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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucid, Fast Moving, Accurate, an Excellent Book
This is an excellent book, quite simply the best political biography that I have read for some time. The style is lucid and very straightforward, I guarantee that you will not have to re-read a single sentence in this book in order to aid your comprehension. The author, Thacker, has made wonderful use of recently released sections of the Goebbels' diaries which now...
Published on 20 Dec. 2009 by Dr. R. Brandon

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars a little dull
disappointing..rather factual and dry..
Published 4 months ago by mr d b cunnigham


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucid, Fast Moving, Accurate, an Excellent Book, 20 Dec. 2009
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Dr. R. Brandon (England) - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent book, quite simply the best political biography that I have read for some time. The style is lucid and very straightforward, I guarantee that you will not have to re-read a single sentence in this book in order to aid your comprehension. The author, Thacker, has made wonderful use of recently released sections of the Goebbels' diaries which now represent an almost a complete record of these important documents. Together with exhaustive research in the German archives the author has put together what must be the most accurate and comprehensive fast moving biography to date of this Nazi leader. Goebbels maintained a diary from his youth to the end of his life and recorded events and his views on the arts and politics of the day. When he acceded to power in the 1930s Goebbels was very aware that he was writing an historically important document that would be scrutinised by future historians and he put great effort into their daily maintenance and their safekeeping.
Thacker manages to chart Goebbels' private life and his artistic interests coincidentally with his role at the centre of German politics. Goebbels was probably closer to Hitler in the late 1930s and through to the end of the war than any other senior Nazi and hence his diary is of vital interest in understanding the motivation and beliefs of these two men. In this, the diaries do not disappoint and Thacker is able to draw a very clear picture of what was taking place and the thoughts behind the actions.
The final chapter of the book examines other biographies and works on Goebbels and compares previously expressed views with his own. He is able, by reference to the documentary archive, to sweep away much of the historical cliché that surrounds the written works on Goebbels and has now provided us with the most accurate and well written biography on this man to date. This must stand as the definitive work for some years to come and is highly recommended to all those interested in this period of our history. Do not be put off by the unpretentious presentation of the book, this is a great work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true Mephistopheles, 1 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death (Paperback)
This book draws largely from Goebbels’ diaries written between 1923 and 1945. From the very early days mention is made in them of his obsession against Jews (even though they represented less than 1% of the German population in the 1930’s.) It describes his rise in the ranks of the Nazi party and resulting closeness to Hitler to whom he remained devoted until the end, despite frustration with his increasing absenteeism. We are living with the character as we learn about his marital problems, womanizing, enmities and doubts up to and after the apex of Nazi success in 1942 and the heavy bombing of Germany and Allied advances that followed. Whereas, as Allied pressures increased, most of his colleagues retreated into isolation, he remained publicly active, continuing to encourage mass hysteria and xenophobia and giving propaganda a dirty name, cunningly making sure that there was enough truth in it so as to continue to be listened to. He was an intelligent, hardworking, cultured and gifted man of the people, loved music, a first class orator, a man with very scary views. Like his associates, he exploited the fragility of democracy and opportunities for enacting evil, forcing the perception of an omnipresent enemy, the Jews, which had to be liquidated at all costs. All types of ‘asocials’ had to be exterminated, but although his own physical handicap invited comments, it did not hold back his career. Death or subservience was due to all who were considered different or of inferior race. He believed that the Jews were controlling the Allies, and even implicated them in the Soviet murder of the Poles in Katyn Forest in 1940 and the Dambusters raid in 1943. The biography is admirably crowned by a 27-page epilogue that discusses the many differing perceptions of Goebbels, identifies the misconceptions, and defines a very evil man indeed able to profit from the national psyche of the time. This is a harsh lesson for those inclined to believe in the innate goodness of human beings.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling Study., 16 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death (Paperback)
This biography is the definitive life of Goebbels. The clarity and detail is unsurpassed. Goebbels has always been seen as a nihilistic opportunist, but Toby Thacker paints this monster in his true colours. Goebbels was first and always a revolutionary, he alone of the Nazi leadership remained true to himself and it is this that makes him so horrifying. He was a man of high intelligence and acute perceptions. He knew exactly what he was getting into and saw it through to his own squalid Ragnarok in the bunker with his idol Hitler in April 1945. The murder of all six of his children is a crime that is hard to confront, as is the revelation that he stood at the very centre of the genocide of the Jews. Yet he was possessed of manic energy and creativity-very unlike the torpid and basically lazy Fuhrer he served.Perhaps the world should think itself lucky that Goebbels was only a follower and not Fuhrer himself. With Goebbels in charge, I suspect the history of the 3rd Reich would have been very different and NOT in a good way. I'm going to hate myself for saying this,but Goebbels was a very funny man. I laughed out loud at some of his quoted pronouncements and had not realised how biting his humour could be. I can almost imagine spending an uproarious time in his company, but then I see the bodies of his innocent children and the nations of the dead at his heels. Please God, let there never be another Joseph Goebbels.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goebbels - A New Insight, 11 May 2010
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Toby Thacker has created an informative and thought provoking insight into the life of what can be argued was one of the most dangerous and cruel personalities of the 20th century. The book is easy to read and compelling as it takes you through Goebbels earliest experiences and influences that formed the mindset, beliefs and values of Hitler's propoganda lieutenant. Thacker effortlessly encourages the reader to think about why Goebbels acted as he did; how he was able to manipulate firstly the members of the Volks party, owards through the Nazi party and finally and most alarmingly, the entire German nation. Thacker is able to illustrate the presence, personality and leadership skills of the man who was able to lead the German nation to belief that the inilation of an enitre race of people was a justifiable act of god. The book describes Goebbels blind devotion to Hitler and shows his personal sacrifices to support such a tryant.

