to see. A woman ostensibly placid andnobedient, whose obeisance could be describednas “the spineless calm thatnsometimes accompanies doing what isnexpected of one.” A woman cognizantnof her husband’s involvement with thennazis yet choosing to maintain the treasurednfamily illusion that father is anlocksmith, though he works too manynhours of the day and night for such anprofession and comes home late inngrease-stained clothing that no locksmithnjob could create. A woman who,nbedridden for three years with a kidneyndisease, chooses to emphasize to hernchildren her husband’s kindness in caringnfor her through her illness rathernthan the nightly pilgrimages made bynher husband to the maid’s bedroom,njourneys of which everyone in thenhousehold, including the mother, isnpoignantly aware. Perhaps, as Day suggests,nsuch capacity for delusion, fornself-imposed blindness, demonstratesnhow or why nazism bound the collectivenGerman psyche and resulted in thenatrocities of World War II. People didnnot see themselves or their situationsnas they were. The nazi policeman presentednhimself to his family and hisncommunity as a locksmith; the devotednhusband by day became the adulterernat night, who still saw himself the nextnday as the center of moral probity fornhis family. Dissociation, perhaps thisnwas the villain in Day’s eyes—that immeasurablynstrong capacity in humannbeings to remove themselves from responsibilitynfor their actions.nThis conclusion, that human beingsnlie to themselves and very often performnimmoral actions under moralnguises, seems the best insight into thenmainspring of nazi Germany that Dayncan offer in Ghost Waltz, yet she seemsnto want more. There is some refusal onnDay’s part to let such a massive evil asnnazism rest upon such simple explanationsnas human frailties. The horror thatnher parents were associated with, “history’snworst,” the nazis, seems to propelnDay to find some extremely complexnexplanation for their behavior, when.nin fact, the true explanation is the simplest.nPeople do what they do to survive,nand when survival becomes one’s primarynmotivation, ethics serves no purpose.nIn the battle for survival, ethicsnbecomes the ultimate obstacle and thusnis readily abandoned.nThat Day brings us to this conclusionn”C/ ir„7.’:. is II pinnicriioir . . .”nis not surprising, nor is it particularlynilluminating. In fact, Day’s philosophizingnseems but a watered-down versionnof Hannah Arendt’s view in The HumannCondition or Eichmann in Jerusalem ofnthe banality of human evil. It’s not thatnDay consciously mimics or restatesnArendt’s views—although if Day’s researchnfor Ghost Waltz is as extensivenas she claims, she must undoubtedlynhave been aware of Arendt’s writingsn—it is just that some human motivations,nsupposedly complex, reducenthemselves to nothing more than a desirenfor self-preservation. Examinationnof “history’s worst” and of the legionsnof everyday, simple people who respondednto Hitler’s command to execute sixnmillion people with as much resistancenor moral debate as would accompany thenpaying of a phone bill is certainly anworthy goal for any author interestednin history’s outcomes to pursue. Butn”pursue” is the essential element here,nor rather, more precisely, “penetratento.” Melville’s Ahab in Moby Dicknunderstands the fundamental perceptionnthat if one is to come to terms withnevil, to meet it, face it, understand itnfor what it is, one must “strike throughnthe mask.” Day’s failure to do morenthan to record with puzzlement how hernparents could have acted as they did isna failure to be aggressive with her subject,npossibly arising out of a failure tonunderstand it. If there is so little to saynabout one’s parents, why make them thenfocus of Ghost Waltz, and if Day herselfnand her inner being intrude upon thenmemoir, why is she not the subject asnnnopposed to the supposedly detached observernand recorder.” The answer maynwell reside in the fact that Ghost Waltznis more a catharsis for Day, the unjumblingnand unraveling of a series of painfulnand puzzling memories in the hopenthat, given artistic form, they wouldnalso yield clarification and a certain un-nI’. iuvfiil. ililliculi. rtticiivi;. jiul c’.nvni(.-ly Innililini;n-M.-.nburdening of guilt and confusion.nWhile catharsis may be an interestingnand noble aim for Day, it does notncreate for the reader a cogent or convincingnexperience. The final chaptersnor vignettes of Ghost Waltz prove thatnby switching from the recounting of anneighborhood child’s Bar Mitzvah tonDay’s sentiment-laden description ofnChristmas in Austria with her daughter.nWhat these two chapters have to donwith each other or with the central topicnof Ghost Waltz one can legitimatelynwonder. In fact, one could legitimatelynwonder what one is reading about at all,nsince Day’s parents, nazism, the naturen17nJttly/Attgttst 1981n