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Albert Speer: Conversations with Hitler's Architect Hardcover – 27 Jun 2007
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"Of all the biographers and writers on the Third Reich, Joachim Fest was not only good at his craft, but also had the good fortune to be invited to act, as her describes it, as ′interrogating editor′ for the best selling autobiography of Albert Speer. What he has done is to create the literary equivalent of a fly–on–the–wall documentary."
"These conversations will be indispensable for specialists in the history of the Third Reich and fascism."
Political Studies Review
"In its poignancy, this book gives remarkable insights into three men: Hitler, as a consummate manipulator of people; Speer, as not particularly bright but vainglorious, weak, unremarkable and very lonely; and, not least, Fest himself, who proves tenacious and resourceful. He has convinced me with a work of brilliant analysis: the best study of Speer I know."
Michael H. Kater, York University, Toronto
"These diary–type notes by Joachim Fest, bestselling historian of the Third Reich, of his extensive conversations with Albert Speer make truly absorbing reading."
V.R. Berghahn, Columbia University
From the Back Cover
Albert Speer remains the most mysterious character of the leadership of the Nazi regime. He was the chief architect of the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler s confidant. Speer built the Reichskanzlei (official offices), discovered the Lightdome and was finally, in 1942, named as the minister for arms. But he characterised himself as apolitical, called Hitler s hatred of Jews an anomaly, and the conspirators of the 20th July placed Speer s name on their cabinet list.
Joachim Fest helped Albert Speer to draft his memoirs and the Spandau diaries. Between 1966 and 1981 they conducted numerous detailed conversations whose content (and at times exact wording) Joachim Fest recorded in writing after the event. The records captured in this manner are now published for the first time in this book and they provide a unique portrait of Albert Speer of the man, his thinking and his role in the Nazi regime. They are an important contribution to understanding the psychology of the national socialist leadership and at the same time a significant document of history.See all Product description
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Based upon notes taken throughout Joachim Fest's fifteen-year association with Hitler's former `favourite' and architect, Fest finally condensed and edited them to produce an essential edition to the `Speer Legend'.
Reading the text, one can feel the authors initial unease with his subject and his evolving opinion of him. There are many insightful comments by Fest, and his publisher Siedler. One feels that there could (and should) have been much more of the detail here in the previous book.
One can also sense the distaste Fest had for many of his fellow historians (Goldhagen and Sereny in particular).
Unlike Fest's biography of Speer, the notes that make this book have been excellently translated and have lost none of their meaning and eloquence.
Some prevoius reading in relation to Speer is required.
My only criticism is that the book is far too short considering the extent of their acquaintance, running at just over 200 pages of text and photographs.
Some obvious digs at Sereny; first for historical accuracy with respect to the Himmler speech and Speer's location, and the encounter between them towards the end of the book.
The comments by Speer on the "Hitler diaries" really make one wonder what Stern were thinking, when someone close to Hitler thought that the existence of such material was quite preposterous.
In summary, it wasn't quite what I was expecting, it is very short but I found it fascinating from a historical and psychological perspective.
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