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190 of 196 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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4 of 4 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 16 months ago by Huw DT


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190 of 196 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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11 of 11 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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26 of 28 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
2.0 out of 5 stars "Hitler"-Ian Kershaw., 9 July 2013
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pitched in exactly the right way, 23 Mar 2013
This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
For a topic that is so sensitive it takes a special kind of person to be able to handle it with care. I believe after reading this that Kershaw is the man for the job. While some exploration of Hitlers persona is covered, as the author himself points out there is dubious merit in exploring the psyche of a man who perhaps would have just been an eccentric nobody had the unique combination of conditions and extraordinary turn of events not been the way they were. You get a sense that the rise of Hitler was the result of a chain of unforeseen, almost random occurrences such as the Reichstag fire and the death of Hindenberg (or rather the timing of the death of Hindenberg) and that there were many opportunities for history to have taken an entirely difference course.
The book also describes a lot of the decision-making made by Hitler during battle campaigns. The book can be quite technical at times but it does well at giving you the facts and providing analysis in a way that is clear and more or less in chronological order without quite getting to the point of being overwhelmed. For people who like to read decent history books this book will tick all the boxes.
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not An Historically Correct Document, 2 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
Perhaps a more apt title for this should have been - "Hitler - An Apology".

As fluid as the prose is, it's flagrantly obvious that Kershaw was either writing to instruction, or out of the need for the book to be accepted "en mass" as a definition of the Holocaust. Although the book starts off harmless enough (detailing Hitler's troubled childhood, distant meanderings in Vienna & Munich & eventually WW1), the further you get (accelerating about 2/3rds), it becomes a lecture on the inner workings of the regime, & specifically how that manifested into the genocidal whims of the concentration camps & SS.

As mentioned by several other reviewers, it seems that a foundation stone of this book has been the diaries of Herr Goebbles, to which he references almost every "major event". Although not a problem on its own, it's obvious that the timeline of events for this book has been heavily influenced by the Propaganda Minister's private diaries, to which I would rise questions regarding their leaning & factual reliability. I understand this is an abridged of his two other works, but nonetheless, a distinct lack of contemporary references, and a strong bias against the regime polluted the potency of his work, for me at least.

If you're looking for an explanation to the Holocaust, read this book. If you're looking for a factual, a-political biography of the Fuhrer, you'll want to examine other documents; notably David Irving's work. And yes, before the copious comments are written about Iriving's "proven" anti-Semitism, if you want to study the life of a Tyrant, you will invariably have to deal with people with views opposing your own.
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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
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and fascinating overview of Hitler's life..., 1 Dec 2013
This review is from: Hitler (Paperback)
This book represent comprehensive and fascinating overview of Hitler's life starting from lazy and failed artist in Vienna to the Chancellor of Germany that steered the whole world into one of history's bloodiest wars ever fought.

One of the book's most important aspects is the fact that it is all the time informative but in same time so easy to read.

Author never denies Hitler's undoubted evilness but considers thought-provoking discussions especially involving those that helped Hitler into power and allowed him to stay there. He made great research and put all of it in this book which much more than Hitler's biography describing 50 years in which Hitler lived.

Reader is presented to psychological frame of the successful politician, great psychologist and tyrant which developed through his whole life and display of all events which led to the Second World War. There are particular moments when the book is frightening describing Hitler's Nazi Germany during the war and many situations in which history could went into some other direction.

Kershaw's book is an excellent read from start to finish.
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Hitler
Hitler by Ian Kershaw (Paperback - 25 Feb 2009)
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