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Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris [Paperback]

Ian Kershaw
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Oct 2001

Ian Kershaw's Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris charts the rise of Adolf Hitler, from a bizarre misfit in a Viennese dosshouse, to dictatorial leadership.

With extraordinary skill and vividness, drawing on a huge range of sources, Kershaw recreates the world which first thwarted and then nurtured Hitler in his youth, from early childhood to the first successes of the Nazi Party.

As his seemingly pitiful fantasy of being Germany's saviour attracted more and more support, Kershaw brilliantly conveys why so many Germans adored Hitler, connived with him or felt powerless to resist him.

'Supersedes all previous accounts. It is the sort of masterly biography that only a first-rate historian can write'
  David Cannadine, Observer Books of the Year

'The Hitler biography for the 21st century ... cool, judicious, factually reliable and intelligently argued'
  Richard Evans, Sunday Telegraph

'One of the major historical biographies of our times ... a riveting read'
  Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times, Best Biographies of the Year

'His analysis of Hitler's extraordinary character has the fascination of a novel, but he places his struggle and rise in the context of meticulously researched history ... Deeply disturbing. Unforgettable'
  A.N. Wilson, Daily Mail

'A sane, erudite, moral and intellectually honest biography of the 20th century's most destructive politician'
  Ruth Scurr, The Times

Ian Kershaw's other books include Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis, Making Friends with Hitler, Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World 1940-4 and The End: Hitler's Germany, 1944-45. Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis received the Wolfson History Prize and the Bruno Kreisky Prize in Austria for Political Book of the Year, and was joint winner of the inaugural British Academy Book Prize.

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Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris + Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis (Allen Lane History) + The 'Hitler Myth': Image and Reality in the Third Reich
Price For All Three: 36.77

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Product details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (25 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140133631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140133639
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Ian Kershaw was Professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield from 1989 - 2008, and is one of the world's leading authorities on Hitler. His books include The 'Hitler Myth', his two volume Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris and Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis, and Fateful Choices. He was knighted in 2002.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Is there anything fresh to be said about Hitler? He is an icon, maybe the icon, of the 20th century. He was a failed artist with Wagnerian fantasies, a slob who could not get up in the morning, but he exposed the frailties of modern civilisation in a way that should still make us giddy. How? Was it his doing, or German society's? Professor Ian Kershaw has produced a work of definitive scholarship that will be the standard for years to come. It was badly needed; since Alan Bullock's 1952 classic Hitler: A Study in Tyranny and Joachim Fest's Hitler (originally published in 1973) there has been much valuable research, all of which Kershaw seems to have read (there are 200 pages of notes). Add to this the media (and, by extension, public) fascination with the nature of evil, and a resurgent interest in right-wing groups, and this book becomes long overdue. Kershaw deals rigorously with the bones of his subject's life. He has no truck with psychological padding, and calmly demolishes most of the quasi-facts that have sprung up--if in doubt, he allows space within the chronology. His description of the path to the Chancellorship, which was always more messy than messianic, is painful to behold but gripping to follow, and concludes in 1936 with Hitler at the height of his "Hubris". This is an important study of the character of power, as clearly written as it is intellectually engaging. --David Vincent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

IAN KERSHAW's other books include Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis; Making Friends with Hitler; Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World, 1940-4; and The End: Hitler's Germany, 1944-45. Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis received the Wolfson History Prize and the Bruno Kreisky Prize in Austria for Political Book of the Year, and was joint winner of the inaugural British Academy Book Prize. Until his retirement in 2008, Ian Kershaw was Professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield. For services to history he was given the German award of the Federal Cross of Merit in 1994. He was knighted in 2002 and awarded the Norton Medlicott Medal by the Historical Association in 2004. He is a Fellow of the British Academy.

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First Sentence
The first of many strokes of good fortune for Adolf Hitler took place thirteen years before he was born. 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
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended ! 20 Jan 2009
This is a very detailed, well researched and highly readable first `half' of a two-volume biography. This first volume should be read by anyone interested in the life of Hitler and Nazi Germany up to 1936. Do NOT be put off by the length of the book and the two-volume biography as a whole - every page is worth reading!

It makes previously published and highly reputable Hitler biographies from earlier years look somewhat dated (Bullock's `Hitler - A Study in Tyranny' is one such biography).

Kershaw's grasp on chronology in respect of what Hitler articulated as Nazi 'policy' and when he articulated what he did is especially useful. Also, his assessment of Hitler's time in Vienna between 1908 and 1913 is especially fascinating and revealing.

Essential reading as one of several Hitler and Nazi Germany publications from the same author.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A historical magnus opus. 12 Dec 2006
Looking at some of the earlier reviews I have to wonder if the reviewers have actually understood the book. Kershaw doesn't rehash the 'Hitler as a lucky non-entity' argument. He shows (again and again) how Hitler, through his hard-won dominiation of the Nazi party, coupled with his undoubted genius as an orator, came to power in Germany. The early chapters on the unique social and political conditions within Germany which allowed a demagogue like Hitler to prosper are worth the price of the book alone. Also, the charge that Kershaw is 'woolly' on the root of Hitlers' anti-semitism is deeply flawed. No-one can acurately pin-point what made Hitler so rabidly anti-semetic without resorting to cod-philosophy, which is exactly what real historians (like Kershaw) avoid.

