The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler

  • by Laurence Rees
  • Narrated by Michael Jayston
  • 12 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Adolf Hitler was an unlikely leader - fuelled by hate, incapable of forming normal human relationships, unwilling to debate political issues - and yet he commanded enormous support. So how was it possible that Hitler became such an attractive figure to millions of people? That is the important question at the core of Laurence Rees’ new book.
The Holocaust, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the outbreak of the Second World War - all these cataclysmic events and more can be laid at Hitler’s door. Hitler was a war criminal arguably without precedent in the history of the world. Yet, as many who knew him confirm, Hitler was still able to exert a powerful influence over the people who encountered him.
In this fascinating book to accompany his new BBC series, the acclaimed historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees examines the nature of Hitler’s appeal, and reveals the role Hitler’s supposed ‘charisma’ played in his success. Rees’ previous work has explored the inner workings of the Nazi state in The Nazis: A Warning from History and the crimes they committed in Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution. The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler is a natural culmination of 20 years of writing and research on the Third Reich, and a remarkable examination of the man and the mind at the heart of it all.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent in every way

This is a book both for beginners and for those who have already read a reasonable amount of WWII and Nazi history. As well as being a portrait of Hitler, it provides an overview of the main events of Germany history from WWI until May 1945. Laurence Rees' clever tactic of using Hitler's charisma as the central theme provides a different perspective from the usual biographical and war history works. In examining Hitler's rising popularity, Rees reveals much about the man and offers several inter-connected explanations for Hitler's ability to draw people in and to convert doubters to his point of view. He also devotes some time to people who did not fall under Hitler's spell and those who plotted to kill him. Rees goes on to document the decline of Hitler's power to influence as the direction of the war turns and Germany moves ever closer to defeat. The book is well written and Rees' central argument is well presented. Michael Jayston is a very competent narrator and his voice and presentation are perfect for the material.
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- Robyn "Avid reader of history, biography, and true crime."

Gripping and chilling.

What did you love best about The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler?

I was transfixed listening to this description of one of the most evil personalities in history. It was particularly interesting to have diary notes and personal observations of Hitler's closest staff describing his dark manipulation of millions, yet his inability to relate easily to smaller groups.


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler?

The potted history of how Hitler rose from virtual obscurity at a time when the German people needed to restore hope and pride after WWI. How one major event in world history led to the next. He was a maniacal no body who had the ability to persuade millions, then murder millions. I found the comments by some of those who met him expressing their dismay and horror at the thought of Hitler making it to the top, very disturbing and prophetic.


What does Michael Jayston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration was superb. Michael Jayston brought it to life, as if he was actually there.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. There is too much to absorb. I will probably listen to it again soon.


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- Cheryl

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-13-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audiobooks