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4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 12 October 2009
The title of this book is complete in itself. Heinz Linge, appointed by Hitler as his valet in 1935, was still there a decade later when the Nazi dictator committed suicide. He helped carry the body out of the bunker, doused it with petrol and set it alight. Contrary to some reports Linge never doubted "Hitler's genius would see us through". However, his commitment was not that of a fanatical Nazi. His chosen role was that of servant to master, not slave to ideology. The only concept to him as an SS officer was "that whatever the circumstances the flag had to be kept flying." After his capture by the Russians, who were convinced Hitler had escaped, he was beaten, tried and sentenced to twenty five years imprisonment before being released in 1955,

Linge's picture of Hitler is in stark contrast to that of the fanatical leader. Although Linge paints Hitler as having a will of iron which downed the strongest challenger to his own ideas he also shows a lighter and more complex side of his personality. Hitler believed he was destined to fulfill the role for which "Providence" had selected him. As none of the attempts on his life succeeded the more that were made the more Hitler became convinced he was invulnerable. Hitler tried to keep his private life private and was tolerant of others' sexual behaviour as long as it did not interfere with the affairs of State as it did when Goebbels became infatuated with the Czech film star Lida Baarova. Hitler insisted the affair must end.

Linge admits Hitler was full of contradictions. "He might show the most fatherly concern for a female secretary who had stubbed her toe but be utterly ice-cold when issuing orders which sent thousands to their deaths". Similarly "Hitler was for me often indulgent, reasonable and adaptable" but could display ruthlessness in dealing with conquered nations. As head of an efficient army, he oversaw an inefficient administration preferring old comrades who did their "incompetent best" to newcomers who would outshine others. He described Himmler as "a pedant like his father. Really an ideal man for Reich culture minister....but I need him where he is." Linge notes that Himmler failed to persuade Hitler to replace Christianity with the cults of Wotan and Thor. The dictator was happy that the SS was full of non churchgoing Nazis.

As for the Fuhrer during the war "Hitler was little more than a warlord, strategist and soldier" who "imposed upon himself exaggerated and superfluous obligations." After the invasion of Poland communal decision making disappeared and the "old comrades" were willing to play the game even as Hitler's health deteriorated before their eyes. The physical decline of the Fuhrer was rapid after the failed assassination attempt of July 1944 and all medical attempts to get Hitler to change his dietary habits were unsuccessful.

Hitler's immediate entourage were constantly at loggerheads, particularly Goering and Goebbels. Linge had no time for Bormann, whom Hitler treated as a servant rather as an equal which was far different from the treatment accorded Hess. Ribbentrop was arrogant and while Linge suggests Speer was less than truthful in his post war claims, he makes it clear that Speer authored a memorandum in 1943 explaining to Hitler that the war was lost. Only Speer could have got away with it although Hitler refused to read the memorandum, suspecting it contained an irrefutable but unpalatable argument.

Linge, whose memory was imperfect, admitted that he had such blind faith in Hitler that he tended to overlook the dictator's weaknesses until late in the war. He admits that by the end Hitler was "tired and depressed" but refutes the claim that Hitler was less than one hundred percent compos mentis. However, notwithstanding Linge's closeness to the dictator, the Fuhrer's determination to have an "heroic" end in Berlin suggests a state of mind that was not completely sane.

When Linge was in captivity the Russians adopted a harsh attitude based on the belief that Hitler had escaped. The Soviets had obviously listened to the words to Colonel Bogey and asked Linge whether it was true that Hitler only had one ball. Surprisingly questions were not asked about Goering, Himmler or Goebbels. The book is well written and easy to read. However, one is left wondering how anyone, even an SS officer, could operate within such a moral vacuum and with the absence of an apology. Worth reading because it's an eyewitness account but the application of some degree of skepticism is recommended. Four stars and a must for all students of the psyche of a dictator.
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on 14 February 2014
First of all, this is not a book to read if you are looking for a biographical account of Hitler's life. This is simply an account of Hitler's private character as given by a man who obviously loved the Fuhrer. Academically, this book has little to offer. However, it does give a human face to one of the world's most notorious mass murderers. It does leave one wondering how a man who could be so forgiving of the failures of those close to him, who could be so humble in certain circumstances and who could have such a dry sense of humour and wit, but who could also be at the same time so ruthless and evil.

The book is full of very interesting and humorous anecdotes. Like the one where Linge caught the Fuhrer in his dressing gown battling in the dark with a chair to change his own light bulb. Or the laugh out loud occasion when Linge accidently put a call through to the Fuhrer of a junior NCO who did not believe he was talking to the real Hitler and accused the 'impersonator' of being a hilarious madman and nutter. Hilter listened impassively, put the phone down and turned to Linge declaring, "That was just someone else who thinks I've gone mad!".

A very funny and interesting account, if a little short. I managed to read it in one day.
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on 6 November 2009
This is not like the thousands of books published by various 'experts' and 'historians', although there are some extremely good books published. This is from someone who was probably closer to Hitler than anyone alive when it was written. There are numerous snippets of very enlightening conversations that took place.With Hitler to the End: The Memoir of Hitler's Valet
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 March 2015
I have read many of the autobiographies of the survivors from Hitler's intimate circle: I Was Hitler's Pilot: The Memoirs of Hans Baur,He Was My Chief: The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler's Secretary,Hitler Was My Friend: The Memoirs of Hitler's Photographer,I Was Hitler's Chauffeur: The Memoir of Erich Kempka. I have to say this book is not the best of them but yet not the worst, that honour belongs to Hans Baur.

To those of us that study the era of course this book is indispensable but nevertheless I did not find it quite as an entertaining read as some of the others. There are some fascinating anecdotes to be found but I did not feel it was particularly well written and at times was distinctly pedestrian in style. But, as they say, content is King and with a life like he led it was pretty difficult to write a boring book try as he might.

For anyone with an interest in Hitler and his personal circle then this book is a must. Despite some minor drawbacks I had with the writing the style the book is still highly recommended.
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on 11 November 2009
I really enjoyed this book. It is a fascinating account of the Thrid Reich, from the inside by someone, who was closer to Hitler - arguably - than even Eva Braun. It is enlightening and fascinating, and presents a chilling view of Hitler as a very ordinary man, a pleasant boss, a kisser of ladies' hands.

With an interesting introduction by historian Roger Moorhouse, it is well worth the entrance fee.
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on 10 April 2014
This is one of four books that I have read. Two by Hitler's secretaries, one by his driver and now this one by his valet. Very well written and the truth from someone who really was there and witnessed it all. This is the icing on the cake. Well worth reading.
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on 29 October 2009
Heinz Linge was appointed by Hitler as his valet in 1935 he witnessed the rise and fall of the Third Reich before carrying out his last duty in 1945 to dispose of his master's body. Trite details of Hitler's life are juxtaposed with the war to give an intimate insight into a monster's life. Linge, though not a fanatical Nazi, never doubted Hitler's ability to win the war and remained loyal to him until the end. With Hitler to the End gives incredible insight for anyone wanting to understand the twentieth century's most pivotal character.
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on 13 March 2013
Just finished reading it, good book does make you think about the popular image which historians and writers portray about Hitler
Worth reading if your studying WW2.
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on 6 April 2013
A close up personal view of the dictator by his personal valet. Interesting but nothing of true historical importance. A "behind the man" perspective, simple and straight forward. Beyond the ruthless ruler, an ordinary man with ordinary personal characteristics.
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on 30 March 2015
Very interesting read of someone right there through all the key events of WW2. Bias is on the Luffwaffe as you would expect but also gives a feel of the key events in Hitlers inner circle.
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