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185 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Note
Just a brief note: Many of the reviews found on this page are for the book 'Hubris' also by Ian Kershaw which charts the earlier parts of Hitler's life. This book is an unabridged volume containing both 'Hubris' and its follow-up 'Nemesis' and hence covers the whole of Hitler's life. Also, the 'Look Inside' feature offered actually shows you the inside of a totally...
Published on 30 Nov 2008 by Mr. C. Hall

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Hitler"-Ian Kershaw.
While the content is extremely interesting, I found the style of writing made very many passages difficult to follow. Mr. Kershaw seems obsessed with cramming as many clauses and asides as he is able into any particular sentence. The result is that, by the end of the sentence, the reader is likely to have lost its thread.
Very disappointing.
Published 13 months ago by Huw DT


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185 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Note, 30 Nov 2008
By 
Mr. C. Hall (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hitler (Hardcover)
Just a brief note: Many of the reviews found on this page are for the book 'Hubris' also by Ian Kershaw which charts the earlier parts of Hitler's life. This book is an unabridged volume containing both 'Hubris' and its follow-up 'Nemesis' and hence covers the whole of Hitler's life. Also, the 'Look Inside' feature offered actually shows you the inside of a totally different book on Hitler. Just thought you should know.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography, 18 Aug 2011
By 
Andres C. Salama (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
Ian Kershaw's monumental biography of Adolf Hitler, more than a thousand pages long (previously published as two volumes). It is obviously a very long read, but it is a fascinating story, never boring.

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. Before he turned 19 both his parents were dead, and he lived in abject poverty in Vienna as a struggling artist in the years just before World War I.

I find it profitable to compare this book with another recent two volume biography of the other great tyrant of the 20th century, Joseph Stalin, by Simon Sebag Montefiore. Both were originally underestimated, and turned out to be far smarter than what their political opponents thought. Stalin was probably more evil and cruel than Hitler (Stalin rejoiced in sending to their death former friends and comrades in a way than Hitler didn't) but I think Hitler was probably the crazier, less adjusted guy. Before entering politics, Hitler was a complete outcast from society, socially and emotionally, in a way than Stalin (who in his young years, as a top Bolshevik bandit in the Caucasus was always able to have many friends and female lovers) never was. Interestingly, according to some of their close followers, both seem to have lost the last piece of their humanity in the early 1930s when women very close to them committed suicide in mysterious circumstances (Hitler's niece Geli Raubal in 1931 and Stalin's wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva in 1932).
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Icon of the 20th Century, 5 April 2009
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This review is from: Hitler (Hardcover)
Even though this is the shortened version of Ian Kershaw's biography on Adolf Hitler I think he does a very good job in covering the life of his subject. If you are looking for all the notes and the extensive bibliography then you should read the two-volume biography - Hitler: 1889-1936: Hubris and Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis - published in 1998 and 2000 respectively.
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. Shirer published his The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich back in 1962 he was much criticised in Germany and denounced as a German-hater by German Chancellor Adenauer. It would appear that the Germans have since then come to recognise that the Third Reich by itself was an evil matter and not the people who wrote and write about it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding History/Biography, 26 April 2011
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This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
This was a hugely informative and enjoyable read which told me all that I needed to know about this immensely important individual.

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Hitler"-Ian Kershaw., 9 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
While the content is extremely interesting, I found the style of writing made very many passages difficult to follow. Mr. Kershaw seems obsessed with cramming as many clauses and asides as he is able into any particular sentence. The result is that, by the end of the sentence, the reader is likely to have lost its thread.
Very disappointing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial, 23 April 2012
By 
M. V. Clarke (Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
This one-volume biography, abridged from the author's earlier two-volume work, presents a fascinating, detailed and very readable account of Hitler's life, beliefs, political career, personality and ultimate defeat. Although this abridged version does not provide footnotes or other references, it is clear that this is a meticulously researched work, but for all the academic rigour behind it, it reads engagingly and easily. Kershaw sets out to examine how Hitler, an ill-educated, failed artist and rabble-rousing political agitator could rise to a position of such supreme power within Germany, and in doing so and remaining there for more than a decade, how he was able to persuade so many others, in politics, government and general society to support him and his aims. The analysis is complex and compelling; Hitler did not and could not have gained such power and put it to such devastating consequences alone, yet without his undeniable rhetorical talents and ruthless quest for authority and control, coupled with his unshakeable beliefs, the barbarism carried out by the Nazi regime could not have happened. Key to Kershaw's thesis is the notion of 'working towards the Führer' - Hitler was given to making broad, sweeping statements and outlining general plans and objectives frequently with little attention to detail or precise instructions as to how they were to be carried out. This encouraged his many ideological followers in positions of authority within the regime to find ways of putting his general wishes into more precise practices. Yet in doing so, ultimate approval was only possible from Hitler himself, allowing him to distance himself from actions that proved ineffective or unpopular, and in so doing, ensuring his unchallengeable authority. The logic of Kershaw's argument concerning Hitler's unquenchable desire for personal authority and the consequent undermining of any conventional form of government or domestic decision-making process was that it could only end in disaster. The slowly crumbling edifice is brilliantly portrayed as Kershaw recounts how from 1942 onward, Hitler attempted to take more and more personal control of Germany's war efforts, was increasingly contemptuous and distrusting of his military advisors and ultimately came to resent any attempts to question his decision making.

