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Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth [Paperback]

Gitta Sereny
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 10.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

9 Aug 1996

‘A masterpiece . . . a contribution to the effort of recuperation of human dignity at the end of this atrocious century . . . This is the account Joan of Arc would have given if she had been charged with interrogating Faust’ John Banville, Observer

‘A remarkable new biography – arguably the most important and certainly the most fascinating book about the Nazi era published in the last ten years . . . Gitta Sereny has written a masterpiece’ Robert Harris, Sunday Times

‘An essential experience that conveys like no other book the qualities of the Nazi elite . . . restoring emotion to people we would prefer to regard as soulless machines’ David Cesarini, Financial Times

‘A masterpiece of historical and inquisitorial technique, enables us to understand the ablest, most articulate, and most ambiguous of Hitler’s ministers’ Hugh Trevor-Roper, Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year

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Product details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (9 Aug 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330346970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330346979
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Gitta Sereny is a Hungarian-born biographer, historian and journalist. Her works include Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth.

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First Sentence
DR. HANS FLACHSNER [defense counsel]: With the permission of the High Tribunal, I should like to call the defendant Speer to the witness box. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Albert Speer was Hitler's architect during the 30's and Minister for Armaments during the Second World War, and after the war he was the only high-ranking Nazi to apologize and to renounce National Socialism. He was tried at Nuremberg, where he expressed contrition but always maintained that he himself was unaware of the genocide perpetrated by his party. He pleaded guilty to using slave labour in his arms factories and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. It was probably only his cooperative attitude, contrasting with most of his co-accused, that saved him from the death penalty. The British Chief Prosecutor Lord Shawcross later said:
My own view is one of great surprise that Speer was so leniently dealt with, and I still think it wrong that his subordinate Sauckel, who worked under his instructions, was sentenced to death while Speer escaped.

After his release, Speer wrote several bestselling books on the Nazis and often appeared on TV and in the print media, apologizing for the Nazi regime but always denying knowledge of the "final solution". Many applauded his bravery for attempting to confront the horrors of that time but others doubted his sincerity, claiming he must have known. In this book, Sereny weighs up the evidence. An important piece of evidence was uncovered in the early 70's, which indicated that Speer was present at a conference when Himmler spoke explicitly of "extermination" of the Jews. Speer claimed to have left the conference before that speech, but Sereny suggests this is untrue.

Speer was a very complex and interesting character, and this book is a very detailed portrait of him. Though his remorse was undoubtedly genuine, there was always a self-serving element to his character.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Albert Speer was undoubtedly an enigma and Gitta Sereny tries her hardest to unravel his mysteries. Speer seemed a mass of contradictions, and I finished this book still undecided as to his character. I felt the book presents him as an actor who seldom showed his true face. Compelling. You find yourself willing Sereny to condemn him, but she treats her subject with fairness and respect - whether he deserved it or not. What more could you ask of a biographer?
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A study in deception 16 July 2002
This book is superbly researched and thorough. It is also tremendously exciting and sustains a level of analysis which brings not only Speer but the whole of that period into sharp focus. With the new A2 History exams involving synoptic papers which have as their starting the analysis of documentary evidence this book is an absolute must for the able student. Quite apart from Speer's equivocations about the fate of the Jews and his knowledge of such matters, the study offers views on the other key figures in the story and their roles. The debate about Hitler and his dealings with his henchmen is superbly illustrated. Gita Seregny leaves no doubt about the centrality of Hitler, but opens up very interesting reflections on the rest, especially Himmler and Bormann. The vicious infighting after 1943 is described with great detail and irony.The book pauses from time to time with reflections that cover a whole gamut of other issues.... which themselves are sufficiently penetrating to invite further study. A true piece of academic research and a tremendous read in the process.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive, challenging and beautifully written. 13 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This is more than jut a book, it is an experience. Never have I been so eager to get to the next page, and at the same time absorb all the information on the page I was currently reading. This story of the man, Speer, was all the more convincing as it looked past his apologies to the victims of the Third Reich, and tried to find out what made him follow Hitler so zealously. At the same time it gives one a valuable insight into Hitler's court, Himmler, Goebbels etc., and their interactions, ambitions and personalities. This is a fantastic book and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An superb book 28 Nov 1999
An excellent account of the man at the centre of Hitler's circle, Gitta Sereny is a tremendous writer. Her facinating account of Albert Speer's life, from minister for Armaments under the Nazi regime to his 20 year spell in Spandau prison and his release into an hostile world, is a masterpiece. I could not put the book down.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Gitta Sereny handles her subject as professionally and thoroughly as she had in her interviews with Treblinka's last commandant, F. Stangl (serving a life sentence) in Into That Darkness. Her study of Speer, while exploring essentially the same questions, carries with it more dimension because Speer's life and personality had certain further dimension to them than had Stangl's. Whether covering aspects of his relationship with Hitler and toward his own power-jostling peers in the highest echelons of Nazi hierarchy, or Sereny's encounter with the now grown children of those latter and how she finds them coming to terms with their parents' world, the world of their own childhoods, this book provides certain relevant and valuable insights and surprises which should impress the reader. There is no personal fascination paid to Speer, and this thanks to the masterful balance of Sereny's style in getting to know not only her subject well but his immediate family, for perspective in reaching the answers to those questions which so drive the study of Holocaust and all forms of Nazi abuse of power.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Albert Speer is a very interesting architect
I am interested in Albert Speer because of his work with Hitler and their working relationship. Seeing what he produced then it would be very interesting to have seen what he... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anthony W. Ball
4.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive study of Albert Speer the Man
A well written and objective view of Albert Speer during his life.
To be read in conjunction with Inside The Third Reich and
the Secret Diaries.
Published 5 months ago by Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best biographies I have read
This compelling and perceptive book provides a detailed and fascinating portrait of Albert Speer, Hitler's architect and Minister of Armaments and War Production. Read more
Published 6 months ago by H Loughlin
3.0 out of 5 stars amazing story
wasn't in very good or even 'good' condition but definitely tatty and worn at the edges, spine very creased and bent. Read more
Published 7 months ago by cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Very educational
I have learnt a lot from this book - and want to know more about Gitta Sereny. I admire her hugely.
Published 8 months ago by deenagh miller
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is truly useful.
Sereny's attempt to wrestle with the problem of how a person who was involved in a regime engaged in extermination juggles his conscience and his consciousness of himself... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Miamax
5.0 out of 5 stars A question of guilt ? Not really!
An under-the-skin account of Hitler's No2, as unearthed by Gitta Sereny. Although she has probed carefully over several years, her account is in many ways neutral. Read more
Published 11 months ago by G.O.M.
2.0 out of 5 stars Had to trawl through Gitta's thoughts and name drnppings to get to any...
I found this book quite bizarre and did not like it. I expected a book almost ghost written by Gitta from information given her bySpeer duirng all their interviews. Read more
Published 14 months ago by reader1
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative
Fascinating account of the self analysis and self justification of an undoubtedly brilliant man. Must be considered in the context of the times, not with twenty first century... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Justin Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read
A fabulous insight into the mind of a remarkable man. Without any shadow of a doubt, Speer was a good man who fell into doing bad things for the best of reasons. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Brian Robertson
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