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on 12 February 2012
I liked this book a lot. It was well written and not overly self opiniating. He does not fall into the 'it was nothing to do with me' syndrome, but tells it as it was. He seems to have been in the right place at the right time (it took me 9 years to get Sergeant - going by his promotion record he would have made General in the same time).
He added some bits of information that I did not know - so in my opinion, it is a worthwhile book.
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on 18 September 2012
A facinating insight from someone who worked with Hitler on a day to day basis through all the major events of world war two. Seeing the German point of view on the reasons behind the invasion of Poland and that Hitler thought Churchill was a warmonger gives you food for thought provided you don't just automatically dismiss these points of view. The author saw the human side of Hitler and brings this out in his book. Well worth a read.
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on 3 October 2013
This is a very interesting book by a person who lived close to Hitler for the 8 years 1938-45. It is best described as 'a stolid description of what happened', much of which we already know from other sources, and lacks the insights and commentaries which could have made the book unique.

The book was published 35 years after the author had destroyed his diaries and notes at the end of the war. Therefore he had to draw on his memory as well as, to some degree, on other people's accounts. In these circumstances it is remarkable that he has been able to present the detail of his story. Some of it no doubt has been coloured by the 20/20 vision of hindsight as well as by the spirit of the new democratic Germany. While some of the facts may have been distorted in this way, the atmosphere he describes in Hitlers inner circle has perhaps been truly reported. This is one of the most interesting parts of the book.

Von Below is open about his private reservations of Hitler's decisions, his fears that the Russian attack was doomed to failure and that from 1943 onwards the war was lost to Germany. And of course he knew about the murder of civilians in concentrations camps and occupied territories. He was an aristocrat and not a Nazi, and thus had standards that conflicted with his duties. But none of this stopped him serving Hitler with total loyalty and he was prepared to die at his post. It is a pity that in the book he does not reflect and enlarge on these contradictions and explain how he handled them and what he makes of them looking back from the more modern world of the 1970's.
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on 8 May 2016
Interesting read but, let's be frank, little that we do not know already. This book may have been informative when first published in 1980 but there is little today that is not well known or even not well published. You can see this in the evolution of the title as the publishers have tried harder and harder with time to sell the book.

The book is essentially a diary written from memory, after the events, and obviously with the benefit of a huge amount of hindsight. Again, for people of similar positions to that held by von Below, we hear how they knew nothing of the holocaust and they never heard Hitler talk about the holocaust. Given Hitler's dislike of the Jews and many other ethnic groups, this is quite frankly impossible to believe. Mr von Below also tried to paint himself in a positive light - well trusted by all, friends with everyone, desperate to do his thing at the front but denied by Hitler etc. Whilst most of the book simply described known events, there is a fair amount of interesting text about the interaction and mutual dislike of many of the main players in the Third Reich.

The writing is easy on the eyes and the structure of the book, besides following the years of the War, has been well highlighted around key events. The photographs are mildly interesting though not earth shattering. The book would have benefited enormously from a large map showing all the key place names mentioned in the text. The absence of a map in books like this always makes me wonder if even the publishers bothered reading it!?!
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on 7 May 2013
This book is not well written and the translation is a bit awkward at times. However the insight Von Below gives into life at HItlers side is fascinating and invaluable. I would reccomend it to anyone with an interest in this era
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on 24 July 2009
In my search for additional information on Hitler's Aides-de-camp, particularly Rear Admiral Karl Jesco von Puttkamer as Marine Aide-de-camp, the eyewitness account of Nicolaus von Below was most informative. Puttkamer is a key character in The Eric Stark trilogy that includes 'The Trade Commissioner' ISBN 075520056X, 'Red Diamonds & Nazi Gold' ISBN 0755201841 and 'The Cayman Tycoon' ISBN 0755204403. Nicolaus von Below's memoires offered me an exciting insight of what really happened at the Führer's headquarters.
G Sson Miller
Author of The Eric Stark trilogy
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