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Hitler [Hardcover]

Joachim C Fest , Richard Winston , Clara Winston
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: New York Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151416508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151416509
  • ASIN: B001KUWJL2
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 780,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
All through his life he made the strongest efforts to conceal as well as to glorify his own personality. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The extraordinary life of Adolf Hitler holds enduring mainstream and cult fascination. The best-selling placing of Professor Kershaw's recent Hitler biography (Vo.2) shows a public still unsatiated.
The sheer volume of the Third Reich archive available to researchers, and the rewards which bring some of the most skilled historians to work on this material has meant the Hitler publishing industry has been very well served.
None more so than by Joachim Fest. It is a testament to Fest's 'Hitler' that it remains a landmark biography more than twenty years after first publication in Germany.
Joachim Fest was not a professional historian when 'Hitler' was written, nevertheless he created a prodigy of a book. Weighty, perceptive and impressively researched, it is a remarkable history of a period so personally identified with the Dictator.
The sustained power of the book derives from the flair with which the author analyses the psychological drives of his subject and explores the contrasts between the self-image and the actuality. Fest's 'Hitler' belongs to the 'psycho-History' school of historiography. He examines Hitler's essential rigidity, the intellect dwarfed by prejudice and the origins of the enormous up-draughts of his imagination (autobahn, racial-extermination, New World Order) which his autocrats hastened to accomplish.
He successfully tests his assumptions about Hitler against the choices he made (and didn't make) through his personal odyssey from obscurity to power and the final days as a 'cake-gobbling wreck' in the bunker.
With wonderful fluidity and expression, Fest has raised biography to an art form in this book, but 'Hitler' is not an easy read. Philosophically it is determinist, unravelling a bleak view of unstoppable fate and destiny. In spite of this it remains a bravura work of imagination, veracity and force.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating study 27 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Incredible book, illuminating and insightful. The punctuation after translation is very ropey (on ipad version) but doesn't detract from the quality of the book. Scholarly study so it's no light reading but by far one if the most informative works I have read about this period of history. Highly recommend to those with a serious interest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 5 Sep 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Book arrived well packed and was as advertised. Would buy from this sellar again.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best biographies ever! 20 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very interesting book in immaculate condition! One can discover amazing details and information regarding that era.
It is also written like a novel very pleasant to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No other biography comes closer to the subject 12 Feb 2000
By R. Smith - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a devoted reader of history, especially of the early 20th century period, I probably have gone through every popular and even arcane book on Hitler and National Socialism. I've read Albert Speer's "Inside the Third Reich," Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reach," Alan Bullock's "Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives," . . . yet, these books, while informative, lack the depth of understanding of the horrible phenomenon of Hitler that Joachim Fest brings to his biography. Maybe because Fest himself is German and is therefore closer to his subject. Yes, the style is dry, and the book is indeed rather biased at times--the preface is titled incredibly "Hitler and Historical Greatness!" Yet, within that preface, you will find insights and observations that are lacking in all other biographies on the Fuehrer. I myself was riveted from page one all the way to the end. So, if you want to really understand Hitler, read this book. If you want to read a lighter biography, read the sections on Hitler in Bullock's "Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives."
63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As much a biography of Germany as of Hitler 9 Aug 2001
By Jeffery Cotton - Published on
I'm a big fan of biographies, and this remains (some 10 years after reading it) one of my favorites. There is no dearth of books on Hitler, of course. Fest's accomplishment here is that each section on Hitler is straddled by a section describing other events in the world and Germany, always giving the reader a larger context in which Hitler's activities can be placed.
I'm a little dismayed by [people] who suggest that Hitler was merely a sufferer of post-traumatic-stress syndrome after his experience in the trenches of WWI, and that Fest does a disservice (to Hitler?) by leaving this information out. But many people have suffered in the trenches in many wars without later moving on to attempt world domination and genocide.
In any case, Fest's biography omits nothing. It is written in a clear, beautiful language, and will leave you with an entirely new understanding of Hitler, Germans and Germany.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the ultimate biography 26 Sep 2007
By Roswitha Mcintosh - Published on
Joachim Fest's book "Hitler" is a rare pleasure to read. His words create an atmosphere and a world that we can understand. Fest manages to step into the shoes of Hitler -- we sit and day-dream with that man and build castles in the air. More than that, he manages to bare Hitler's mind and soul to the reader. We learn how and why Hitler acted as he did. His actions that are so vile that we absolutely condemn them, suddenly become clearer. We begin to understand and are warned of the power that one single man can usurp, even though he is penniles, without education and friends. Fest does in no way justify Hitler or his tyranny. On the contrary, he does open our eyes so that we see how actions of such brutality are possible. He makes us understand that they can happen again, but also how they can be avoided. It is an in-depth study of a strongman--strongmen by the way come in all sizes; we encounter them in our daily lives. Since Hitler's demise, half a dozen countries have suffered strongmen as heads of state, and it is vital that we understand and recognize a tyrant before it is too late. None better to learn from than Fest's Hitler, one of the shrewdest and most ruthless strongman of them all.
Roswitha McIntosh, author of "The Madman & His Mistress"
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best bio of Hitler 9 Mar 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Historian John Lukacs, who has just come out with "The Hitler of History", an analysis of Hitler's hundred or so important biographers, says Fest's bio is the "best long biography" of Adolph Hitler. Fest fleshes out the young Hitler in fascinating detail. Especially interesting is Fest's account of Hitler's political rise in Weimar Germany from being a member of a minute political party which held its meetings in the back of a beer hall to a dynamic leader of a strong poltical party by the end of the 1920s. Fest is very interpretive and analytical. Typical is his suggestion that Hitler was an artist mutated into a politician. For an American like myself, Fest is weak in explaining how the Nazi's, who never achieved more than fifty percent of an honest vote, was able to dominate the apparatus of government so thoroughly and so fast upon joining a governing coalition in 1933. It has never happened in America even if America has had pols with tyranical personality traits- Wilson, Johnson, Nixon, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and, to a small degree, FDR. If the amateur historian has time for only one biography of Adolph Hitler, this is the one to get.
33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fairly good biography 21 July 2000
By Brian D. Rubendall - Published on
The life story of Adolf Hitler is so compelling that it is hard to imagine a book about it ever being boring. Fest's account is thoroughly researched and and meticulously detailed and was a best sellerin West Germany before being published in the U.S. Though not as readabled as Robert Payne's superior "The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler," it still paints a fairly complete portrait of the man. If the book has any drawback, it is that it does not spend enough time on Hitler's pre-World War I activities. Payne much more thoroughly documents the humiliation and disappointment in Vienna that searled Hitler's soul and helped turn him into a monster. Nevertheless, Fest's "Hitler" remains one of the defining biographies of the 20th century's most evil figure.
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