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Publisher's Summary

Based on previously unpublished documents, diaries, notes, photographs, and dramatic interviews with Hitler's colleagues and associates, this is the definitive biography of one of the most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

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  • Mark
  • Raglan, New Zealand
  • 11-25-14

Strange Person

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.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely fascinating, in depth and jarring.

Where does Adolf Hitler rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best audio books I've listened to.

What other book might you compare Adolf Hitler to and why?

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.

Which scene was your favorite?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Well read and interesting documentary

Performance was very good, and this documentary of a truly remarkable if not stilted man gives a fair reflection of how a strong enough personality can make and break a nation.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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About as good as it gets.

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

A very well thought out exposition of the private life of one of history's most loathed tyrants, presented in a calm, thoughtful tone that manages to convey Toland's (almost) perfect impartiality while still holding the interest of the reader. A fascinating listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A close look at the most influential villain of modern history

This book explores the story of Adolf Hitler from his early years to his end, acknowledging his sins but not making him into a quasi-cartoon villain like some other books about him seem to love to do. Overall, this is a story of a man who let his anger and indignation take him down a dark path full of death and destruction. A difficult listen, but a necessary one if you want to know the man behind the hate.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A detailed and facinating book

Would you consider the audio edition of Adolf Hitler to be better than the print version?

Equal

Who was your favorite character and why?

Adolf Hitler

What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Not the best, a little slow.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

World War II... Why

Any additional comments?

A must read for anyone intersted in WW II

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Most comprehensive biography available.

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One of the most riveting biographies

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr
  • 02-25-15

Good Read

An interesting and accurate account revealing some detail on lessor known events, interesting insight into Hitler's manner towards secretaries etc.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Axel
  • 10-28-14

only as an audiobook I managed..

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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

What was one of the most memorable moments of Adolf Hitler?

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

Any additional comments?

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • 02-11-15

Factual and Flowing account of A Hitler

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes

What other book might you compare Adolf Hitler to, and why?

None to date

What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Long audio, Ralph keeps your listening consistent

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

neither

Any additional comments?

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • david thompson
  • 05-28-15

Long and informative

This is a lengthy book which I probably wouldn't tackle as a conventional book but found the audio version was easy to listen to in bite size chunks and, for me with an interest in the events of WW11, very informative.
Congratulations to the narrator who stuck at it for 40+ hours with an easy to listen to tone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ant
  • 01-29-15

Excellent

Loved every minute of this audiobook. The narration was brilliant. Highly recommended. A A A

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Trev_f100
  • 12-26-14

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Hamilton-welsh
  • 06-21-17

very good

Strong writer and narrator. very interesting and informative. flows well. highly recommended for history buffs.

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  • FERGUS DOWNIE
  • 03-11-17

Brilliant biography

Beautifully written and narrated. Compellingly relayed small details and insights you don't get in kershaws overrated doorstops

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  • Mr. Grahamdalton
  • 07-31-16

Very good story about hitter

Very good and the history story was well written and well spoke and kept the person involved in the historic story and kept simple most people will understand

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  • A. M. Talbot
  • 04-06-16

Compelling reading

This book was a fantastic insight into the mind and actions of the infamous Hitler

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  • wayne
  • 02-13-16

Outstanding book

I found this book very interesting and the detail and background work gone into producing is amazing.
I'll leave it a year and listen to all over again

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  • Brett Armstrong
  • 05-18-15

Sad but true.

Before I listened to this book I really didn't like Hitler but by the end of the book I felt like everyone around him didn't realize how much help he needed for his mental health.