Customer Review

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating account of the end of the Thousand Year Reich, 13 Jan 2003
This review is from: The Last Days of Hitler (Paperback)
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.
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