The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler

  • by Laurence Rees
  • Narrated by Michael Jayston
  • 12 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Adolf Hitler was an unlikely leader - fuelled by hate, incapable of forming normal human relationships, unwilling to debate political issues - and yet he commanded enormous support. So how was it possible that Hitler became such an attractive figure to millions of people? That is the important question at the core of Laurence Rees’ new book.
The Holocaust, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the outbreak of the Second World War - all these cataclysmic events and more can be laid at Hitler’s door. Hitler was a war criminal arguably without precedent in the history of the world. Yet, as many who knew him confirm, Hitler was still able to exert a powerful influence over the people who encountered him.
In this fascinating book to accompany his new BBC series, the acclaimed historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees examines the nature of Hitler’s appeal, and reveals the role Hitler’s supposed ‘charisma’ played in his success. Rees’ previous work has explored the inner workings of the Nazi state in The Nazis: A Warning from History and the crimes they committed in Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution. The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler is a natural culmination of 20 years of writing and research on the Third Reich, and a remarkable examination of the man and the mind at the heart of it all.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent history of the leader of the third reich

An excellent account of the dark personal history of the most infamous man in history. Gripping and very interesting account of how this truly awful man had the german people in his hand for so long despite the turn in the war, read very well by Michael Jayston. The only negative is the relentless hatred of the man can be hard to listen to sometimes, for he was a truly awful awful man. Fans of history should give this a listen, great stuff.
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- Dr Zube

A convincing case for Hitler's personal influence

I think Laurence Rees has enough material for a cracking essay on the nature and influence of Hitler's charisma, but not quite enough for a whole book. Instead Mr Rees gives a fairly complete account of the rise and fall of Hitler, with special attention to the influence of Hitler's personality and speeches. Rees makes quite a convincing case for the critical importance of Hitler - not just as a dictator operating via terror, but a persuasive politician and leader. Hitler's charisma was a function of the time and situation, and how well he read the mind of the mann on the Munich omnibus. It didn't work on everyone even then, and it could only work with an audience primed to respond. He fed (and fed on) a feeling of indignation and being disrespected, but actually promised very little (politically speaking). He created a feeling of unity among German peoples by conjuring up an enemy, few enough in number not to worry the majority. He was consistent and genuine in his obsessions. He was canny and cunning in bringing people along with him, step by step.

The narration is superb. Somehow Michael Jayston manages to impersonate the speakers without resorting to silly accents. William Shirer has an American lilt without it being an impersonation, and Hitler's quotes are not done with an German accent (which would be unforgivable in my book) but they come over with a certain intonation that seems Germanic none-the-less. Just how a non-fiction book should be read. The stopping places co-incide with the chapters, which is again how it should be (but often isn't).
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- Judy Corstjens

Book Details

  • Release Date: 13-09-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audiobooks