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1938: Hitler's Gamble Hardcover – 25 Jun 2009

3.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Constable; First Edition (UK) edition (25 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845298454
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845298456
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,380,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Excellent (Literary Review)

A masterpiece (Daily Telegraph)

Giles MacDonogh has repeatedly shown himself to be in the front rank of British scholars of German history. The depth of his human understanding, the judiciousness of his pickings from source material and the quality of his writing make this a book at once gripping and grave. (The Spectator)

Absorbing (Sunday Times)

MacDonagh tells this story brilliantly. (Military Illustrated)

Book Description

A masterly new work explores the moment when Hitler’s mask fell.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is not your usual historical treatise but more of an historical memoir. It is a memoir of the year 1938 in Central Europe. Unlike a good history which is an accounting of what happened during a specific time, a memoir is much more opinionated (and brother, MacDonogh has enough for two books). In this case we get to see the 'other' side of history, the parts that are usually left out of the "history books". The reporting on Hitler's moods, many taken from the diaries of his 'inner circle' give a better idea of not only what Hitler was thinking but how he came to his opinions. After the Anschluss he felt that he was infallible (move over Pope Pius XI) and that the 'old line' Generals were a bunch of 'old woman'.

One of the more interesting sidelights of the book is the feuds between Goring and Ribbentrop and Himmler and Goebels. The Propaganda Minister was constantly in hot water for cheating on his wife, the Fuhrer turns out to be quite the prude. On the other hand we have Goring trying to put into his Four Year Plan to gear up the Third Reich for war production, while Hitler is dreaming of rebuilding Berlin and Linz. Goring goes into eclipse over the 'war' for the Sudetenland. Goring knows that the army is not ready but Ribbentrop is there egging on the Fuhrer. When the British cave in to his 'demands', Goring and the Generals are left with egg on their faces.

The marginalization of first the German and then Austrian Jews, while everyone in the world turns their backs is the most powerful image of the book. Little by little, week by week, Jews lose more and more civil rights, the right to ownership of businesses, buildings, livelihoods, while they are expected to pay their way out of the Greater Reich and into other countries.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although not able to match the classic 1938 book - On Borrowed Time - this is nevertheless a book worth reading. It has revelations concerning the pecking order in Hitler's inner ' court' as well as statistics to make your head swim. The author has certainly done his research and has family reasons for wanting to explore this important year. However, it lacks something in its narrative drive: I never felt compelled to turn the page, although many of its pages were rewarding with the insight and information they contained.
I thought I knew all about this momentous year but I was wrong; there was a lot of new material which made me slightly alter my perspective on the period. Whereas
other books I have read covering this period have had Chamberlain as the central character, this one has Hitler's acolytes and the persecuted Jews as its main subjects,banishing Chamberlain to the periphery. Sometimes whilst reading some detailed passages, I felt I was being bludgeoned with a blunt instrument. Nevertheless, I would recommend this book to genuine students of this most fateful of years in European history.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read hundreds of books on the period over 40 years and there is nothing at all new in this one. That 1938 was a gamble for Hitler in some way that any scholar of the period may not have already surmised, is simply not revealed. The book merely takes one year and explains what dozens of authors have in one way or another already covered.

Perhaps it's fair to say that it is slightly novel to look at 1938 from a single focus, but don't expect to read anything new.

It is well written and easy to get through, form that point if view it makes a good read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
It's not "1938: Hitler's gamble", it's "1938: there was persecution before the war too you know". I would say a full third of the book relates to the persecution of the Jews. I found it interesting at first, but then I started looking for the "gamble" aspects, and only kept finding a list of what Eichmann did next...etc. Then it began to irritate me. There are fascinating elements, which would have shown Hitler was gambling: apparently the Austrian Legion mutinied not long after the Anchluss. But that was all you heard about it, a one-liner, and then the author spent several paragraphs talking about one individual who was persecuted. At the end of the book, you note that the author's family was one of those Jewish families persecuted. So you could see his angle, and it would have probably been much better if he HAD written a book on the Jews in Austria instead.

And, a much better book on the Jews in Austria in 1938 is http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hare-Amber-Eyes-Hidden-Inheritance-ebook/dp/B003NX6Y2O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411320811&sr=8-1&keywords=amber+hare

which is one of the rare books I have read twice. "1938:..." however, I very nearly threw out the window I was so annoyed with it...
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