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Hitler: A Biography | [Ian Kershaw]

Hitler: A Biography

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (118 )
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  •  
    Christopher Bloomington, IL, United States 10-12-13
    Christopher Bloomington, IL, United States 10-12-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Superb, well crafted and well narrated."

    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.

    Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rodney Florida 09-19-13
    Rodney Florida 09-19-13 Member Since 2015
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    "An Excellent Read"

    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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Curatina Moab 06-15-14
    Curatina Moab 06-15-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent"

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud 07-05-15
    Saud 07-05-15

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

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    "We get it, he's done bad things"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie 06-27-15
    Stephanie 06-27-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fantastic"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caldutti66 Jersey Shore 04-23-15
    Caldutti66 Jersey Shore 04-23-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Worth all 45 hours"

    An excellent biography of history's most notorious leader - deeply disturbing yet compelling - highly recommended for students of history and world war 2

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Brisbane, Australia 02-24-15
    Sharon Brisbane, Australia 02-24-15 Member Since 2015

    I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry.

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    "This book was did not play correctly for me"

    A quarter of the way through the second part of the book it suddenly reverted back to the third chapter. I never got to hear the rest of it.

    Having said that 3/4 of this book were very interesting. An exhaustive study of a very strange perhaps mad man. The book is necessarily padded with a lot of extraneous information about military tactics not taken etc. The reason that it is necessary is because little is really known about the private Hitler and the author makes this point several times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fwp New York, NY 01-27-15
    fwp New York, NY 01-27-15
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    "Painful butchery of the German language"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Charlotte, N.C. 04-21-14
    Jeff Charlotte, N.C. 04-21-14 Listener Since 2010
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    "For people who seek an in-depth look at the man"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Hitler to be better than the print version?

    Don't know, have not read the print version.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The specificity


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Spare me, in a history that covers fifty years?


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Sunrise, FL, United States 08-13-13
    Alan Sunrise, FL, United States 08-13-13 Member Since 2015
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    "OMG it's 43 hours long"

    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.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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