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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended !
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...
Published on 20 Jan 2009 by A Customer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Ian Kershaw on Hitler
Not being an intellectual I found that all the facts and figures were hard to absorbe and the reference to future events were a big distraction to the narrative. His work has been very well researched and must be admired for his thoroughness, I will press on and will read again if need be.
Published 2 months ago by Derek


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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book is a fasinating read and deeply thought provoking., 15 Feb 2000
Kershaw's approach to writing a biography of Hitler is to weave in the details of his personal life and story with the wider issues of German society and political culture. He provides a critique of the understanding of Hitler's rise to power as the triumph of will and struggle. The picture that emerges is that the rise to leadership was far from inevitable, but resulted from a degree of good fortune, influential support from nationalist circles and also a combination of circumstances that Hitler did not invoke or control. The information on the personal life of Hitler is fasinating, but the more disturbing aspect of the work is how a civilised society came to accept the worldview of Hitler, as seen in the first edition of Mein Kampf. In this regard the work provides a warning on how democratic societies can be undermined from within. The book is an excellent read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weighty but analytical, 6 Oct 1999
By A Customer
Some very deep analysis from Kershaw, particularly as regards the fact that Nazism revolved very much around the character of Hitler. However, the book is perhaps over-lengthy, leading to a slow build up of the picture than an account with real impact.
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8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing but somewhat disappointing, 5 Nov 2006
By 
O. Doyle "celticshedevil" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (Paperback)
This book was hailed as the tell-all book of the early years of Hitler but I have go agree with `A Reader' below....it's most definitely not ground-breaking. I gave it 3 stars because it gave me a background to the man and followed how he became the most talked about leader of the 20th century but this book failed to get inside the mind of Hitler in any way and really only told me things that I probably could have picked up from any book. Considering it was hailed as the definitive book about Hitler I expected more.

Hubris looks like a huge book but don't be put off.....the last 300 or so pages are dedicated to references and citations so there is in actual fact less than 600 pages of type.....in a very small font granted. Hubris is most certainly worth a read but I found it quite long-winded and repetitive at times. From the sequence of events it was obvious that Hitler's rise to power was more by fluke than design.....I just didn't think Kershaw needed to repeat how much of a fluke it was over and over again. There are many, many groups and individuals to keep track of in this book so it takes quite a bit of concentration and is more certainly not a book I'd recommend you put down and come back to in a few months time. If you're looking for something light-weight then I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

I have already bought Nemeses and although I was disappointed with Hubris I am looking forward to the next installment.
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8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For all Kershaw's expertise, he oversimplifies history, 6 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Kershaw is one of the leading contemporary experts on Hitler and the Nazis. However, the complexity of the subject and in particular the principal protagonist is anything but fully investigated. The resolute determination of Kershaw to focus on economic and political factors grossly fails to explain either Hitler's remarkable, indeed quite unparalleled, rise to success or the dark depths of obsession which led him to become one of the greatest mass murderers of all time.
Kershaw is so confused about the admittedly complex question of Hitler's anti-Semitism that he fudges the issue and more or less suggests that it was opportunism alone which led him to pursue that particular path. If that had been true, the gas chambers would never have been built and the policy of extermination given priority over even the war effort. No opportunist would have carried on in such a suicicidal manner...
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful - a major achievement, 18 Dec 2000
A new analysis of a subject thought by many to have been definitively closed by Bullock's work, however, Kershaw's analysis of the means by which is the German nation 'worked towards the Fuhrer' is fascinating & incredibly readable
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A factual Arturo Ui!, 16 Mar 2001
Kershaw sets out, he tells us, not to try and explain the man, but the concept (I paraphrase). Unfortunately, the result is an unsatisfactory mix which never quite explains the man, the creed (if indeed there was one), nor why he was allowed to wrest power.
To be fair, although the subject matter is probably one of the most documented, remarkably little is actually known about the man (which was, of course, deliberate policy). Kershaw is at his best when he begins to explore the possibility that there really was no driving creed, but rather a very successful marketing gimmick at work (again, I paraphrase).
The problem for the reader is that this adds more fact, but not necessarily more knowledge to the subject. The book is immensely detailed, and very well researched. However, it is somewhat short on interpretation. This is surprising given Kershaw's other, excellent works on the subject of the rise of Nazism in Germany, where this is not the case. In fact, it has traditionally been a hallmark of Kershaw to move away from presenting all he knows, towards moulding detail into argument. It was actually quite hard to determine a central thesis in this work (again, unusual for the author).
Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of the book is the way in which Bertold Brecht's character of Arturo Ui comes to life when reading about the real life version. One realises through Kershaw's pages how accurate, and incisive a work that play really was.
Does the book succeed in adding to the subject matter? Not really. Again, this is a work best treated as additive, rather than stand-alone.
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where's that 10th star when you want it?, 26 Aug 2001
By 
sje1@yahoo.co.uk (Aberystwyth, Wales) - See all my reviews
Like the man himself, where does one begin with a review of Hubris? Kershaw, sensibly, began with his antecedents and how his greatest stroke of luck came in 1876 when Alois Schicklegruber changed to Alois Hitler. The undeniable conclusion of Kershaw's "meisterwerk" is that Hitler was one of the most unwilling gamblers of the last century, but also one of the most successful and ruthless gamblers.
He writes with the sytle and vigour of a fiction; it certainly can be read leisurly, although I use that word advisedly, not like a traditional history book. It is ironical, witty and very harrowing, especially in the Night of the Long Knives. Like EP Thompson in The Making of the English Working Class, Kershaw emphasises the social impacts, but also attempts to answer why he was successful to a civilised, European race.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overpraised, 21 Feb 2014
This review is from: Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (Paperback)
Wildly overpraised book. I wholeheartedly agree with the other reviewer who noted the lack of any new information or significant analysis.
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5 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars STRANGE DICTATOR'S ERA LACKS PROPER BACKGROUND, 7 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Kershaw fails . He makes Hitler and his entourage (e.g.Goebbels, Goring, Speer etc.) out to have been loonies and madmen .That cannot be .Who were the bankers and businessmen who benefited from the Hitler regime ? Kershaw never tells us.What about thr German ruling class that financed and supprted Hitler and his gangsters ? Kershaw does not tell us who they were and how they benefited .All in all, this is mostly a repitition of the " Hitler was a Devil" thesis .The real biography has yet to be published .
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6 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Re-Hash, 7 Sep 2010
By 
Mervyn Tindal "Merv0728" (Yeovil,Somerset,UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (Paperback)
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 into this subject than was written by William Schirer in his book "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and his "Berlin Diary".
Hitler's upbringing and background was well covered in "The Rise and Fall...." so why do so many of the reviewers
seem to think that the material in this book is a revelation ?

Again, its just a re-hash which is what I have thought of most of his books and also his TV programs.
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Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris
Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris by Ian Kershaw (Paperback - 25 Oct 2001)
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