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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced and perceptive account of a difficult subject
Albert Speer was Hitler's architect during the 30's and Minister for Armaments during the Second World War, and after the war he was the only high-ranking Nazi to apologize and to renounce National Socialism. He was tried at Nuremberg, where he expressed contrition but always maintained that he himself was unaware of the genocide perpetrated by his party. He pleaded...
Published on 20 Oct. 2009 by Guardian of the Scales

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor
Can only reiterate Lyndseypops review and recommend a reading of Fest's studies of Speer, particularly `Albert Speer, converstaions with hitler's architect' where Fest recounts the first meeting of Speer and Sereny, providing a possible insight into the potential failings of Sereny's text.

My suggestion is read Fest, very sadly deceased, instead.
Published 12 months ago by TD


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 20 April 2011
This review is from: Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth (Paperback)
In this superb biography the author, who became a close companion of Speer in his latter years,unravels many of his testimonies and what it is revealed is a man who told a lot of lies in his biography and on the Nuremberg trial.
Far from being a "good" Nazi, Speer was ruthless about the fate of the forced workers working to the Nazi war effort and was perfectly aware of the crimes being commited without raising a finger to improve their fate.
He his described telling the author that he once visited a concentration camp and that was an "awfull" experience.
Also his alledged attempt to kill Hitler in the last months of the war, as described in his memoirs, turns out to be a flagrant lie - with Speer's confession that he was incapable to do that - as well as his alledged "confession" to the dictator, on his last visit to him in the bunker, that he had disobeyed to his scorched earth orders. That was impossible, says the author, because Speer's visit to the bunker coincided with the day when Goring's famous ultimatum was received and the Fuhrer was filled with such a rage and anger that is very unlikely that he was in the mood to forgive Speer's confessions of betrail.

The author also brings testimony of many Speer's former colaborators to corroborate her assumptions.Also Speer's high intelligence is by no means diminished in the book as he was capable of making the nazi war industry in full swing without previous experience.He had also a sharp intelligence that allowed him to grasp the core of any matter that was brought to him and managed to dominate many subjects such as economy, guns and warfare.

Nevertheless Speer had many facets and was capable of being generous with his collaborators, protecting them when necessary and turning a blind eye to the ones who were not nazis.He really opposed to the scorched earth policy ordered by Hitler and managed to provide supplies to the encircled populations in the Ruhr and other parts of Germany at the expense of the war effort in the last months of the war.

He his also described as being pensive and repentant during his time in jail and afterwards.An excellent read elegantly written. High recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Germany on trial, 1 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth (Paperback)
Our obsession with the Third Reich I believe is down to two things. People want to know what it was like to live in such a society, and also to understand how basically decent people could commit, or at the very least live with, such evil. Gitta Sereny's stunning book comes closer than anything I have read, to giving, if not complete answers, then at least a real understanding.

This is not just a biography of Albert Speer and his relationship with Hitler, it's a detailed, almost forensic examination of the German people during the Nazi period. The detail and depth of her research is superb, and while during some interviews with Speer she acts as chief prosecutor (as any journalist should) she is on the whole scrupulously fair in her reporting and analysis.

Almost more illuminating than her examination of Speer, are the many interviews she has with people lower down the food chain in the Third Reich, for example the secretaries at the ministry, work associates of Speer throughout his career, and even the children of prominent Nazis.

