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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HItler's last days in astonishing detail,
By A Customer
This as an astonishing book, written by the British Army officer who worked out the truth about what happened to Hitler. It covers the immediate circle around Hitler and paints a vivid picture of the factional infighting of the last year of so of Nazi Germany.
Trevor-Roper paints a remarkable picture of Hitler's life in the bunker, surrounded by a bizarre cast of characters such as fawning generals, quack doctors, loyal retainers and the very sinister Martin Bormann. However the most vivid character is Armaments minister Albert Speer whose inner confusion and refusal to destroy the Germany that Hitler now despised dominates most of the book.
This is first class history, packed with eyewitness accounts (including proof that Bormann died not far from the bunker - forget all those theories about him escaping to Brazil) and explanations of what motivated the people involved and why they acted as they did.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic,
By A Customer
Mr. Trevor-Roper not only gives a detailed account of the last days of Hitler but makes an ursurpassed description of the intrigues, the characters, the ambitions, the fears of the main personalities of nazi Germany. The statements he makes in the book, years later confirmed when new evidence was made available bear witness to his great powers of deduction and research. The reading is enthralling and absorving. After finishing the book one has the feeling of returning from a trip to the darkest depths of human nature.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating account of the end of the Thousand Year Reich,
Hugh Trevor-Roper's credentials for writing this book are impeccable: the secret service officer who wrote the definitive account of Hitler's death at the end of 1945 for the Allies; later, Professor of History at Oxford; then ennobled and decorated for his work. And the reader is not let down by his greatness, for this book is remarkable and illuminating, shedding a clear and steady light on what happened in the paranoid and delusional end times of the Nazi regime.
The book is a quick read - only 220 pages from start to the end of the epilogue - but almost the most enjoyable bits are the prologues which have gradually built up through the many editions of this book. It can be annoying if you read the book through from the first page to the last, as much of what is in the prologue draws its significance from what follows in the main text, but the fifty page introduction to the third edition is invaluable as it explains the fate of Martin Bormann. But it is well worth the perservance and the reader is richly rewarded for making his/her way through the text.
One criticism: Trevor-Roper suffers from a touch of academic smugness. He is keen to point out that his book has now been in print for fifty-five years and that the substantial new disclosures made in the mid-fifties only served to confirm his version of the truth. He is quick to rubbish his opponents and those who don't agree with his conclusions and can seem heavy-handed and judgemental on the eyewitnesses' recall of facts (especially in his tersely worded footnotes). But in the context of his writing and evident ability, he can perhaps be forgiven this: his book was written, as he tells us, to forestall the development of a Hitler Myth. When writing about something so important, one can scarcely be (and Trevor-Roper certainly is not) magnanimous to one's opponents, for every chink in one's confidence is bound to be exploited for the promotion of a falsehood.
If you can read around this occasional misgiving, you'll find a gripping read and fantastically lucid account of the end of Hitler. Highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trevor-Roper's intimate memoir opens the door to Hitler.,
By A Customer
This small book (and an interesting one at that) deals with two things. The first is Trevor-Roper's naturalistic account, who discusses for the first half of the book how the Nazi regime came to power, and it looks at the various personalities of people within the Third Reich, such as Adolf Hitler himself, Heinrich Himmler and Albert Speer. The second half is an intimate account of the last ten days of Hitler, beginning with his fifty-sixth birthday in an underground bunker below the ruins of the Reich Chancellery. Here we see the Fuehrer's birthday reception, his rejection of Goering and Himmler, his last testament, his marriage to Eva Braun, and his suicide and cremation. The book is a terrific source for anyone who wants insight into the fall of the Third Reich, which survived the death of its founder by just one week. This refers to the original edition of H. R. Trevor-Roper's "The Last Days of Hitler," published by Macmillan in 1947: the original edition I was happy to find. Read it and above all, enjoy it!
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating piece of detective work and a brilliant book.,
The fact that it was originally written in 1947 doesn't date this book at all, though the author's introduction to this 1997 edition does provide both a valuable update and a worthwhile reflection on the events recorded in the original text.
The author, Hugh Trevor-Roper, was the British intelligence officer who was sent to Berlin in June 1945 to investigate the disappearance of Hitler. I guess intelligence officers really were intelligent in those days because the book is brilliant, and every bit as exciting as a good detective story. In fact, if one could forget the awfulness of the Nazi system and the ghastliness of the characters that ran it, the book would pass as rather a good comedy thriller. One of its more delightful features is the way the author treats most of Hitler's minions (with the notable exception of Albert Speer who seemed to have retained his humanity and his intelligence) as a bunch of self-seeking but credulous and blindly stupid idiots, which I guess most of them were; it is quite refreshing to see such ghastly historical figures exposed so ignominiously.
Besides being a very good read in itself, this short text is more than simply a story of the last few days of Hitler. It provides an excellent summation of one of the most dismal regimes of human history.
5.0 out of 5 stars This fine book has stood the test of time,
This review is from: The Last Days of Hitler (Paperback)
At the close of WW11 H R Trevor Roper, a noted and respected historian, was a major in the British Military Intelligence Service. Because the myriad of stories circulating about the fate of Hitler were causing political and operational difficulties in post war Europe, he was tasked with making a full and exhaustive investigation into the fate of Hitler. This book is the result of his investigations.
