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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended !
This is a very detailed, well researched and highly readable first `half' of a two-volume biography. This first volume should be read by anyone interested in the life of Hitler and Nazi Germany up to 1936. Do NOT be put off by the length of the book and the two-volume biography as a whole - every page is worth reading!

It makes previously published and highly...
Published on 20 Jan 2009 by A Customer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Ian Kershaw on Hitler
Not being an intellectual I found that all the facts and figures were hard to absorbe and the reference to future events were a big distraction to the narrative. His work has been very well researched and must be admired for his thoroughness, I will press on and will read again if need be.
Published 2 months ago by Derek


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended !, 20 Jan 2009
This is a very detailed, well researched and highly readable first `half' of a two-volume biography. This first volume should be read by anyone interested in the life of Hitler and Nazi Germany up to 1936. Do NOT be put off by the length of the book and the two-volume biography as a whole - every page is worth reading!

It makes previously published and highly reputable Hitler biographies from earlier years look somewhat dated (Bullock's `Hitler - A Study in Tyranny' is one such biography).

Kershaw's grasp on chronology in respect of what Hitler articulated as Nazi 'policy' and when he articulated what he did is especially useful. Also, his assessment of Hitler's time in Vienna between 1908 and 1913 is especially fascinating and revealing.

Essential reading as one of several Hitler and Nazi Germany publications from the same author.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A historical magnus opus., 12 Dec 2006
Looking at some of the earlier reviews I have to wonder if the reviewers have actually understood the book. Kershaw doesn't rehash the 'Hitler as a lucky non-entity' argument. He shows (again and again) how Hitler, through his hard-won dominiation of the Nazi party, coupled with his undoubted genius as an orator, came to power in Germany. The early chapters on the unique social and political conditions within Germany which allowed a demagogue like Hitler to prosper are worth the price of the book alone. Also, the charge that Kershaw is 'woolly' on the root of Hitlers' anti-semitism is deeply flawed. No-one can acurately pin-point what made Hitler so rabidly anti-semetic without resorting to cod-philosophy, which is exactly what real historians (like Kershaw) avoid.

Hitler: Hubris is not only the best book on Hitler I have ever read, it's the best book period.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly detailed, but hard to fault, 9 Jun 2009
I bought this book, purely out of personal interest to learn more about the story of Hitler, and the conditions which allowed him to rise to power with such devastating consequences.

I knew the basic facts before I started to read the book, but now feel like a seasoned expert, such is the detail on Hitler himself, but also the social and political turmoil in Germany at the time which allowed someone so seemingly devoid of talent or ambition in his early years(other than an aggressive and vague revolutionary stance). It is not a light read, due to the depth of information, and the size of the book, but it is not difficult to read. If, like me, you want to know more about this historical character, this book, and it's second volume "Nemesis" would contain all the information you could ever possibly want.

I am about to start reading "Nemesis" to complete the story. So bear in mind that you will really need to buy both books, as this on it's own only tells half the story.

