Based on previously unpublished documents, diaries, notes, photographs, and dramatic interviews with Hitler's colleagues and associates, this is the definitive biography of one of the most despised yet fascinating figures of the 20th century. Painstakingly documented, it is a work that will not soon be forgotten.
©1976 John Toland (P)2014 Blackstone Audio
This is one of the best audio books I've listened to.
This is a brilliant companion piece to "A World Undone" by GJ Meyer [a chronicle of WWI] and "No Simple Victory" by Norman Davies [WWII] in that it gives you an in depth look at how the world got from the First World War to the Second and even supports the premise that both were actually parts of a single World War.
Obviously well researched, one of the most jarring statements made in the book was that if Hitler had died in the mid 30s, he would most likely have been remembered as a truly great leader and savior of the German people.
Toland goes to great pains to avoid passing judgment on Hitler, Nazis, and so on. And to an astonishing degree, he is successful. The book is vivid, thorough, and detailed. And yet, somehow the 40-some hours have flown by.
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
What can you say about a man who had this much impact on history? How could a person rise from such humble beginnings to mesmerize and captivate a nation, instilling god-like devotion in his followers and inspiring them to wage war on the rest of the world?
This book provides some of the answers, but the true inner Hitler will always remain something of a mystery. He had an unusual early life: He was born in Austria, not Germany. His father was illegitimate and his grandfather may have been Jewish, no one knows for sure. In early adulthood he aspired to be an artist, but he struggled greatly to make a successful career out of this. His failure resulted in him living, for a time, on the streets, in dire poverty. At this stage there were no obvious signs that he was a monster: He loved and cared greatly for his mother and was heartbroken when she died. Strangely, he greatly respected the Jewish doctor who treated her for cancer.
In World War One, he miraculously survived four years of trench warfare as a lowly corporal. Germany’s defeat was very painful for him, but he enjoyed and revelled in warfare more than any other activity. From this time onwards he was motivated by two main passions: the rise of Germany and the destruction of the Jews. In order to bring this about he needed to rise to power, and to acquire this power he used his extraordinary talent for oration. He was a brilliant speaker. Despite his unremarkable appearance and diminutive stature, he captivated his audiences wherever he went.
He used this talent to harness the German people's patriotism, their fear of communism and their anti-Semitism, persuading them to go to war to create a new German Empire. His method of waging war, ‘blitzkrieg’, was innovative and immensely successful. This military success continued for a while, but it nurtured an unrealistic optimism in Hitler. As the tide of war started to turn, when the USSR and USA joined the fight against Germany, he continued attacking, against overwhelming enemy forces, in the mistaken belief that he could repeat his early successes. This approach, which incurred massive loss of life, continued right to Hitler’s end. In his final few days, even as he could hear Russian artillery fire from his bunker in Berlin, he was ordering counterattacks in the deluded belief that the war could still be won. Finally, when he realized that the war was lost, he committed suicide to avoid the humiliation of capture by the Russians.
Why did he hate Jews and treat them so abominably? I didn't find an answer in this book. The Jews have been persecuted throughout history, so antipathy towards them is not particularly rare, but the extent of Hitler's hatred of the Jews and the appalling cruelty he perpetrated upon them was exceptional and truly shocking. Clearly, he used anti-Semitism as a means of motivating others to fight for his cause, but why he wanted to go as far as to commit genocide is unclear. There doesn't seem to have been an incident in his life where he was badly treated by Jews, so it is hard to identify how this came about.
Listening, for 44 hours, to the story of the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler was certainly interesting, although there are certain feelings of guilt and self-accusations of morbid fascination associated with it! I wasn’t able to completely solve the puzzle of what formed this man’s character and how he succeeded so spectacularly, but I did gain some valuable insights into his life and times. If you are interested in history, this book is definitely worth listening to.
The author brings history to life. You not only get a historical perspective of the build up to, and the progress of, WWII, you can also witness the slow deterioration of Hitlers mind.
This superbly written biography uses details the way an artist uses a brush to create a vivid image of Hitler and the reactions of those around him.
