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.
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.
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.
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.
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