For all those who have an interest in modern European history this is definitely worth buying and should be used to increase your overall knowledge and undestanding about what was one of the worst periods in modern European history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Details and Very Accurate!, 7 April 2014
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This review is from: Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death (Paperback)
This book I have read over and over, it is highly accurate and full of fascinating insights. In comparison to outdated biographies on Nazi Germany, Thacker provides new and exciting insights on Goebbels and the chilling character he was. In addition, he is my lecturer and is even more clever in person!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Rise and Fall of The Poisoned Dwarf., 31 Jan. 2014
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sid sidebotom (Tasmania, Australia.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death (Paperback)
A very good read of a complex character. Like so much of later historical investigation of the Nazi era and its leadership, Thacker's book seeks to explore the complex character of Joseph Goebbels beyond the stereotypical portrayal of one of the iconic villains of Hitler's failed Third Reich.Like some others in Nazi leadership roles, Goebbels was educated, innovative and cultured yet equally chillingly radicalised to the extremes of ideology and action. Thacker's history traces the origins of Goebbels' character and personality and increasingly radicalised views - based on a comprehensive investigation of the Goebbels' diaries as well as the latest scholarship surrounding the Nazi regime, its organisation(s) and its leading 'personalities.'
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5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent book with a new modern, scientific feel to it, 23 July 2012
This review is from: Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death (Paperback)
i must echo what the other reviewers have said: this is thorough, lucid, solidly argued, well-structured.
author presents a scientific approach of taking in all avaliable sources, demonstrating command of them and his subject, and yet *still* resigning himself to saying only what can be credible backed up by the sources.
now you may think that this sounds tedious, but its not. because nor is the author a positivist. even though eh keeps himself closely to the sources the still interjects common sense here and there, such as, when goebbels was giving 189 public speeches in a year, he cannot *always* have felt the emotion that he conveyed at such occations; - that's simply common sense even though we have no direct evidence to back up this interpretation.

to small critcisms in closing:

(1) while proceeding chronologically, the chapters are not transparently named, but are rather quotes from the man himself. alas, if you want to find a certain period in the man's life you have to waffle through the text.
(2) in the end, the text doesn't present a coherent interpreation of the man or a picture of the man. this is the unavoidable downside to this scientific way of writing, which is certainly more objective than earlier biographies, but which can also leave some reasons "with a hole in their hearts" still to be plugged: who was goebbels?

so all in all the author is to be greatly commended for his factual and diligent approach to this work. it makes me want to see if author has other books in print.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight to the Third Reich and Joseph Goebbels, 9 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death (Paperback)
This book is fascinating, well written and extremely insightful. Dr Thacker was my lecturer at university and this book is as interesting as his lecturers. I would recommend it to enthusiasts, students and professionals. Brilliant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ... a friend who tells me it is a very good book, she is reading ALL ABOUT WORLD WAR ..., 11 Sept. 2014
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Bought this for a friend who tells me it is a very good book, she is reading ALL ABOUT WORLD WAR 2 and the Germans.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JG, 25 Sept. 2010
This is one hugely detailed book - enjoyable? - possibly not but quite satisfying. This fills in a lot of gaps in the Nazi years and clearly shows that Goebbels was Hitlers right hand man - of this there is no doubt. His views are extremeand his influence on where the Nazi party went unquestionable. A simplyn superb book but also worrying in that a man from such a simple background can end up wielding such influence. If anyone has any doubt about the effect of Bomber Command they should read this - nothing scared him more.
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Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death
Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death by Toby Thacker (Paperback - 29 Sept. 2010)
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