As an old history major, I can appreciate how difficult and depressing a subject this is. Toland not only writes very well, interspersing the narrative with interesting quotes and anecdotes, but manages to write very objectively. He succeeds in giving an understanding of what happened and to an extent, why, leaving partisan rancor to others.
The scholarship, research, writing and given the subject matter, humanistic, profile of the subject matter is to be lauded. It's first rate in every way. Also worth mentioning that the narrator was spot on in his subdued style throughout.
One of the most incredible history books I have ever read - or heard! Comprehensive, but compelling. This is the Hitler they did not teach you at school.
I LOVE HISTORY!!!
Listening to the account of his relationship with his mother during her battle with breast cancer and eventual death.
He is very well spoken and easy to follow
The book in general places Hitler in a different light as it shows the events that occur around him prior to his rise to power.
I am still not a fan of Hitler, but one cannot fully understand the tyrant without learning everything possible from all sides. A standard precept of History states that history is always written by the winners.
"only as an audiobook I managed.."
yes, overall a very good overview over Hitler, quite long but as audiobook manageable. I doubt that I would have had enough stamina to read it myself
I preferred the early part where the author attempted to explore Hitler's childhood, youth and development.In later parts Hitler's psychology drifts in the background. I guess the author did not want to speculate too much, but I flt the earlier part was more interesting tas it attempted to explore the influences that may have shaped Hitler's inner world
I think audible should revise the questions it gives for the reviews, they are not applicable for non-fiction.I liked the narration very much. Ralph Cosham's voice is well suited for non-fiction, neutral but never boring.
"Factual and Flowing account of A Hitler"
None to date
Long audio, Ralph keeps your listening consistent
You Really get to know what A Hitler was all about, this was my primary goal in understanding, the boy, the man, the unbelievable leader (getting to power) and the lunatic. I would have like to got to know more on his interaction with Generals, his thought process and strategy on taking on Western and eastern fronts
"Deeply researched and well presented"
Accounts were presented as quotations from witnesses, very few judgements were made on the evidence but the potential bias in each of the sources was highlighted and I felt implicitly invited to draw my own conclusions
Those involved in the 20th July Plot, brave men but tragically unsuccessful and probably too late to act. Both Anthony Eden and Winston Churchill admirably sounded early warnings as to Hitler's intentions but Eden appears to have preferred to resign than to continue his efforts to wake up the Western Powers, whilst Churchill was in the political wilderness until War began. When Churchill became PM, I had much admiration for his unwillingness to negotiate with the evil Axis regimes, even when it seemed that Britain would be next on the invasion list.
Difficult to enjoy any scene from such a tragic and calamitous subject, I guess the point at which the World finally decides to stand up to Hitler comes as a relief to the reader but, as everyone now appreciates, this stand was made far too late.
Making a new film about the life of Hitler would be unwise in my opinion. Any film would have to be appropriately aligned to highlight the ultimate human cost of his actions, I think "Downfall" did an excellent job of covering the final weeks and I wouldn't attempt to supersede this work.
There have been many comments about Ralph Cosham's narration being "dull" but I would counter this by saying that the tone is sobering and that this is appropriate - the very last thing I would want to hear would be a narration of Hitler's life story presented with razzmatazz and glamour in the name of entertainment. On the other hand there were ocassions where Ralph Cosham inserted an "aaa" sound before some words in a British Upper Class style that caused confusion under some circumstances where it sounded like singular "a" and I expected a noun to follow. In my opinion this quirk of dialect should have been avoided or edited out. Paradoxically, I have heard Ralph Cosham narrate some Sherlock Holmes stories and this time the British Upper Class style actually added to the story and gave it more authenticity but not appropriate here!
Loved every minute of this audiobook. The narration was brilliant. Highly recommended. A A A
"Detailed and well read"
An full detailed account of Hitler's Life, dispelling some myths as well as going into detail on some of the lesser known aspects. Very well done.
"An asset for military historians"
Hitler the melogomaniac
All of it. An excellent narration of a very long book
A very long book but one that kept me fascinated to the end. Covering all aspects of Hitlers life from his grand parents and parents to his death in the Berlin bunker cowering from the Russian guns. I was sorry when I finished it and will now move on to The last 100 Days by the same author.
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