Top positive review
Recommended for its insight into why people loved Hitler
on 17 January 2018
I had recently read the Ford translation of Mein Kampf and wanted to read around the topic to see how Hitler's contemporaries viewed him. I can truly say I was impressed by the Rees books as it really hit the spot. It dealt directly with some aspect's of Hitler's post-World War experience in Munich that Hitler obscures in his own account of that time. Hitler's relationship with his peers was complicated. He possessed amazing oratory powers and held many in his spell. Others were less charmed & thought he could be manipulated. His personality cult grew to a peak when he delivered multiple surprise victories early in World War Two. Inevitably his popularity waned as his armies retreated. Although enlightening and insightful I did question one issue. Rees asserts on multiple occasions that Hitler could not form "normal" relationships with people, particularly the opposite sex. His evidence seems to only be that Hitler was a bit shy and admitted to not knowing what to say in social situations. Others contend that he had far more "normal" relations with women and possibly fathered several children. Whatever you believe the simple fact that he was a loathsome monster (in retrospect knowledge of his crimes) & bookish is insufficient detail to believe that he was somehow antisocial. Hitler's crimes extended from his distorted view of the world and other people's willingness to believe that that world-view would solve all their problems. If we don't treat Hitler as a human being we are in danger of putting him is a box and ignoring the lessons the next time some demagogue comes along.