the lives of the two men when an irresistible connection is made between them.