Hailed as the most compelling biography of the German dictator yet written, Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the heart of its subject's immense darkness.
From his illegitimate birth in a small Austrian village to his fiery death in a bunker under the Reich chancellery in Berlin, Adolf Hitler left a murky trail, strewn with contradictory tales and overgrown with self-created myths. One truth prevails: the sheer scale of the evils that he unleashed on the world has made him a demonic figure without equal in this century. Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the character of the bizarre misfit in his thirty-year ascent from a Viennese shelter for the indigent to uncontested rule over the German nation that had tried and rejected democracy in the crippling aftermath of World War I.
With extraordinary vividness, Kershaw recreates the settings that made Hitler's rise possible: the virulent anti-Semitism of prewar Vienna, the crucible of a war with immense casualties, the toxic nationalism that gripped Bavaria in the 1920s, the undermining of the Weimar Republic by extremists of the Right and the Left, the hysteria that accompanied Hitler's seizure of power in 1933 and then mounted in brutal attacks by his storm troopers on Jews and others condemned as enemies of the Aryan race.
In an account drawing on many previously untapped sources, Hitler metamorphoses from an obscure fantasist, a "drummer" sounding an insistent beat of hatred in Munich beer halls, to the instigator of an infamous failed putsch and, ultimately, to the leadership of a ragtag alliance of right wing parties fused into a movement that enthralled the German people.
This volume, the first of two, ends with the promulgation of the infamous Nuremberg laws that pushed German Jews to the outer fringes of society, and with the march of the German army into the Rhineland, Hitler's initial move toward the abyss of war.
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The heart of evil
- Mike From Mesa
Essential reading for students of history
Yes I would recommend this audiobook. We must understand how this complete failure of an individual was able to become the leader of a highly sophisticated and cultured nation, and lead into both moral and military destruction.
The part of the story which I was least unaware of, was the way in which political elites in Weimar Germany completely misread both Hitler and the Nazi party, and thought they could co-opt them.
Have not listened to any of the narrator's other performances.
This is a period of history which is extremely sobering and to hear the things Hitler espoused and then implemented is upsetting. The sheer scale of suffering inflicted as a result of this one individual is difficult to comprehend.
As unpleasant as it may be, we must study and try to understand as best we can how this man and his regime came into being. Also it should give a person pause before throwing around the word Nazi when engaged in arguments. By reading this book you realize just how monstrous Hitler and the Nazi's were.