Hitler: Hubris is not only the best book on Hitler I have ever read, it's the best book period.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic and level headed book. 21 Jan 2002
This book allows the reader to understand and - more importantly - rationalise the sequence of events that led an opinionated and egotistical art-student wannabe (too lazy to study even for the entrance exams) to become one of the 20th century's most destructive and loathsome men. It can be seen how under-currents of nationalism, anti-Semitism, anti-Weimar State feelings and right-wing ideologies were all brought to the forefront of German politics after WW1 by obscure parties who gradually became larger as their ideas caught on with a German population who felt humiliated by their defeat in 1918. To be honest, it made me feel slightly restless and nauseous, all too aware of where all of this ended, and even worse, the fact that the political views of the Nazis aren't entirely dead yet...
This is a great, but very complex book, and would recommend taking notes of who the various men and women in this book were and their roles, thereby getting the most out of this work.
And don't forget to read the second book 'Nemesis'!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly detailed, but hard to fault 9 Jun 2009
By Dibbo
I bought this book, purely out of personal interest to learn more about the story of Hitler, and the conditions which allowed him to rise to power with such devastating consequences.

I knew the basic facts before I started to read the book, but now feel like a seasoned expert, such is the detail on Hitler himself, but also the social and political turmoil in Germany at the time which allowed someone so seemingly devoid of talent or ambition in his early years(other than an aggressive and vague revolutionary stance). It is not a light read, due to the depth of information, and the size of the book, but it is not difficult to read. If, like me, you want to know more about this historical character, this book, and it's second volume "Nemesis" would contain all the information you could ever possibly want.

I am about to start reading "Nemesis" to complete the story. So bear in mind that you will really need to buy both books, as this on it's own only tells half the story.

There are differences of opinion from some reviewers about how Hitler is portrayed, however I would not worry about that. The book does show that at key points in his life and his rise to prominence that he was incredibly lucky, and I think these are highlighted to show that history couold have been very different if certain people had made different decisions along the way. In that case we would never have even heard of Adolf Hitler, and that makes this such an interesting story. There is also enough fact in this book to make your own mind up about what happened and therefore I would highly recommend this. Just leave yourself plenty of time to get through it!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
As a student of Modern History, it is both refreshing and useful to find a book which is not only such a major part of the current historiography on such an significant subject but also so accessible. Kershaw's book gives an important insight into the background of Hitler's early life and into the environment which helped to spawn the dictator who more than anyone contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Apart from being fantastically well researched, "Hubris" is clear and easy to read and provides a useful re-examination of this topic, which until now had only been covered by Alan Bullock's early (but nevertheless brilliant) study of Hitler. This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the subject and an exceptionally useful aid for anyone studying Nazi history at university.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Ian Kershaw is one of the finest writers there is on the subject of the second world war.

This superb biography of history's most notorious man is un-rivalled. Read more
Published 22 days ago by APR1
2.0 out of 5 stars Overpraised
Wildly overpraised book. I wholeheartedly agree with the other reviewer who noted the lack of any new information or significant analysis.
Published 1 month ago by A Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best work on Hitler to date.
Far be it for me to comment on the work of Professor Kershaw but probably like you I've read AJP Taylor, Alan Bullock, Trevor Roper, even that revisionist (Hitler's War) David... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roy "G"
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, balanced and authoritative.
I enjoyed reading this book very much, I would have given it four and a half stars if I could.

It is the first book about Hitler I have read, having avoided the subject... Read more
Published 7 months ago by conjunction
4.0 out of 5 stars History buff enjoyed.
Bought as birthday present for my husband, he enjoyed reading it and kept telling me of facts hoitherto unknown to him. Good read.
Published 10 months ago by andrea33sh
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitler
Such a thorough and detailed study of a person, who inflicted drastic events on our history in the 20th century
Published 11 months ago by Kari Hyytiainen
Excellent book on Hitler and his rise to power. Far better than 'Hitler's First War' by...er...I forget whom, which was heavily biased rubbish. Read more
Published 12 months ago by R. Stansfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview
I only expect quality research from Ian Kershaw and here he has presented a very good account of Hitler's government through 1936. The book does not cover eventas after that. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Robert Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars Immensely readable
Immensely readable, interesting and well referenced. Gives much information about Hitler's difficult childhood and his years sleeping on the streets as an impoverished young man... Read more
Published on 5 Dec 2010 by M. Summerfield
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Re-Hash
How many more of these works on Hitler & the Nazi era have we got to suffer ?

Most of the words written in the last 40 years have not given any more detail or insight... Read more
Published on 7 Sep 2010 by Mervyn Tindal
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