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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2001
The extraordinary life of Adolf Hitler holds enduring mainstream and cult fascination. The best-selling placing of Professor Kershaw's recent Hitler biography (Vo.2) shows a public still unsatiated.
The sheer volume of the Third Reich archive available to researchers, and the rewards which bring some of the most skilled historians to work on this material has meant the Hitler publishing industry has been very well served.
None more so than by Joachim Fest. It is a testament to Fest's 'Hitler' that it remains a landmark biography more than twenty years after first publication in Germany.
Joachim Fest was not a professional historian when 'Hitler' was written, nevertheless he created a prodigy of a book. Weighty, perceptive and impressively researched, it is a remarkable history of a period so personally identified with the Dictator.
The sustained power of the book derives from the flair with which the author analyses the psychological drives of his subject and explores the contrasts between the self-image and the actuality. Fest's 'Hitler' belongs to the 'psycho-History' school of historiography. He examines Hitler's essential rigidity, the intellect dwarfed by prejudice and the origins of the enormous up-draughts of his imagination (autobahn, racial-extermination, New World Order) which his autocrats hastened to accomplish.
He successfully tests his assumptions about Hitler against the choices he made (and didn't make) through his personal odyssey from obscurity to power and the final days as a 'cake-gobbling wreck' in the bunker.
With wonderful fluidity and expression, Fest has raised biography to an art form in this book, but 'Hitler' is not an easy read. Philosophically it is determinist, unravelling a bleak view of unstoppable fate and destiny. In spite of this it remains a bravura work of imagination, veracity and force.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2015
Bit too much biased waffle for my liking. Right from the start it felt like an attack on Hitler and thus hardly an impartial study. A bit too academic and pedantic and hard to get into the flow of the book because there was none. I had to give up halfway through which is most unusual. There is great depth of detail but after the intitial few chapters you wonder if he is saying it for real or out of spite. I had just finished Tolands version of *Hitler* which was an amazing book which went into great detail, almost as if he was there himself and so more of a story to it rather than bland facts.

Its a shame because I had high hopes for this book. But either way what a fascinating subject to see how he came to power and how *normal* folk could do abnormal things. Given a similar alignment of the planets I have no doubt it will happen again. The world is screaming out for a leader, rather than the puppets we have in politics today (2015) It wasnt so much that Hitler was truly exceptional, rather the world craved such a man.But as usual power corrupts and it all falls down, time and time again. One great thing I got from this book was this quote:
"Neither blindness nor ignorance corrupts people and governments. They soon realise where the path they have taken is leading them. But there is an impulse within them, favoured by their natures and reinforced by their habits, which they do not resist; it continues to propel them forward... He who overcomes himself is divine. Most see their ruin before their eyes; but they go on into it." Leopold von Ranke
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2014
By far the best book I have yet read on the phenomenon of Hitler and the Third Reich, of their rise and fall. Despite deep analysis of all the political ramifications and backdrop to the rise of Hitler, the book developed for me into something far more gripping than any novel. From Hitler as the strong master of oratory and manipulator of circumstance to the "cake-gobbling human wreck" of his final hours in the bunker, the whole narrative is compelling; and at least for me a warning against all who would seek to devour and sacrifice the individuality and preciousness of each human being to the "good of the nation".

The four stars reflects the sheer number of typos in the Kindle edition. It seems to me rather sad that the entire EReader experience is constantly corrupted by the failure of so many publishers to ensure that the electronic book is as free from error as most printed books. Even those that are pricey!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2014
Incredible book, illuminating and insightful. The punctuation after translation is very ropey (on ipad version) but doesn't detract from the quality of the book. Scholarly study so it's no light reading but by far one if the most informative works I have read about this period of history. Highly recommend to those with a serious interest.
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on 7 August 2015
After many years I have found the time to read Jochim Fest's Hitler. It is fascinating and engaging not least because it was the first major German study of Hitler and also because Fest came from a strongly anti-Nazi background. It is also totally centred round Hitler himself - this is what makes it fascinating but at the same time it struck me as a historian engaging in psychology and what qualification did Fest have for that sort of analysis? Perhaps too he was too close in time to take the best of historical insight and not close enough to do the psychological.

His background also I think makes him too light the German people and perhaps too critical of the democratic powers - particularly Britain. After all, in a real manner of speaking the Germans chose Hitler but certainly the British or French did not.
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on 5 September 2014
Book arrived well packed and was as advertised. Would buy from this sellar again.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2013
Very interesting book in immaculate condition! One can discover amazing details and information regarding that era.
It is also written like a novel very pleasant to read.
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