Hitler's psyche is a source of morbid fascination for many, and With Hitler to the End: The Memoirs of Hitler's Valet takes listeners right into the Nazi Fuhrer's household. Based on the recollections of Heinz Linge, Hitler's long-term valet, and narrated by talented voice performer Jim Frangione, this audiobook sheds light on aspects of the fascist dictator's lifestyle that could only be observed by an insider, from his eating habits to his sense of humor. Though Linge passed away in 1980, his memoir was only translated into English in 2009, finally giving English-speaking listeners a unique insight into the daily life of a monster.
Heinz Linge worked with Adolf Hitler for a 10 year period from 1935 until the Fuhrer's death in the Berlin bunker in May 1945. He was one of the last to leave the bunker and was responsible for guarding the door while Hitler killed himself. During his years of service, Linge was responsible for all aspects of Hitler's household and was constantly by his side. He claims that only Eva Braun stood closer to Hitler over these years. Through a host of anecdotes and observations, Linge recounts the daily routine in Hitler's household; his eating habits, his foibles, his preferences, his sense of humour, and his private life with Eva Braun. In fact, Linge believed Hitler's closest companion was his dog, Blondi. After the war Linge said in an interview, "it was easier for him to sign a death warrant for an officer on the front than to swallow bad news about the health of his dog"
Linge also charts the changes in Hitler's character during the period of his service, and the latter's fading health from around 1942. During his last days, Hitler's right eye began to hurt intensely and Linge was responsible for administering cocaine drops to kill the pain. In a number of instances - such as with the Stauffenberg bomb plot of July 1944 - Linge gives an excellent eyewitness account of events. He also gives thumbnail profiles of the prominent members of Hitler's "court": Hess, Speer, Bormann, and Ribbentrop amongst them. Though Linge held an SS rank, he claims not to have been a Nazi Party member. His profile of Hitler is not blindly uncritical, but it is nonetheless affectionate. The Hitler that emerges is a multifaceted individual: unpredictable and demanding, but not of an otherwise unpleasant nature.
©1980 F.A. Herbig Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH. Translation c. Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 2009. United Kingdom edition c. Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 2009. North America edition c. Skyhorse Publishing, 2009 (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Though clearly it does not serve as an unbiased historical document, the rightly titled With Hitler To The End shows us that Hitler was not an otherworldly demon, but rather a human being, consumed by a demented Weltanschauung much his own making and how those close to him were able to see the man without acknowledging the madness. This book is as much about Linge as it is about Hitler, the man who proudly served his "Boss," proudly burned and interred his body, and proudly upheld his name after most of the free world uttered it as a curse. It is about their relationship, something on which Linge sets all his reputation, unflinching in his defense of the leader he revered and served. This book stands well with other Audible offerings that take a closer look at the personal side of those connected with the Third Reich, namely The Nazi and the Psychiatrist, Hanns & Rudolf, and Hitler's Furies.
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
Overall, this was a pretty good book as long as you take it in the spirit and era in which it occurred. Author Linge was a Nazi but was a valet first and foremost. It was not his job to make political decisions or disagree with his boss. His telling of his time with Hitler is dispassionate and straight-forward. Linge was at the side of the Fuhrer 24/7/365. However, I don't feel that I learned anything else of interest about Adolph Hitler than could be found in hundreds of other biological accounts. What I really wanted to know was what happened in the hour leading up to the suicides of Hitler and his bride of 24 hours, Eva Braun. Linge shed no real light on this although he claimed to be "with Hitler to the end". Actually, at best, he was more of an "accomplice before and after the fact", only being on hand to move and dispose of the bodies. I was like "That's it?!" I could have gotten more from Wikipedia.
The facts that I particularly found disturbing was Linge's referring Hitler's bunch of thugs and female groupies as his "court" like royalty. He also kept calling Hitler an "artist" and "architect" when it is known that if he'd been any good as an art student, there would have no World War II as we know it. In addition, Linge seems to think it is relevant that we know how adamant Hitler was about not eating meat and preaching to everyone that cigarette were bad for the health. Yet, no one around him saw the irony in the fact that this maniac apparently thought it was "healthy" to kill millions of Jews, many through asphyxiation in gas chambers. Give me a Marlboro, PLEASE!
But, off the subject matter, there's something else that gave me a shock in this audiobook. The narrator, Jim Frangione, is in the middle of a "fun fact" about Hitler fathering an illegitimate son in 1918 during a relationship with a French girl and whether his "Boo" of 10 years, Eva Braun, was barren, when he suddenly blurts out "Oh, f**k!". Frangione then continues on as if he hadn't cursed or stumbled, yet losing the thread of the narrative. In listening to over 2,000 audiobooks, I've heard many narrators mess up, stumble, start over but never EVER blurt out a profanity like that. I'm sure it is done often but where was the editor and producer? Audiobooks need better quality control since they cost so much to buy.
That said, this is an interesting account of Hitler's strange life. Just don't buy it thinking that you will get insider info on "The End" - it ain't there! And those of you with sensitive natures, be forewarned of the 4-letter word which pops up in Chapter 7 at about 22 mins and 5 seconds in.
Obviously if you read the summary of this book you should go into it having a very good idea of what you'll be hearing.
As you might guess from someone that was with Hitler day in and day out he provides you with a more personal look dictator and does make him more human. This is not a negative to me since I know the point of view, it's just an interesting take on an extremely evil man. You must be able to deal with history from all angles for it to make sense and so you know how to keep things like Hitler from happening again.
The book starts off pretty slow and doesn't really hit a stride until half way through, but some parts (mainly towards the end) of it I found extremely interesting. Being a fairly short book I'd say someone that has read a good amount of WWII books might get a couple of hours of entertainment from this book.
The reader does a good job and has the proper tone for the content.
I really wish this book was mainly focused on 1944 and beyond since I found that part to be about 10x more interesting than the beginning of the book since there was very little new in that part. But then later half of the book was good enough for me to give it 4 stars overall -- maybe more like 3.9 if that was an option.
The only audiobook memoir I've found from a member of Hitler's inter-circle. As Hitler's valet he was obviously one of the closet to him, however much seems to have been purposefully omitted. Although unstated it is clear that Linge still thinks highly of his former "chief". If you haven't read other memoirs from those close to the former dictator this book could come off rather objectionable. Despite its flaws it's still an interesting listen. Recommend only to those interested and experienced in this era of history. Narrator does a good job.
This was an informative book on the inside workings of Hitler from the 30's until Hitlers end as Linge lit the match after Hitlers suicide. It is not about war strategy or Hitlers global plans, but more about the top Nazi's interaction with Hitler and one another. He indicated that Hitler likely knew Hess planned to go to England, and likely consented. The meetings between Himmler and Hitler were only between them thus hiding the genocide from as many as possible. He provides details of Bormann, Goebbels, Speer, Himmler, Goring and Ava Braun.
I liked learning about the basic personality details of Hitler and his inner circle. There's much that I never knew before.
What stood out was Linge's devotion and loyalty to Hitler. Even against his better judgment, he did what was asked.
This is a look at Hitler's life from the perspective of his personal assistant. It's very interesting, although I have to take some stories with a grain of salt. Although wordy at times, I would recommend this book to other history buffs.
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