Kershaw's objective style and detailed descriptions allow for a clear presentation of the barbaric, despotic actions of Hitler and his regime without the author needing to sensationalise his text in any way. However, neither does he shy away from condemnation of Hitler and his entourage; the epilogue is a searing analysis of their destructive and inhumane actions and the consequences they brought. This is a splendid work of history and biography.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece from the master of history, 27 May 2011
This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
Ian Kershaw is a genius, and this book truly emphasizes that point.

This book is one of the finest pieces of history I have ever read on the Third Reich. It is exciting, thrilling and mesmerising whilst keeping that quintessential eloquence that Kershaw maintains in all of his work.

The book dives deeper into the realms of the third Reich than the title suggests. Kershaw paints a perfect picture of Hitler which surpasses all other books on the matter.

Kershaw almost never succumbs to the modern habit of getting bogged down in superficial issues, such as Hitler favourite tie etc.; nor does he become in-foiled with raging tirades against the genocides that the Nazi have become so famous for.

Kershaw leaves no stone unturned whilst deferring away from historical digression. This work of history is royalty, and has set the benchmark for all other authors to reach.

Therefore, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this book to any one willing to be taken on an amazing tour through the third Reich. and with each page Kershaw ensures the journey is a luxurious one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb well written history focused biography, 29 Nov 2011
This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
One of the most formidable aspects of this book is the fact that it is extremely informative and at the same time so easy going, so good is the reading. Mr. Kershaw did a herculean research based on a lifetime trying to capture and decipher all the angles of the War, the Holocaust, Nazi Mentality and of the "great"' Warlord. It appears that he put everything he had in this brilliant and passionate work, definitely much more than just only a Hitler biography. He takes your hand and walks with you through the first half of the XX century like a thorough teacher who gives his pupils the whole picture of an event without relenting from the main subject, making every step feel interesting and connected.

Throughout the whole thousand pages I never really felt I was reading a book mainly focused on Hitler's life, but rather a fabulous research of the events, which tried to explain and understand how the once frustrated wanna be painter could become the most powerful, cherished and hated politician in the world and wage a brutal war until his dead in 1945. It's easily understandable that no one could write a biography dealing deeply with the aspects of the private life of a man who had no true friends and was utterly secretive, simply because there is no known private life. When it comes to Hitler we are faced with someone playing day and night the role of the "Führer" even to his closest entourage, someone whose life has to be studied and seen in a broader light. And this was exactly what Mr. Kershaw did with amazing competence. You won't find here the small detail in Hitler's day by day life. Instead, you are given a psychological frame of the tyrant which develops throughout his life and a brilliant account of the unfolding events that led to the Second World War and of the war itself.

At the end of this absorbing tragic reading one can't escape the feeling that such an enormity belongs to the domain of fiction, wouldn't every bit of it be true.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant insight to the period, 12 May 2011
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This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
Having worked in Germany for some time and having a number of German friends, I have read a lot about the rise of Hitler to try to understand how a nation call fall for his doctrine. This book has helped me understand that. It is brilliantly written and, despite its length, keeps your attention and focussed on the development of the Hitler myth. After reading many differant accounts, including 'Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich' which is itself a great work, Kershaw's is the best by some way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sensible and illuminating, 28 Feb 2014
By 
Rose Stark (In The Shires (UK)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
A thorough and respectable examination Adolf Hitler's known life- Kershaw knows his stuff and thankfully, knows when NOT to speculate, something that biographers of Hitler can rarely resist! The writing style flows well enough to remain interesting for the whole thousand or so pages. This is a book for people who want to form opinions based on a mature representation of the events and mood surrounding Hitler and I came away with a much more solid understanding of the events surrounding his ascension to power. A grown up book about The Fuhrer.
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Hitler
Hitler by Ian Kershaw (Paperback - 25 Feb 2009)
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