There are differences of opinion from some reviewers about how Hitler is portrayed, however I would not worry about that. The book does show that at key points in his life and his rise to prominence that he was incredibly lucky, and I think these are highlighted to show that history couold have been very different if certain people had made different decisions along the way. In that case we would never have even heard of Adolf Hitler, and that makes this such an interesting story. There is also enough fact in this book to make your own mind up about what happened and therefore I would highly recommend this. Just leave yourself plenty of time to get through it!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Readable History text: not necessarily a contradiction, 1 July 2001
By 
sam.mason@bnc.ox.ac.uk (Brasenose College, Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
As a student of Modern History, it is both refreshing and useful to find a book which is not only such a major part of the current historiography on such an significant subject but also so accessible. Kershaw's book gives an important insight into the background of Hitler's early life and into the environment which helped to spawn the dictator who more than anyone contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Apart from being fantastically well researched, "Hubris" is clear and easy to read and provides a useful re-examination of this topic, which until now had only been covered by Alan Bullock's early (but nevertheless brilliant) study of Hitler. This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the subject and an exceptionally useful aid for anyone studying Nazi history at university.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and thought provoking, 20 Aug 2008
The first book in Ian Kershaw's autobiography of Adolf Hitler is a fascinating read, it is extremely detailed in content.
The book starts with Hitler's parentage and then tells of his childhood, his activities before the first world war are described. There is a brief description of the years of the first world war and how Hitler was wounded in a gas attack and stayed in a military hospital in Pasewalk.
The formulation of Hitler's antisemite views are discussed in detail.
How Hitler became involved in politics after the first world war, is described in detail, and also the story of how the NSDAP was founded by Anton Drexler. The Munich Putsch is detailed and the imprisonment of Hitler afterwards. All along, the author tells the reader of the other characters involved in Hitler's life, and also the prevailing social and economic conditions, both globally and in Germany during the time.
The author argues that the rise of the NSDAP was linked to the depression of the 1930s, and shows this to be the case. The rise of the Fuhrer cult, and the NSDAP portraying Hitler as some type of demi-god is described.
All in all I found the book to be fascinating and also quite frightening in places, especially the blood laws, outlawing marriages between "aryans" and jews.
This book should be required reading for current and future politicians, so they can ensure a party like the NSDAP never gain power like that again.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the second world war, and also those interested in politics.
I believe this book alongside the 2nd book "Nemesis" Hitler, 1936-1945: Nemesis (Allen Lane History)will be the standard text on Hitler for many years to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 14 Jun 2014
I've been reading, and starting to re-read as soon as I've finished it, this book and its sequel for some years now, being the best explanation I've read of the origin of the Europe into which I was born sixty-seven years ago. The only reason I can continue to re-read these door-stopper books in recent years, with my failing sight and arthritic hands, is due to the convenience of Kindle, for which I cannot be too grateful. I'm curious though to know by what means ebooks are produced - by not-so-smart scanning software, or copy typing by people for whom English isn't their first language? I only ask because these two volumes in ebook form are spoilt on almost every page by bizarre spelling, punctuation and hyphenation howlers that aren't present in the printed editions which I have - there has been no attempt whatever at proof-reading these e-editions.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ian Kershaw on Hitler, 3 May 2014
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This review is from: Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (Kindle Edition)
Not being an intellectual I found that all the facts and figures were hard to absorbe and the reference to future events were a big distraction to the narrative. His work has been very well researched and must be admired for his thoroughness, I will press on and will read again if need be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 26 Mar 2014
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APR1 (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (Kindle Edition)
Ian Kershaw is one of the finest writers there is on the subject of the second world war.

This superb biography of history's most notorious man is un-rivalled. If like me you try to understand why these things happen, and how the nazi's swept to power, this is a book you should read.

A quite stunning piece of in-depth work and a masterpiece of research. There is also along with this two volume series, a slightly abridged one volume book. However if you're fascinated by military history and the reign of the nazi's, this two volume publication is the one to go for.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best work on Hitler to date., 3 Feb 2014
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Far be it for me to comment on the work of Professor Kershaw but probably like you I've read AJP Taylor, Alan Bullock, Trevor Roper, even that revisionist (Hitler's War) David something whose name I can't recall and several other works directly or indirectly about the little Bohemian Corporal, some superb, some great, others not so great - but this book, both volumes - in terms of historical analysis is pretty much at the peak of contemporary scholarship. I keep re-reading it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, balanced and authoritative., 1 Sep 2013
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I enjoyed reading this book very much, I would have given it four and a half stars if I could.

It is the first book about Hitler I have read, having avoided the subject of the Third Reich, despite a deep interest in history, for many years.

I found it very interesting especially in that Kershaw suggests that while Hitler was a man of many talents, the development of Germany in the twenties and thirties was not, of course, solely down to his influence. Germany, he argues, had an appetite for totalitarian rule and anti-semitism was already highly developed. Having said that, while Kershaw documents prejudice against Jews mainly because of their success in business, he does not offer any in depth analysis of this. Nor for that matter does he offer any history of the Weimar republic, nor of Germany at all except in as much as it relates directly to Hitler. This is not a criticism but it is a limitation. A biographer might reasonably not expect to have to provide any more background than is strictly necessary to tell his tale of a personal development, but if you lack that historical knowledge you will have to go elsewhere to find it.

Kershaw makes it clear from the information he provides that Hitler was a man of profound oratorical gifts, and also a man with supreme political instinct and timing who almost infallibly knew how to ride the waves of feeling in Germany. Perhaps, if you like, he was in tune with the national Zeitgeist. However I felt that Kershaw at times wanted to underplay Hitler's talents and call him lucky, I wasn't sure if he was being strictly honest in doing so, perhaps he was anxious not to be seen to be praising Hitler in any way.

If you are unsure whether to buy this book I urge you to read the reviews on Amazon.com. As if often the case they are far more lucid and well-informed than those on this site in my opinion.
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