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Hitler, 1936-1945: Nemesis (Allen Lane History) Hardcover – 5 Oct 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1216 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; First Edition edition (5 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713992298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713992298
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 6.4 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 285,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

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


'...Hitler the man jumps out at the reader from virtually every page. [He ] comes across as a cold, friendless, lonely, unfeeling and utterly self-centred creature whose private life was virtually non-existent. Hitler was driven by the goal of total and ruthless success in politics and war. Power, the total domination of the new racially-pure Germany over a racially and ethnically cleansed Europe, and the ideas and practices of war were all that mattered to him - and God help those crossed him.' -- John P. Fox, The Independent on Sunday

'Extraordinary scholarship' -- Judges' verdict for the Whitbread book award shortlist, The Guardian

'Ian Kershaw's two volumes on Hitler must rank as one of the greatest scholarly and biographical achievements of our time.' -- David Cesarani, Literary Review

'Kershaw demonstrates brilliantly and painstakingly how, step by step, hat and fear was brought about, and so horrifyingly used...[Kershaw is] a historian of a new generation and a new century...' -- Gitta Sereny, The Times

'Nemesis is an achievement of the very highest order, by the historian who is Britain's uncontested expert on Nazi Germany...It will be some decades before anyone will need to shine a searching light once more into the rank darkness of that German bunker.' -- Michael Burleigh, The Financial Times

'This is unquestionably an outstanding biography'. -- Frank Mclynn, The Herald

'To understand Hitler's brief walk with the Devil, there can be no better starting point than Mr Kershaw's book.' -- The Economist

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ian Kershaw is one of my favourite WW2 authors, and I have enjoyed all of his books immensely. But this book is in my opinion is his very best piece of work, also it is my favourite WW2 book by any author, and I have read scores of them. The book showed not only the dark side of Hitler and the influence that dark side had upon the world. But it offered an insight into the why's and how's of his thinking. Not only did it focus on Hitler, but also on those around him, the pressures he put them under, the rewards he offered and punishment for failure. It describes his mentality and showed how that mentality effected politics,everyday lives, battles and military thinking.
This book I cannot recommend enough, if there was a ten star rating that would perhaps be enough.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brilliantly written.
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Format: Hardcover
‘Hitler Nemesis’ (2000) by Ian Kershaw is the second volume of his brilliant account of Nazism and its Fuehrer taking up the story in1936..Hitler had restored German pride, reformed the economy, eliminated all opposition and was about to embark on his ‘twin ideological purpose: destroying the Jews..... and, through their destruction, acquiring mastery over the entire continent of Europe’ (P. XL1). The title of this review appears on P.276 when Kershaw is quoting a speech by Hitler to leading military figures on 23 November 1939 and it really sums up the thesis of the book. By then Germany had become largely immersed in the NSDAP which, in its turn, was really a facade of the Will of Adolf Hitler. Kershaw describes the steady progress of the Third Reich uphill to Operation Barbarossa (22 June 1941). Then comes the high plain and then the descent towards the ‘Twilight of the Gods’ when it was all to come tumbling down and a new world emerge.
The author’s thesis would place Hitler at the centre of everything but not personally initiating events. Re’ the increasing persecution of Jews after 1937 ‘Hitler’s own contribution, as usual, had largely consisted of setting the tone and providing the sanction and legitimation for the actions of others’ (P. 43) As argued in Volume 1 Hitler would hesitate to make a decision and then act ruthlessly. He was the great opportunist but after 1938 the central engine started to run down. The system continued to run as before when ‘each sectional interest in the Third Reich could thrive only with the legitimacy of the Führer’s backing. Each one inevitably, therefore “worked towards the Führer” in order to gain or sustain that backing...’(P.93) ‘Concession, compromise, retreat were to his mind inconceivable’ (P. 283).
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Format: Paperback
This was the first biography of Hitler which I have read to date , my knowledge of the man having previously been gathered from the thoughts and considerations of other historians who encountered the "great man" through his part played in various military situations between 1938-45.

This book reads very well and covers a mass of complex issues and interrelationships between Hitler and his party officials in a meaningful and telling manner.
Hitler had his abilities and his inabilities Kershaw addresses all with clarity and balance.

That Hitler came to power was not just down to one man and force of his will and what does come out is Hitler's underlying personality traits when you read between the line s it is obvious that Hitler would today be regarded as a personality disorder , for he was far from stable even when he was at his peak.
As has been mentioned by others the criminal nature of his regime is well documented as is his part in it and central is the nature of his leadership and how others filled in the gaps to "work towards the Fuhrer" , this is told against the decline of the structures of society and the safeguards for the German people who became his first victims.

In terms of understanding who Hitler was , what he cost , how he achieved what he did , his cost to Germany and his legacy this is an important work.

Kershaw's "The Hitler Myth" also worth reading.
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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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