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5.0 out of 5 stars Subject: the gigantic panorama of Hitler's overturning of everything. Not narrowly about Speer.
Fest's book is a powerhouse of information and insight not only on Speer, but on the deep, mysterious sorcery emanating from Hitler that diffused through the movement & brought everything together. This is full justification for buying the book and reading it several times, whether or not you've formed your final opinion of Speer. The vast sweep taken by the author is...
Published 3 months ago by Ronald Haak

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good on sources, but no 'final verdict'
Alongside the works on Speer such as those by Sereny and Van Der Vat, this biography is simply that: a biography. It is not as thorough as the former, nor as entertaining as the latter. Fest steers a course that although quite sub-textually (and in places overtly) is 'pro-Speer' guides the reader quite swiftly through Speer's professional life.

If Sereny's...
Published on 19 Dec 2006 by Moon Cheese


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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good on sources, but no 'final verdict', 19 Dec 2006
Alongside the works on Speer such as those by Sereny and Van Der Vat, this biography is simply that: a biography. It is not as thorough as the former, nor as entertaining as the latter. Fest steers a course that although quite sub-textually (and in places overtly) is 'pro-Speer' guides the reader quite swiftly through Speer's professional life.

If Sereny's excellent 'Battle With The Truth' is vast and impartial, and Van Der Vat in 'The Good Nazi' almost swinging the executioners axe in fury, the this is the Biography that Speer, were he still alive would have endorsed. Fest's relationship with his subject began upon his release from Spandau when Fest 'assisted' him with writing 'Inside...' and '... Secret Diaries'. The larger part of this biography is based upon the extensive notes Fest took at that time (recently published in Germany as 'Unanswerable Questions') and this is the books main asset.

However, it fails in that there is no 'Final Verdict' as it claims, and the prose is a little pedantic, to say the least. If you are new to Speer, I suggest Sereny's book. If you are familiar to him, this book is little more than a useful addition to the still expanding Speer 'legend'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Subject: the gigantic panorama of Hitler's overturning of everything. Not narrowly about Speer., 28 April 2014
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Ronald Haak (Cork, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Fest's book is a powerhouse of information and insight not only on Speer, but on the deep, mysterious sorcery emanating from Hitler that diffused through the movement & brought everything together. This is full justification for buying the book and reading it several times, whether or not you've formed your final opinion of Speer. The vast sweep taken by the author is trenchant and interconnects with multiple aspects of the entire Nazi experience. It was news to me that the 1942 Russian campaign had available only half the number of vehicles and men that had constituted the invasion of the previous year, so appalling were the previous winter's losses. Nor had I realized that in November, 1941 with the disaster before Moscow unfolding amidst the ferocity of the Russian winter, Hitler refused to cut back the grandeoise construction projects underway to transform the center of Berlin despite its gigantic drain on manpower, materiel and the state economy. He insisted that construction continue. This induced Speer to suspect that some of Hitler's hunger for military triumphs was to provide heroic substance to feed into the new architecture. His plans to overhaul cities across vast continents depended on architecture to establish their lasting effects, just as had been the case for the pyramids in Egypt and the Pergamon. For the first time, thanks to Fest, I realized that architecture for Hitler was a raging, visceral need on par with all other policy considerations, even war policy, and was not just a mode of relaxation --- as painting was for Churchill. The furious speed of his campaigns was to hasten the architectural revolution across continents and set up Germany as the equivalent of historic Rome in Hitler's own lifetime. Valuable pages outline how second nature it was for the German population (and not just Speer) to leap onto the jaugernaut of the new regime in the early years (48-49; 339-342). I find such sharpened perspectives essential to decoding what the Reich was all about.

This panorama will radically expand the world of a reader who might otherwise approach the book warily, fearing a narrow, Speer-only focus. Fest's superlative knowledge carries us far beyond this.

The book is not only worth the purchase and but is well worth re-reading, as well.
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SPEER:A BIOGRAPHY: The Final Verdict
SPEER:A BIOGRAPHY: The Final Verdict by Joachim Fest (Paperback - 18 April 2002)
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