- Paperback: 1072 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (25 Feb. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141035889
- ISBN-13: 978-0141035888
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 5 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Hitler Paperback – 25 Feb 2009
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More About the Author
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.
Supersedes all previous accounts. It is the sort of masterly biography that only a first-rate historian can write (David Cannadine Observer)
The Hitler biography for the twenty-first century (Richard Evans Sunday Telegraph)
I cannot imagine a better biography of this great tyrant emerging for a long while (Jeremy Paxman)
Magisterial ... anyone who wishes to understand the Third Reich must read Kershaw, for no one has done more to lay bare Hitler's morbid psyche (Niall Ferguson Sunday Telegraph)
For the present generation, Kershaw's Hitler stands out as a clear beacon of truth, illuminating a dark age of terror and mendacity (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday)
The definitive biography of the Führer (Juliet Gardiner Sunday Times)
An achievement of the very highest order (Michael Burleigh Financial Times)
Mesmerizing ... presents the twentieth century's most controversial life in a single sweep (Michael Kerrigan Scotsman)
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Top Customer Reviews
Reading it, what I find most incredible about Hitler's life is how someone who came out of World War I without seemingly any future prospects could become in a few years time one of the most important men of the 20th century, the man responsible for millions of dead in history's bloodiest war. The day Hitler turned 30 years old, April the 20th, 1919, Hitler must have felt an abject failure: his beloved Germany had recently lost the war, Munich was in the hands of the communist Bavarian Soviet Republic (though it seems that Hitler quietly supported the Soviet republic at the time, out of opportunism more than out of belief), if he was going to be discharged soon from the demobilizing army, as it seemed likely, he seemingly had no prospect of any civilian job. Looking at the past, he could have seen how he had failed as an artist, have few friends for the last years, was never able to have a girlfriend. Despite all this, in a few months his life would be changed when as an army spy he joined the little known NSDAP. In a few years time, he would become a national figure, the unquestionable leader of Germany's extreme nationalists. In fourteen years, he would become the leader of Germany.
The book has some good material on Hitler's childhood in conservative, provincial Austria. It is interesting to read how much his mother Klara spoiled him. As a young man, Hitler was lazy and bohemian, never having a regular job. He thought he was a great artist, so he felt crushed when the Art Academy in Vienna rejected twice his application. He was bossy and manipulative toward his few friends.Read more ›
If you have previously read the two-volume original you may miss one or the other detail or illustrative example in this "shortened" version but I personally don't think this diminishes this book in any way.
I shall spare you a summary of the subject matter because it would be impossible to do so in any meaningful way. You better read this book yourself. It's all there.
Two things I find incredible about the subject matter though. It is amazing that someone can come out of nowhere and take over a state and then single-mindedly turn the whole world upside down. The other aspect I found amazing is the "working towards the Führer" concept where Hitler's underlings implemented policy according to what they perceived to be the Führer's wishes. This worked perfectly - except in the case of Rudolf Hess who misread the Führer's wishes - and allowed Hitler to pursue his leisure activities.
What I found amusing - although I am not sure if this is the right word to use here - is that Ian Kershaw's publication of the two-volume biography received a rather warm reception in Germany. When William L.Read more ›
The length of this book (approx. 1000 pages) may be off-putting for some readers, and obviously if you're looking for a brief summary of Hitler's life, then this isn't for you. Despite the enormity of the subject and level of detail given, it wasn't too tough a read, with each chapter broken up into sections to make for easy stopping points. Whilst this is an abridged version of Kershaw's original two-volume work, it was more than enough for me (Readers that want the complete experience can always buy the two-volume version instead).
The new preface explains the author's intentions for this book very well, and I would say that both Hitler's rise to power and his subsequent use of power are masterfully written about. Some parts (the dense politics of his rise to power, for example) were inevitably still complicated to understand, but there were plenty of other monumental moments, such as how close Hitler came to being shot at a protest, to keep reader interest up throughout.
A very rewarding reading experience.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ian Kershaw is one of the most widely read and widely respected scholars who have sought to address the age old question of whether Hitler was cause or effect. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stafford Steve
Not much to say... Kershaws biography is by now a classic. A most fascinating read in great historic detail, tracing the life of one of the great tyrants of historyPublished 5 months ago by Robert le Diable
A very big book. Probably the most comprehensive and detailed book on Hitler available.Published 6 months ago by Mr Jon Robinson
This monumental biography is a must for anyone who has an interest in how Hitler became the 20th century’s most reviled tyrant. Read morePublished 9 months ago by G. Robinson
Kershaw presents the most detailed, telling and insightful biography of the world's most notorious dictator I have ever read. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Flower
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