A major new biography - an extraordinary, penetrating study of the man who has become the personification of evil.
For all the literature about Adolf Hitler, there have been just four seminal biographies; this is the fifth, a landmark work that sheds important new light on Hitler himself. Drawing on previously unseen papers and a wealth of recent scholarly research, Volker Ullrich reveals the man behind the public persona, from Hitler's childhood, to his failures as a young man in Vienna, to his experiences during the First World War, to his rise as a far-right party leader. Ullrich deftly captures Hitler's intelligence, instinctive grasp of politics, and gift for oratory as well as his megalomania, deep insecurity, and repulsive worldview.
Many previous biographies have focused on the larger social conditions that explain the rise of the Third Reich. Ullrich gives us a comprehensive portrait of a postwar Germany humiliated by defeat, wracked by political crisis, and starved by an economic depression - but his real gift is to show vividly how Hitler used his ruthlessness and political talent to shape the Nazi party and lead it to power. For decades the world has tried to grasp how Hitler was possible. By focusing on the man at the center of it all, on how he experienced his world, formed his political beliefs, and wielded power, this riveting biography brings us closer than ever to the answer.
Translated from the German by Jefferson Chase.
©2016 Volker Ullrich (P)2016 Gildan Media LLC
"Ullrich reveals Hitler to have been an eminently practical politician - and frighteningly so. Timely...One of the best works on Hitler and the origins of the Third Reich to appear in recent years." (Kirkus Reviews)
"An outstanding study...All the huge, and terrible moments of the early Nazi era are dissected...but the real strength of this book is in disentangling the personal story of man and monster." (The Guardian [U.K.])
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"Worthwhile if you haven't read a Hitler biography"
I've read every major historical biography of Hitler in my studies, so I picked this up on audible for ease. Honestly, it's ok. I would certainly say it's a good start off point, at least as good as Kershaw's and with some updated information. Ullrich also concentrates a lot more on Hitler the man and has a fairly differing POV with a lot of previous scholarship on questions about Hitler's personality. I certainly cannot complain about the research and writing, it's all good. Honestly though, I preferred reading it myself later. The narration isn't great.
"Read, don't listen"
First: narrator would put anyone to sleep. Very sing-song voice lacking any variability even in passages that are dramatic and/or horrifying. I ended up reading the book in hardcover-- which also has the advantage of giving you very detailed references and footnotes.
This is an invaluable addition to the many books about Hitler. The author had the advantage of more time having passed and more primary source material being available since previous biographies. Despite being long, the book is well-written and really holds the reader's interest. As you know if you've read reviews elsewhere, the author doesn't approach Hitler as a monster but as a skilled man who had absolutely no conscience and who perfected the dubious talent of manipulating people according to their greatest vulnerabilities. The truth was anything that advanced his power. Very timely in our country where so many are re-examining our form of government and what the citizen's role is in preserving our democracy.
"A new view of the man."
A different perspective on his early life and great detail on the pre WWI Vienna years that makes his experience clearer. The rise to power is described based on multiple firsthand sources and provides the reader a very clear view of the motives of the players. At least that's what I came away with. A very clear and realistic picture of the man.
"History we wished DIDN'T happen"
The IMMENSE amount of research that must have gone into this compelling book. Clearly the writer, and others before him, spent many, many MANY hours hunched over desks reading millions of words to get what was needed for this material. No detail, no matter how small, was left untold.
I felt like I was sitting in the room with Hitler at times, listening to him scream and spit, berating those around him just for the joy of it, seeing his face turn different shades of red, wondering who wouldn't be in the room the next day because of some perceived slight that set him off so. A truly frightening yet fascinating monster of a man. To bring the story to that kind of life was compelling, which is what I always hope for, but don't always get, in biographies. This one delivered with change to spare. this one belongs in any history buff's library for sure.
"Like you've never seen or heard him before"
This is perhaps one of the best woks on the subject I have come across. Personal details make this work come to life in a way that makes it most enjoyable to listen to. Highly recommend it.
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