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 the 20th century.
Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the character of the bizarre misfit in his 30-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.
©1998, 2000, 2008 Ian Kershaw (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
This is an excellent book on a difficult subject. With so many books on or about this subject it is always difficult to find one that covers it so comprehensively and especially as it is a truncated version of his two volume biography it certainly does not seem so.
Excellent information on Hitler's early life and influences much of which I had not read about before all the way up to his last days in the bunker which is covered with good detail using sources close to the final days in the bunker.
All in all a very good listen.
I've read a ton of WWII books so I wouldn't say there is much I learned from this book, but it is a great single volume collection and it's very readable. Another reviewer said that you needed to be a historian or something to read this, that is nonsense. While the book is long it moves at a a good pace and to me always remained interesting. I think the early years of any biography are the most difficult to keep interesting but again I think Kershaw did a good job of providing detail but not getting bogged down in detail. Everything is covered and at times I actually wish there was more detail if anything, not less. Again this is a 40-hour long book so there is a good amount of detail, but I never was bored by it.
The reader does an excellent job throughout.
Overall if you're of average intelligence and can stand the length this book will pose no challenges for you. Even though I knew almost everything that was about to happen I still found myself getting wrapped up in the story. This is a historical-biography written in an interesting manner, which is no easy feat. I highly recommend.
This is an excellent biography of a difficult subject who still remains opaque when one tries to view him as a person. Perhaps that is the ultimate triumph of will.
I have only two slight complaints. The first is my own lack of judgment. I chose to listen to this book instead of the several volume work in the interest if economy. I regret that decision because this version does seem a bit truncated and I fear I missed some details I would have liked. Perhaps this will only be a problem for those who have read extensively in this era if history. I do urge people who love indulging in the details of history to listen to the other books.
The second is the narrarator who overall is excellent. He brutally mispronounces many German words. Naturally, being British, he does it with a savior faire that almost convinces one that he must be correct, but when he constantly says "Liebensraum" instead of "Lebensraum," my ears protest. Surely the producer of the audiobook should have noticed. This is not merely a mispronunciation but the substitution of one word for another and an entirely different concept!
Researched, Fluffed, Informative
Learning about his childhood was very interesting.
It was just ok. The sound editor made his inflections too powerful.
As a historian I wanted to learn more about Hitler. This book has a lot of good information about him but it does spend an awful amount of time on his subordinates. The book could be half as long if the author didn't have such an emphasis on that. But still pretty good.
I absolutely loved this book. The information was so extensive but easily comprehensible. My only wish was that the reader would have been better in German pronunciation but overall, he was outstanding. I would recommend this to anyone who has enough interest in WWII and/or nazism to devote 45 hours to the cause. Very informative.
This is an inspired narration but the way German words and names are butchered is painful to any native speaker. It is hard to understand how an audiobook on German history could not have been quality checked by a native German speaker.
Don't know, have not read the print version.
Spare me, in a history that covers fifty years?
For those history buffs who want a very close look at this brilliant lunatic. Hitler's triumph was based on virtually all of the pieces surrounding his life falling into place, and his manipulation of them once presented, in ways that defy one's imagination ... until the end of course. The author presents that history to the listener in ways that make the listen hard to turn off.
This thrilling work by Ian Kershaw is not for the casual reader. It's not even for the occasional history buff. It's for the serious student of history circa 1900 - 1945. You must be willing to literally devote 2 full days of your life to listening to this excellent work.
Did I mention that it's 43 hours long.
The biggest problem with this work is not the lack of editing, it's the author's use of run on sentences. I dont believe there is a single sentence in this book that is less then six words long. A single paragraph can literally take ten minutes.
Putting the improper use of sentence structure aside, this is an excellent work about Hitler and his lfe. Keep in mind that this is a book about Hitler, and not about military strategy. This book deals with Hitler and the events around him as probably seen thru his eyes. This book deals a lot with Hitler's political reasoning such as his rationale for invading Russia and opening up a two front war. This book also investigates Hitler's opinions of other world leaders of the day and how these impressions ( whether right or wrong ) influenced his decisions. Hitler's hatred for the Jews is given a lot of coverage as a lot of his decisions were rooted in this hatred.
This book is well worth the 1 credit to purchase. It is also well worth the time investment to listen to it.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
I've been interested in reading an audiobook covering the life of Adolf Hitler, and stumbled across this book. While thorough, it seems to take the negative approach instead of leaving only the facts, using eye-rolling phrases like "crocodile tears" and "but of course, he was lying" (paraphrasing here).
If you're interested in listening to an audiobook about Hitler's life, buy the book by John Toland. It's much more subjective and spares you the reverse-propaganda.
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