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Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis (Allen Lane History) Paperback – 25 Oct 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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  • Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris
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  • The "Hitler Myth": Image and Reality in the Third Reich
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Product details

  • Paperback: 1115 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (25 Oct. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140272399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140272390
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 5.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon Review

George VI thought him a "damnable villain" and Neville Chamberlain found him not quite a gentleman, but to the rest of the world Adolf Hitler has come to personify modern evil to such an extent that his biographers have always faced an unenviable task. The two most renowned biographies of Hitler--by Joachim C Fest (Hitler) and by Alan Bullock (Hitler: A Study in Tyranny)--painted a picture of individual tyranny which, in the words of AJP Taylor, left Hitler guilty and every other German innocent. Decades of scholarship on German society under the Nazis now make that verdict unsafe, and so the modern biographer of Hitler must account both for his terrible mindset and his charismatic appeal. In the second and final volume of his mammoth biography of Hitler, covering the climax of Nazi power, the reclamation of German-speaking Europe, and the horrific unfolding of the final solution in Poland and Russia, Ian Kershaw manages to achieve both these tasks. Following on from Hitler: Hubris 1889-1936 the epic Hitler: Nemesis 1936-1945 takes the reader from the adulation and hysteria of Hitler's electoral victory in 1936 to the obsessive and remote "bunker" mentality which enveloped the Fuhrer as Operation Barbarossa (the attack on Russia in 1942) proved the beginning of the end. Chilling yet objective: a definitive work.--Miles Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Winner of the Wolfson History Prize, the Bruno Kreisky Prize in Austria for Political Book of the Year, and the inaugural British Academy Book Prize. (Prizes and awards)

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By A Customer on 17 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
Ian Kershaw's follow-up to the peerless 'Hubris' matches and even surpasses the achievements of the first half of this splendid biography. Whereas Hubris addressed Hitler's upbringing and rise to power, Nemesis concerns Hitler's central role during the second world war and with it the final demise and collapse of the third reich. Kershaw's prose is accessible for laymen, whilst remaining packed full of detailed analysis for academics. The author considers both the structuralist and intentional approaches to the third reich, and also whether Nazi policy was determined by economic necessity, or ideological goals.
Nemesis also provides a fabulous insight into the mind and world of the centuries most infamous and destructive figure. It also highlights and ponders the role of those around Hitler and their relationship to him. The author also attempts to understand the reasons for Hitler's murderous determination to implement policies of genocide and dogged continuance of the war even when he knew it was lost.
The two works together represent an excellent study in the workings of the Nazi government and the mind of a dictator. These two works follow the already excellent work on the Nazis and seek to examine how and why these ideologues came to power in a rational and highly educated civlised state. Hopefully works of this quality will help aid us from preventing it from happening again.
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Format: Hardcover
Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis, Ian Kershaw's superb account of Hitler's final years, manages to fuse biographical insight into the life and mind of the Dictator, together with a detailed overview of the system (or lack of it) within the Nazi state structure.
We are offered comprehensive analyses of Hitler's pre-war belligerance, the lack of will in British and French government circles to prevent his imperial ambition, his early military triumphs and, ultimately, the final descent into Holocaust, defeat, and death.
Kerhaw's excellent account acts as a constant reminder of how Hitler could have been prevented at every turn but for the absence of committed opposition within the German military establishment. It is a lucid and sober lesson in the victory of bluff and outrageous chance over conventional politics and diplomacy.
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Format: Paperback
Having read both books I found this to be the more engaging but that is no reflection on the quality of the first. Rather I found as I assume most people would Hitler is at his most interesting and puzzling during the period 1936 - 1945. Together they form a superb and comprehensive biography on Hitler but they are also fine as stand alones.
This is not a book about WWII but the events of WWII in relation to Hitler so people expecting a comprehensive summary of the war will be dissapointed. Some of the most significant events are covered in only a few pages i.e. the fall of France and the Ardennes offensive. However this is probably my only criticism and one which I have no right to make given that this is a biography of Hitler and not a history of the war. However it gives an superb 800 page insight into the man and the world he was surrounded by. Kershaws writing style is engaging and the level of research he has undertaken makes this a credible document. I would certainly recommend it as being the ultimate biography of a man who has his fair share of them.
The world can be thankful that Mr Kershaw had no need for a third book on Hitler (1946 - ????) although its absence is a loss to readers of fine historical writing.
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Format: Hardcover
This is quite simply one of the best books ever written about the Nazi regime. It perfectly captures the chain of events that enabled Hitler to control the Third Reich with absolute authority. It also brilliantly highlights the weakness of his opponents particularly those in the Wermacht who delayed too long in attempting to depose him. A stunning indictment not only of Hitler but also the entire ruling class of Germany in the period.
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Format: Hardcover
Having read volume one, I was lookng forward to reading this and must say that it has lived up to all my expectations. What sets this book apart is that Ian Kershaw does not set out to demonise Hitler or the Nazi regime, but to explain why the second world war and the events leading up to it occured (and were allowed to occur) in a modern European country. An amazing read for all interested in the subject; a great eye opener for the rest.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best biography I have ever read he describes in detail the twisted mind of the biggest monster of the 20th century. In Nemesis h e describes how Hitler's evil but magnetic personality slavishly dragged the German people into a war of annihilation with the whole of Europe. He describes how Hitler used the fear the France and Britain of been dragged into another world war and used it to get his hand on the Sudentland. He also describes in great detail on how facing complete defeat Hitler lost attachment with the reality around and kept Germany on the fast track to ruin. I would recommend this book to any body interested in 20th century history.
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Format: Paperback
As the book was published already some years ago, I have read it many times since. It certainly is the definitive account of Germany's war-years and Hitler's downfall. I enjoyed most Kershaw's healthy detachment from his subject - I would, maybe wrongly, ascribe it to what we believe is British coolness; more probably it is due to the advantage of being a foreigner and retelling some of another country's darkest hours. It can't be done well from within, you're getting too much involved with what it all meant to those who survived. But history is one thing and post-war ideological strife another, and it is best to keep both separate. Meanwhile, Kershaw's study of Hitler has been recognised as the standard account in Germany as well. In any case, when looking at Kershaw's achievement which must have cost him many years, I freeze in awe and ask myself: Who am I to praise his work? But certainly it merits only praise, because it is, not only for the moment, the most detailed, reliable, thoughtful and readable biography of Hitler; there is nothing more to be said for a long time to come. It is a irony of history that persons who least deserve it sometimes find the finest biographers. So it is in this case.
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