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The four stars reflects the sheer number of typos in the Kindle edition. It seems to me rather sad that the entire EReader experience is constantly corrupted by the failure of so many publishers to ensure that the electronic book is as free from error as most printed books. Even those that are pricey!
Its a shame because I had high hopes for this book. But either way what a fascinating subject to see how he came to power and how *normal* folk could do abnormal things. Given a similar alignment of the planets I have no doubt it will happen again. The world is screaming out for a leader, rather than the puppets we have in politics today (2015) It wasnt so much that Hitler was truly exceptional, rather the world craved such a man.But as usual power corrupts and it all falls down, time and time again. One great thing I got from this book was this quote:
"Neither blindness nor ignorance corrupts people and governments. They soon realise where the path they have taken is leading them. But there is an impulse within them, favoured by their natures and reinforced by their habits, which they do not resist; it continues to propel them forward... He who overcomes himself is divine. Most see their ruin before their eyes; but they go on into it." Leopold von Ranke
His background also I think makes him too light the German people and perhaps too critical of the democratic powers - particularly Britain. After all, in a real manner of speaking the Germans chose Hitler but certainly the British or French did not.
The sheer volume of the Third Reich archive available to researchers, and the rewards which bring some of the most skilled historians to work on this material has meant the Hitler publishing industry has been very well served.
None more so than by Joachim Fest. It is a testament to Fest's 'Hitler' that it remains a landmark biography more than twenty years after first publication in Germany.
Joachim Fest was not a professional historian when 'Hitler' was written, nevertheless he created a prodigy of a book. Weighty, perceptive and impressively researched, it is a remarkable history of a period so personally identified with the Dictator.
The sustained power of the book derives from the flair with which the author analyses the psychological drives of his subject and explores the contrasts between the self-image and the actuality. Fest's 'Hitler' belongs to the 'psycho-History' school of historiography. He examines Hitler's essential rigidity, the intellect dwarfed by prejudice and the origins of the enormous up-draughts of his imagination (autobahn, racial-extermination, New World Order) which his autocrats hastened to accomplish.
He successfully tests his assumptions about Hitler against the choices he made (and didn't make) through his personal odyssey from obscurity to power and the final days as a 'cake-gobbling wreck' in the bunker.
With wonderful fluidity and expression, Fest has raised biography to an art form in this book, but 'Hitler' is not an easy read. Philosophically it is determinist, unravelling a bleak view of unstoppable fate and destiny. In spite of this it remains a bravura work of imagination, veracity and force.
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