- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth Paperback – 9 Aug 1996
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From 1942 Speer was the second most powerful man in the Reich and Hitler’s right-hand man. Gitta Sereny, through twelve years of research and through many conversations with Speer, his friends and colleagues, reveals how Speer came to terms with his own acts and failures to act, his progress from moral extinction to moral self-education and the question of his real culpability in the Nazi crimes.
From the Inside Flap
Albert Speer was not only Hitler's architect and armaments minister, but the Fuhrer's closest friend--his "unhappy love." Speer was one of the few defendants at the Nuremberg Trials to take responsibility for Nazi war crimes, even as he denied knowledge of the Holocaust. Now this enigma of a man is unveiled in a monumental biography by a writer who came to know Speer intimately in his final years. Out of hundreds of hours of interviews, Sereny unravels the threads of Speer's personality: the genius that made him indispensable to the German war machine, the conscience that drove him to repent, and the emotional wounds that made him susceptible to Hitler's lethal magnetism. Read as an inside account of the Third Reich, or as a revelatory unsparing yet compassionate study of the human capacity for evil, Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth is a triumph.
"Fascinating...Not only a major addition to our knowledge of the Third Reich, but a stunning attempt to understand the nature of good and evil."--Newsday
"More than a biography...It also constitutes a perceptive re-examination of the mysterious appeal of Adolf Hitler."--San Francisco Chronicle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book is balanced and LONG - and it achieves a great deal of understanding by dealing with, and looking at in great detail the childhood of Speer . The battle with truth is perhaps one that we all have. The battle to make sense of the truths that human nature and their acts confront us with. The late Gita Sereny spent a lifetime looking at the darker corners of the human condition, and often from the darkest tales and the darkest of place finds hope.
It is perhaps one of the finest biographies I have every read, and the best book, the most balanced on Speer.
I have recently re read it, now in my fifties, and could not put it down. The wandering narrative has gone replaced by occasional interesting asides; the regular deviations from the main subject have become systematic additions to the text that now back up, reinforce, or contradict preceding information. The text that didn’t hold my attention now gripped it like a vice and I found myself reading in the early hours when I should have been asleep.
This is perhaps a book for the more mature mind that has seen a bit of life and understands that ideals and intentions can and are often affected by circumstances. People do not always do the right thing, they will look the other way, act out of personal interest, lie, deceive, and allow themselves to be pressured to act, and perhaps even think, and in a way that perhaps they would not have done in other circumstances. In Speer’s case I think all of these things apply and probably many more.
Being close to Hitler and the Nazi elite for many years and having to, at least on the surface, accept and concur with their extremely unpleasant and unrelenting ideology about race, must have affected his ability to exercise independent rational though even on the most basic of levels. This shifting of one’s moral compass is covered in some depth and applies to many of the top Nazi’s who took on roles in mass murder on an enormous scale and then tried, at least in their own mind, to justify their actions as necessary and unavoidable.
Ms Sereny’s book is not like any other biography I have ever read. She seems to gently pick at her subjects allowing them to respond as they feel fit. This gentle approach has the effect of drawing more from the subject and this “drip drip” effect adds up to an astonishingly detailed and readable account of someone who by chance got caught up in the whole Nazi experience but who also never made any real effort to extricate himself from the looming storm clearly on the horizon. Until almost the very end of the conflict he appears to have been a loyal Hitler supporter, or at the very least an efficient and obedient one. Only months before the final devastating defeat does his conscious seem to reassert itself.
Speer is an enigma who will never be fully understood, and this is because Speer didn’t fully understand himself. His contemporaries, who were interviewed or left written evidence in the form of diaries or published works, also found him difficult to assess. Some believed him calculating and unfeeling others an unwitting victim drawn along by events and without the character or ability to distance himself from his brutal masters. Even the Nuremburg trials seemed unable to define Speer’s role in the attempted extermination of an entire people or his knowledge of the terrible conditions within the forced labour camps that he used to ensure his building and armaments programmes were fully implemented.
My personal view is that Speer could not possibly have been as unaware of the horrors of Nazism as he makes out. Being within the Nazi elite for many years and also in positions of immense influence and authority, he could not feasibly have been in ignorance of so much for so long. It beggars belief that ordinary Germans had “suspicions of terrible things happening in the east” but he was in total ignorance.
Albert Speer: His battle with truth is a sobering book about the terrible things that can happen when myth and ideology are perceived as more important then life itself.
My own view is one of great surprise that Speer was so leniently dealt with, and I still think it wrong that his subordinate Sauckel, who worked under his instructions, was sentenced to death while Speer escaped.
After his release, Speer wrote several bestselling books on the Nazis and often appeared on TV and in the print media, apologizing for the Nazi regime but always denying knowledge of the "final solution". Many applauded his bravery for attempting to confront the horrors of that time but others doubted his sincerity, claiming he must have known. In this book, Sereny weighs up the evidence. An important piece of evidence was uncovered in the early 70's, which indicated that Speer was present at a conference when Himmler spoke explicitly of "extermination" of the Jews. Speer claimed to have left the conference before that speech, but Sereny suggests this is untrue.
Speer was a very complex and interesting character, and this book is a very detailed portrait of him. Though his remorse was undoubtedly genuine, there was always a self-serving element to his character. It was this that enabled him to ignore what was happening around him in 1930's Germany. He seems to have had no sense of personal morality at this point, blithely accepting National Socialist doctrine as gospel. Had he been born in another country he would undoubtedly have been a valuable and upstanding member of the society, as a man of intelligence and uncommon organizational skills. But to play by the rules in Hitler's Germany meant to facilitate crimes against humanity. Later he developed a conscience about this, but too late, and even then, it seems, he was not quite able to admit the full extent of his complicity to others, or probably even to himself.
This book is well-written, well-researched, and non-judgemental, which is important when dealing with a character as ambiguous as Speer. It is based on many long conversations with Speer himself, and many others close to him. It gets to the very depths of its subject, and also serves to demonstrate how Nazism came to seem acceptable, and even necessary, to many intelligent, rational and responsible people in 1930's Germany. Truly fascinating.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews