The fact that it was originally written in 1947 doesn't date this book at all, though the author's introduction to this 1997 edition does provide both a valuable update and a worthwhile reflection on the events recorded in the original text. The author, Hugh Trevor-Roper, was the British intelligence officer who was sent to Berlin in June 1945 to investigate the disappearance of Hitler. I guess intelligence officers really were intelligent in those days because the book is brilliant, and every bit as exciting as a good detective story. In fact, if one could forget the awfulness of the Nazi system and the ghastliness of the characters that ran it, the book would pass as rather a good comedy thriller. One of its more delightful features is the way the author treats most of Hitler's minions (with the notable exception of Albert Speer who seemed to have retained his humanity and his intelligence) as a bunch of self-seeking but credulous and blindly stupid idiots, which I guess most of them were; it is quite refreshing to see such ghastly historical figures exposed so ignominiously. Besides being a very good read in itself, this short text is more than simply a story of the last few days of Hitler. It provides an excellent summation of one of the most dismal regimes of human history.
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