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The Meaning Of Hitler Paperback – 10 Mar 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition (10 Mar 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857998782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857998788
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.6 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

A remarkable historical and psychological study of the enigma of Adolf Hitler and his impact on the twentieth century - by the bestselling author of DEFYING HITLER.

About the Author

Sebastian Haffner was born in 1907 in Berlin. He emigrated to England in 1938 and wrote for the OBSERVER for many years. He returned to Germany in 1954, where he became a prominent journalist and historian, writing for DIE WELT and STERN. He died in 1999.

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ADOLF HITLER's father made a success of life. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Feb 2001
Format: Paperback
I wanted a book that would give me a brief overview of Hitler's rise to power and fall to defeat while also analysing his motivations. This book answered that need. It's easy to read, well structured and engaging. Haffner discusses the achievements and successes of Hitler with some objectivity. He also explores the reasons behind his military failures. Hitler's victories - bought through the sudden attack - also explain his mistakes - he relied upon unsustainable sudden strikes which led to his armies downfall in the long drawn out war against Russia, America and Britain. The holocaust is dealt with along with Hitler's personality defects. He was a man who loved brute power and war. He could never have been a peace-time leader. It wasn't in his nature. I felt the book went a long way to explaining Hitler but failed to deal enough with the meaning of evil and his popular appeal. Hitler struck a chord with people that seems to still find appeal where there is mass-murder and brutality. The book stimulated thinking on these issues.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Luis Garmendia on 14 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
Sebastian Haffner manages to summarize Hitler's career in nearly 150 pages, giving his personal view of his successes, failures, crimes and obsessions. Though more a historical essay with plenty of personal opinions by the author (a very shrewd observer on the other hand) than a regular biography or a serious history book, the volume is worth reading as a summary of Hitler's main traits and a thought-provoking book.

Personally, I liked the author's "The German Revolution" better, but his keen analytical powers are present in this short volume as well, though his style is more personal and so more open to criticism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 July 2000
Format: Paperback
Haffner has delivered a masterful and intriguing analysis of the actions and motivations of Adoph Hitler, the primary architect of the last sixty years of the 20th Century, who failed nonetheless to build the edifice he had in mind. Better, perhaps, to have entitled (or translated?) this essay "understanding" Hitler rather than the more ambitious concept of the "meaning" of the phenomenon, but I'm splitting hairs. The translation is never obtrusive.
My own previous study of the man is confined to Alan Bullock's early and brilliant biography ("Hitler - A Study In Tyranny"), and general knowledge of the history of the Third Reich and the Second World War. But I found this was more than sufficient to cope with the author's assumptions of knowledge on the reader's behalf, and thoroughly appreciated following his cool-headed lines of argument and analysis.
Haffner breaks his study very effectively under seven headings: Life, Achievements, Successes, Misconceptions, Mistakes, Crimes, and Betrayal. In doing so I believe he turns over several stones hitherto left largely undisturbed.
The most significant example may be the final murderous acts Hitler attempted (with partial success) to inflict upon the German people. Along with his relatively in-depth consideration of the most "conspicous" of Hitler's errors - declaring war on America - , one is left staring at the implication that Hitler's attachment to the German people may have been only a matter of necessity if he was to achieve his blood-thirsty and inexplicable revenge on the Jews.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Langbroek on 3 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is an argument - it seeks to explain Hitler's actions, from initial success to final disaster, so as to make even the seemingly inexplicable (some of his military decisions) understandable. The book is absolutely successful in presenting a coherent picture of Hitler, and it does this in a highly readable style.
It does not pretend, like so many biographies, to explain the 'deeper' causes of e.g. Hitler's antisemitism as the product of his childhood - it leaves such interpretations to psychologists. What is does do is put all his major political and military decisions into a coherent framework and interpret these in the light of his world view and ideological motives.
The book is not for Hitler 'beginners', as it deals mostly with major issues, and assumes a reader who is familiar with the historical facts of Third Reich and WW2 history. It does not so much recount those facts as interpret and explain them.
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