This is a superb look at the life of one the main figures of the 20th century. It gets under the skin of Hitler and gives you an idea of what made him tick. It is fully referenced. A lot of the accounts of incidents are reported with a great sense of immediacy adding drama to the narrative. It is a very balanced account of someone who became more and more unbalanced. You can see the logic of the invasion of the Rhineland, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. The first cracks are seen when ordering the invasion of Yugoslavia. These cracks are extended with invasion of Russia and the subsequent failure of that. The unravelling of his mind is clearly documented and the author uses this to show how subsequent decisions were made and to show how the logic of his ideas (bent as they were) was put into practice. Absolutely fascinating.
The initial prospect of tackling over 900 pages almost put me off, but once I started I discovered that this was a book which was difficult to put down. It starts with a description of Hitler's childhood and there is a particularly interesting section of how he came to bear his surname instead of the correct one of Schicklgruber. His youth and student days were in stark contrast to what was to follow and it is clear that Germany's surrender in 1918 was the catalyst for Hitler's dream of 'Lebensraum' for the German race (although he was, in fact, an Austrian). The dream was fostered by a fanatical patriotism and a belief that Germany was the master race. Underlying this was his pathological loathing of the Jewish race, for whom he blamed all of his country's ills. John Toland's narrative draws upon a vast amount of material and his research also included taped interviews with many of Hitler's colleagues and associates. It was particularly illuminating to learn that Hitler was something of a hypochondriac, although in the latter years he did suffer from various genuine ailments. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable book.
Toland manages to give a very consise and informative narrative of the entirity of Adolph Hitlers life without diverting onto the various historical differences surrounding it. An excellent and thorough introduction to the subject and also useful source of reference to those who want to study Nazi Germany in-depth
This is by far the best book I have read on this subject. Don't be put off by it's size - over a thousand pages. It is so well written that it is hard to put down. It gives a true insight of Hitler's rise to power in the 1920's and 30's, and a very truthful picture of his early life and experiences in the trenches during the Great War. This book is a must for any student of 20th century history.
John Toland is certainly one of my favorites... he writes like he was standing next to you and talking it through. His book 'The Last 100 Days' is also excellent, one of my favorites dealing with the last 100 days of WW2. I read that more than twice. This historical/political look at Hitler is a must for those studying recent history along with the Last 100 days give a very detailed look at the rise and fall of the 3rd Reich..