From his illegitimate birth in a small Austrian village to his fiery death in a bunker under the Reich chancellery in Berlin, Adolf Hitler left a murky trail, strewn with contradictory tales and overgrown with self-created myths. One truth prevails: the sheer scale of the evils that he unleashed on the world has made him a demonic figure without equal in the 20th century.
Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the character of the bizarre misfit in his 30-year ascent from a Viennese shelter for the indigent to uncontested rule over the German nation that had tried and rejected democracy in the crippling aftermath of World War I. With extraordinary vividness, Kershaw recreates the settings that made Hitler's rise possible: the virulent anti-Semitism of prewar Vienna, the crucible of a war with immense casualties, the toxic nationalism that gripped Bavaria in the 1920s, the undermining of the Weimar Republic by extremists of the Right and the Left and the hysteria that accompanied Hitler's seizure of power in 1933 and then mounted in brutal attacks by his storm troopers on Jews and others condemned as enemies of the Aryan race.
In an account drawing on many previously untapped sources, Hitler metamorphoses from an obscure fantasist, a "drummer" sounding an insistent beat of hatred in Munich beer halls, to the instigator of an infamous failed putsch and, ultimately, to the leadership of a ragtag alliance of right-wing parties fused into a movement that enthralled the German people.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Buzzzb on 15-09-16
A masterful piece of work that recounts how a failed and insignificant artist from Austria could come to power and lead a civilised country to war and encourage many to plummet the depths of inhumanity. Using a range of evidence from historical events and recounts of eyewitnesses the text flowed and keep me engrossed from start to finish.
I find the narrator was excellent and kept my attention throughout.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Rishi Tiwari on 20-04-18
Great historical record
This book refrains from providing a commentary on what happened but rather only reports what happened.
It doesn’t mentions the sociopolitical reasons adequately as to what led to the monster’s rise.
However the chronology is fantastic, detailed and I don’t believe one needs to read any other book after this to know further about the madness called Hitler, the person.
By margaret king on 23-11-16
Three times and counting
Authoritative and measured, Ian Kershaw recounts the arc of Hitler's life in a way that is accessible to observers of history. I have listened to the book three times -- it is fairly dense and I struggled at times to keep track of unfamiliar German names -- and each time it has been more enlightening. No doubt I will listen to it again.