First published in 1947 to worldwide acclaim, this fine book has stood the test of time, even after nearly 70 years of constant and unrelenting research by other historians and many new documents coming to light, especially from the USSR, it is in most respects still a definitive work about the last days of The Third Reich and in particular Hitler and his court.
Covering in the main the last two years of Nazism, it describes in almost forensic detail the manner in which the brutal and semi religious fanaticism of Hitler and his acolytes came to its end. The endless empty rhetoric about racial purity, death, fire, struggle, sacrifice, blood and destruction, used constantly by Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Bormann, and so many others of that Teutonic mind-set that so captured a nation in the mid 1930’s, was by now being seen for what it really was, a recipe for endless and almost unimaginable world-wide suffering on a scale never before seen. The absolute madness prevalent in the last nine months of the war, after the attempted assassination of Hitler in July 1944, is almost unbelievable. The war is lost, any rational person can see that, however Hitler cannot because his whole philosophy, his reason for being, his god given mission, is based on Arian supremacy and his divine right to rule over the Germanic peoples. He now fully believes in his own propaganda: that Germany cannot lose the war as long as he is there to save the nation. He is their saviour and will prevail against the forces of “International Jewry” and evil.
He has, over the years, successfully surrounded himself with fundamentally ineffective, cowardly and unqualified persons who are promoted to vitally important positions of responsibility based on whether Hitler “liked them or not” or if he was “comfortable in their presence”. He wasn’t keen on very clever or successful people and this is probably the reason for the pitiable quality of the people around him. Considerations of suitability or competence for the post are for the most part were not even considered. His Armaments minister for instance was an Architect with no political, government or armaments knowledge whatsoever who eventually betrayed him in his last days in that dark damp bunker. With an intense messianic sense of his own personal destiny and place in history he sees the war in terms of himself alone and not in terms of the German people. In fact in those last desperate months he eventually disowned even his own people saying “those left alive are of no use, the best have already fallen”. His scorched earth policy (destroy absolutely everything including railways, bridges, water treatment works, hospitals, schools, factories, gas supplies, airports, roads, municipal buildings, libraries, etc) shocked even hardened Nazi’s to his attitude to his own war weary and suffering people. As far as he was concerned they had proven themselves “not worthy”. This complete absence of empathy for even his own people hints at that severely damaged psyche.
The last few weeks in war torn Berlin were desperate indeed. Hitler, as expected, slowly turned on those around him, accusing his generals of mass disloyalty, even Goering, Himmler and Speer being denounced as traitors. He was directing troops he no longer had, and his frightened Generals proved themselves unable to pluck up enough courage to tell him. Saying no to him at this late stage could get you shot on the spot. As those around him, who knew the score, began slowly to abandon him, others tried to negotiate a settlement with the allies in a last ditch attempt to save their own lives and perhaps the city. It seems, at about this time, the real world began to re-emerge from the fog of war, revealing the sorry stooped bitter figure of a man he had become. At just 56, he looked 20 years older, may have had Parkinson’s disease, was a mental and physical wreck, saw spies and assassins everywhere, and was probably by now a Neurotic Psychopath.
Fearing, even in death, being captured by the advancing Russians he arranged to marry Eva Braun and for them to commit suicide a few hours later and their bodies to be “burned away”. He had heard of how Mussolini’s body had been hung upside down for anyone to see. His enormous ego could not allow such humiliation even after death.
I’m sure there are other more accurate books on the great tyrants last weeks but I’m not sure they will have the same raw immediacy that TLDOH still captures even today.
A great read, but ultimately truly sad.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece,
Doubtless later writers will have had access to archives, witnesses etc, but I have read no other historian who can match Trevor-Roper for the sheer beauty of his writing style. His insights into the characters beggar belief. I don't think anyone has ever written such a brilliant 'snapshot' description of Himmler. There must be Booker prize winning novelists who would kill for a chance to look in this late historians waste-paper basket.
And the final act! The 'shot that the whole world had waited to hear'. Brilliant!
I gather Trevor-Roper had a reputation of being a rather waspish and stuffy donnish type. A man who can write like this could be forgiven almost anything. He could probably make a subject like'Thimble making 1388-1389' engrossing, and given this subject matter- plus the fact he was a later bystander to the whole thing- WOW! 5 stars, no doubt.
4.0 out of 5 stars The account of a tyrants last few weeks.,
This review is from: The Last Days of Hitler (Kindle Edition)
I am interested in the second world war and even though I have many books on the subject including a few on Hitler's last days in his bunker, I found this book educational and informative. It was a fascinating recount of the behavior of Hitler and the cronies who remained with him. Well worth reading.
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly informative and well written too,
A very worthwhile read, for anyone interested in what really happened.
I was prompted to read this after Colin Forbes' fictional account "The Leader and The Damned". Knowing the truth after this excellent piece of factual fiction, was fascinating & I recommend both most sincerely.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enlightening, well researched.,
This review is from: The Last Days of Hitler (Kindle Edition)
No stone was left unturned to compile this informative account of the last few days of Hitler's life. Anyone fascinated by the phenomenon of WWII, and its horrific events will appreciate this testament to the atmosphere experienced by all connected to the Bunker at the end.
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The Last Days of Hitler by Hugh Trevor Roper (Paperback - 16 Aug. 2012)