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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, balanced and authoritative., 1 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (Paperback)
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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