When I put this book down, I felt I had been through a court case, with the German people as the defendents. My verdict is guilty, but Gitta Sereny has not only given me a completely new level of understanding, and a belief it could have happened anywhere, but also sympathy for a nation naively led into oblivion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once over the first few chapters, it's unputdownable, 5 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth (Paperback)
The first couple of chapters about his early life are ok and I understand why they're there, but don't let them put you off. After that the book is fascinating, not just because it delves into the actions and thoughts of Speer but also because it reveals so much about Hitler, the upper echelons of the Nazi party and their relationship with the German population. All the important questions are asked in forensic detail, backed up by exhaustive research, and this book gets closer to answers than any other book I've read on the subject. What's more, it's written in an intense, well paced and highly readable style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Speer - a man at war with his conscience, 7 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth (Paperback)
Such a brilliant book on so many levels. 720 gripping pages reflecting on a man at war with his conscience.
My Conclusions. - Speer was unquestionably a brilliant man. His talents in both architecture and organisation are indisputable. At Nuremberg he was the only one among Hitlers inner circle who accepted full responsibility for the crimes of the Nazi Party. He wore the uniform of high office as a Minister inside the Third Reich, and he also wore the same uniform as that of the Jewish slave labourer when he was banished to Spandau for 20 years - a place of incarceration that he readily admits was a refuge for him, rather than a prison. The burning question 'should he have hung for his actions as Minister for Armaments?' My verdict - a resounding yes!
Sereny's Masterpiece of intuitive biography repeated fires back at the same question towards its subject - 'Mr Speer how much did you know about what was happening to the Jews?' Speer repeatedly begs indifference. Accepting responsibility and confessing to your crimes are two very different things. The former was a clever tactic aimed at self-preservation for Speer, yet when it came to the burning question of what he knew and about what the consequences of his orders would be, Speer just could not confront the truth - he could not find the strength within himself to register the full extent of his sins. In short, for all his brilliance, he was a liar who also knew how to play a very cool and calculated game.
How could he not have known that millions of Jews were being, either worked to death on his projects' or transported to locations where they would be gassed if they were not considered healthy enough?
Anne Frank wrote that she had heard that Jews were being gassed as early as 1942. Are we expected to believe that Hitler's closest personal friend in the whole organisation knew nothing of the Final Solution, and yet a fourteen year old Jewish girl holed-up in a 'secret annexe' did?
Speer planned the events of his release from Spandau months in advance. This included luxury hotels, vintage wine and fine dining, all the while immersed in the love of his welcoming family. Those slave labourers who worked themselves close to death to deliver his targets, seldom got to experience any kind of homecoming . Those emaciated, shaven-headed survivors of his brutal work detail more likely perished in the filthy, stinking disease-ridden hell of Bergen-Belsen before being tractored into a mass-grave of thousands. Meanwhile, Speer lived a life of secluded luxury on the strength of his carefully worded memoirs.
Finally, how can one put this book aside without mentioning the fate of the six Goebbels children. Helga, Hilde, Helmut, Holdine, Hedwig and Heidrun Goebbels played and skipped happily around the bunker, totally unaware that all their fate's were already sealed. On that final day the six children laughed and sang as they walked in single file towards their quarters - where they were about to be administered morphine in their bedtime chocolate as a sedative, before a lethal cyanide pill was crushed in their mouths.. We know the process was not so straightforward, as photographs clearly show that the eldest girl. Helga was had been struck about the face while being restrained. Do these slaughtered innocents not merit a memorial? Those Goebbels children, so coldly put to death, were as spotless as the Jews, and likewise, should not be forgotten.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is truly useful., 4 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth (Paperback)
Sereny's attempt to wrestle with the problem of how a person who was involved in a regime engaged in extermination juggles his conscience and his consciousness of himself afterwards is courageous and illuminating. It would be easy to start from the conclusion that he must necessarily have false consciousness, but she doesn't do that - she meets him with an open mind and so helps us understand him - WITHOUT ever ending up identifying with him, which would have been easy, seeing as how she spent so much time with him. This book is really to be recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Read, 24 April 2012
By 
Mr. D. A. Thornton (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth (Paperback)
I have had this book on my shelf for two years, and finally a week away where I could tackle it. This book really takes you through his childhood right up to the end of his life, which as fate would have it would be in London! He clearly likes to give the impression that after it all ended, he despised Hitler and that he knew nothing of the final solution of the jews. After reading this its impossible for anyone to believe he didn't know what was happening & he without a doubt should have hung after Nuremburg. However that said, unless he had of lived we may never have had the opportunity to see into the Reich from such a trusted a senior figure. I read it in four nights, which is no mean feet for me!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good versus Evil, 5 July 2007
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J. Duducu (Ruislip) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth (Paperback)
It has been awhile since anyone has written a review for this book so while I guess I am not adding anything new it's worth reminding people that this is an amazing book one that makes you realise how we can all be led into carrying out evil deeds and not even realise it. This is a vital study of the ideology behind Germany in World War 2 but also and more importantly this is a study into the human condition. It makes us realise how easy it is to follow the herd mentality and how easy it is to turn a blind eye. Powerful and vital this is one of the most important books ever written.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best biographies I have read, 10 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth (Paperback)
This compelling and perceptive book provides a detailed and fascinating portrait of Albert Speer, Hitler's architect and Minister of Armaments and War Production. It is well-researched, non-judgmental and beautifully written. Gitta Sereny portrays Speer with sympathy, but, in the course of her conversations with him throughout the book, she ultimately persuades him to confront his own self-deception. This book provides vivid insight into Nazi era but is most fascinating in its depiction of Speer's struggles with his conscience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A question of guilt ? Not really!, 3 May 2013
By 
G.O.M. (Warrinton, UK) - See all my reviews
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An under-the-skin account of Hitler's No2, as unearthed by Gitta Sereny. Although she has probed carefully over several years, her account is in many ways neutral. Speer was largely self deluding (at ***most*** generous) and quite clearly had a full set of emotional and character flaws. Perhaps the unwritten story (here at least) is the 'couldn't care less' attitude of many middle/upper class in 1920/30/40s Germany. I WAS struck by some pale comparisons with today's Britain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very educational, 6 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth (Paperback)
I have learnt a lot from this book - and want to know more about Gitta Sereny. I admire her hugely.
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Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth
Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth by Gitta Sereny (Paperback - 9 Aug. 1996)
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