Streets of Tears
Larry J. Hilton
Newport Publishing (2020)
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (01/2022)
“Streets of Tears” is a chilling story, told from a unique point of view, focusing on the vilest faction of human history. Hilton explores the Austrian mindset in a way that feels nonfiction at times with his accurate and detailed portrayal of real-life events. Readers are able to brush the surface of how Hitler’s regime came to power and lead such a hideous massacre in the name of “purity.”
World War II is a densely populated field for writing, both in the fiction and nonfiction spheres. It is a war that so deeply impacted the world that it created a vat of stories from individuals—so many, in fact, that we will never get a chance to hear them all. However, a common theme amongst most WWII books is that they often take the view that Germany was in the wrong. Of course, this is entirely accurate and absolutely the case. Yet, we tend to overlook the fact that at one time people believed and followed Hitler’s antisemitic rhetoric enough that a war broke out and millions were beaten, tortured, and killed for his cause. Those who were carrying out Hitler’s “racial cleansing” agenda believed they were doing the right thing.
Cruelty is something I cannot begin to understand; it is not in most people’s nature, nor does something like the events of WWII from Germany’s point-of-view even begin to make sense. In this book, however, author Larry J. Hilton uses his writing talent to provide readers an understanding of the fragility Austria was experiencing that made them ripe for Hitler’s hate fueled program. “Streets of Tears” is written through the view of an SS officer, a BDM woman, and their parents. Readers can see how the Austrian mindset allowed for Nazi control even after the war ended. How they believed they were right and that the concentration camp photos they were shown were actually American propaganda.
Hilton successfully drops readers behind the lines of evil as he shows us the mindsets and culture leading up to, and through the events of WWII, from the side of Germany. This is a raw account of this horrific time period that weaves in stories we’ve come to know in the mainstream, such as the events depicted in “The Monuments Men” and “The Woman in Gold.”
“Streets of Tears” is a grand, well-researched work of historical fiction you do not want to miss.