A thrilling account of one of the most dramatic final acts in modern history: the collapse of the Third Reich.
This is a highly readable and very powerful book, and the translator (Margot Bettauer Dembo) deserves high marks for the result. I read the book avidly, and as soon as I was done my wife picked it up and did the same.
"Inside Hitler's Bunker" may be somewhat disappointing for those who have read a great deal about the Battle of Berlin or Hitler's last days, but it will prove to be a gripping narrative for those who are new to the horrors of Berlin in 1945. Part of the continuing fascination of this dark time is the challenge of trying to understand the incomprehensible: how could a madman like Hitler stay in control of Germany in the last weeks of April 1945, and why did so many Germans follow him as he dragged them into the final catastrophe?
The answer to those questions may lie in the 12 years of indoctrination that preceded those fateful days in 1945. For a brief and readable perspective on this period (which has been thoroughly explored in numerous more massive tomes), you may want to try "Inside Hitler's Germany: Life Under the Third Reich" by Matthew Hughes and Chris Mann.
Margot Bettauer Dembo's excellent translation conveys Fest's straightforward style to great effect. Fest is very good on Hitler's need to destroy, but he also paints a not altogether unsympathetic picture of a man in physical, moral and mental decline, with a continuous tremor and a prodigious appetite for cake. The latter detail is typical of those throughout the book which make infamous characters more "human" for the general reader for whom this book is intended.
Fest is particularly good on the nature of history and its interpretation and on how difficult it can be to unravel the truth behind even recent events, as different interested parties seek to place a different spin on them.
As other reviewers have said, this book is probably a good starting point for those unfamiliar with the subject, rather than a reference work for the expert. As such, it represents a very worthy addition to the recent genre of vivid historical narrative.
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions