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Blitzed Audiobook

Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany

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Publisher's Summary

The Nazis presented themselves as warriors against moral degeneracy. Yet, as Norman Ohler's gripping best seller reveals, the entire Third Reich was permeated with drugs: cocaine, heroin, morphine and, most of all, methamphetamines, or crystal meth, used by everyone from factory workers to housewives, and crucial to troops; resilience - even partly explaining German victory in 1940.

The promiscuous use of drugs at the very highest levels also impaired and confused decision-making, with Hitler and his entourage taking refuge in potentially lethal cocktails of stimulants administered by the physician Dr Morell as the war turned against Germany. While drugs cannot on their own explain the events of the Second World War or its outcome, Ohler shows, they change our understanding of it. Blitzed forms a crucial missing piece of the story.

©2016 Norman Ohler (P)2016 Penguin Books Limited

What the Critics Say

"Bursting with interesting facts." (Vice)
"Extremely interesting...a serious piece of scholarship, very well researched." (Ian Kershaw)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (383 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tim San Diego, CA 03-13-17
    Tim San Diego, CA 03-13-17 Member Since 2006
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    "One Reich, One God, One Dealer"

    This is a fascinating rollercoaster ride through the history of third Reich seen through the prism of substance abuse. The premise that the German people, especially their fighting forces, ran on massive amounts of Crystal Meth and Hitler was addicted to Hill Billy Heroin was shocking, but makes perfect sense. How else could Hitler’s armies roll up Europe like a cheap rug in just a matter of days? The work seems well researched and is extremely well performed by Johnathan Keeble. The events it documents are both fascinating and horrifying by turn. I’m a fairly keen WWII reader but this told several tales which I hadn't heard before. I’d heard that Hitler had a serious problem with substances which I always found odd because he was famously keen on health and fitness. The book explains this transition from extreme vegan to severe doper in great detail.

    If I have any qualms about the narrative it feels like the author may be over playing his hand, just a touch. He goes in for quite a bit of speculative thinking extending his already startling and well documented theory beyond firm facts. Attributing Hitler’s decline in sanity and health primarily to substance abuse is fascinating but it may be joining up dots which are not really be there. Regardless, this is a marvelous, compelling read. If you have any interest whatsoever in WWII its causes and impact on our world, you will find this an extremely satisfying read.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James San Jose, CA, United States 02-09-17
    James San Jose, CA, United States 02-09-17 Member Since 2009

    History Nerd with an emphasis on the history of the Great War. I live in San Jose CA

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    "A excellent narrative."

    Holy Guacamole! This audiobook is a blast. Even if you have read more Third Reich books than is good for normal functioning, get this one.

    I've rarely have had as much fun learning than I have has listening to this audiobook. The subject is new, it's fascinating, and it keeps you listening. I listened to it almost at one go. While it covers the subjects of drugs in the Third Reich, it's something of a drug itself--very hard to quit.

    As a pharmacological history of the Third Reich and a pharmacological biography of Hitler this book can not be beat. It sheds an entirely new light on Hitler and his enabler/pusher Dr. Morel. It also sheds light on how the Wehrmacht can be understood as a Walter White experience gone horribly off the rails.

    Thanks to this new understanding we have a understanding on how Hitler was able to power thought the war sustained on junk (both literal and figurative) The number and amount of items Hitler had pushed into his veins by the good Doctor Morel is amply and chillingly documented. The rise and fall of both Hitler and his Reich is plotted with excruciating detail on medical charts and on prescription notes. What a strange, long and ultimately disastrous trip it was.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaded Buddha 11-26-16
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    "Top notch audiobook!"

    This is a gripping historical narrative, offering an unusual perspective on Hitler and the Nazis. It develops a fascinating argument -- that amphetamines and pharmaceuticals were a significant factor in the history of the Second World War. While this is not an *entirely* new argument -- I read a history of amphetamines a few years ago called _On Speed_ that made similar suggestions -- Blitzed caught the pass and ran with it all the way into the end zone for the touchdown. Rooted in scholarship, but very fun to listen to, and well performed by the audio reader. Excellent!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roman 03-13-17
    Roman 03-13-17
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    "Butchered German pronunciation"

    Really liked the content, it opened a whole new perspective on the third Reich. In terms of performance I only wish the reader would have taken the time to research the basics of correct German pronunciation. The way he butchered German names and expression was neither English nor German and just horrible. As a fluent speaker of German I feel it wouldn't have been to much to ask for to do a little research. Other than that the performance was alright.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    easyfour Los Angeles, California 03-11-17
    easyfour Los Angeles, California 03-11-17 Member Since 2013

    FMO

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    "Amazing!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Blitzed to be better than the print version?

    I love the narrator! He's definitely been given some acting instruction by a very good teacher!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character? Am I allowed to say Hitler? Theodor Morrell is great, but he simply isn't as significant. Perhaps the drugs themselves?


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

    He accentuates, signs, pauses, etc. It's fantastic theater.


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read or heard. It's a must-read for any WWII enthusiast.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JB Nebraska 03-10-17
    JB Nebraska 03-10-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Rewrite History!"

    Hitler's drug use has been long known. You can go all the way back to Trever-Roper for Morell's use of "28 substances." Nevertheless, conventional historians have discounted the impact this would obviously have had. The question is only a matter of degree. Unfortunately Ohler, a dreaded non professional historian, overplays his hand with the melodramatic flair, and will be discounted by the mainstream just like the reports of Hitler's doctor, as a quack!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Martyn 02-20-17
    John Martyn 02-20-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Outstanding!"

    This book blew my mind! Very well written - extremely engaging - very well narrated. I highly recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 01-01-17
    David United States 01-01-17 Member Since 2012

    Hellicopter Man

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    "The Third Reich Just Got Weirder "

    Normally this book would not get five stars from me but it is such an idiosyncratic work I must recommend it. I am not a WWII sort of guy but I have listened to all 57 hours of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Shirer so am not a complete novice.

    The first part of the book seemed slow going but then I learned the blitzkrieg into France was organized, more or less, out of a desperate Chinese Fire Drill and was made successful by nearly a complete accident of insubordination. And perhaps enabled (or perhaps entirely enabled) by prodigious distribution of methamphetamines. These guys needed to keep awake for something 48 hours straight just to get started.

    In addition I did not realize till the book was done that it is a translation! That is a recommendation by itself as something of a natural curiosity. From time to time I caught myself thinking, in the bck of my mind, (pst! Fredrico Felini! ). I will leave the fact checking to others but there simply are a lot of reasonably plausible weird things that any armchair strategist would be delighted to take up in late night beer fest.

    Finally, the general theme seems to include an accusation Hitler's personal physician was such a total quack Hitler was lucky to have lived into 1942. What I find amazing is this guys quackery must have worked rather well because otherwise Hitler could be mistaken for a German Rasputin rising from the dead every three or four months till he finally had to do the job himself with a small calibre Walter pistol.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr Dionne P Joseph Qatar 11-29-16
    Dr Dionne P Joseph Qatar 11-29-16 Member Since 2016

    juldion

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    "Amazingly good book. Revelatory!!"

    Fantastically interesting book. I listened to it pretty much in one go. Could not put it down. This sheds an entirely new light onto historical events, not least the supposed invincibility of the German army in the early stages of the war.

    Fascinating, absorbing listen. I have been telling everyone I know about the findings/revelations in this book. Totally recommended, plus top-notch narration.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rickapolis Annapolis, Maryland, United States 04-14-17
    Rickapolis Annapolis, Maryland, United States 04-14-17 Listener Since 2009

    Rickapolis

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    "Always more to learn"
    Any additional comments?

    That Hitler was a drug user is not new information, but that the army was high, as well as much of the populace, is, and explains a bit more about the horrors they perpetrated. When on drugs, why care about atrocities? Why, in fact, care about anything but the next fix? This book rewrites much about what we know about the war. The blitz-ers were, indeed, blitzed. I strongly recommend this audio book. Keeble's narration is first rate, and only some redundancy in the telling works against it. Perhaps the most important lesson from the war is 'never forget'. Ohler's book shows there is always still more to learn. Listen Please. Rickapolis

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Sam
    Sheffield
    2/12/17
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    "very interesting"

    fascinating aspect of history not much reported on. becomes a little bit repetitive over the course of the book but overall very good

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • MrLucyfer
    London
    12/19/16
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    "Illuminating"

    It does not justify the horrible disgusting things Hitler and the Nazis did but it explains many things. Worth a read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Charles Palmer
    12/8/16
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    "Very illuminating. "

    Well researched and serious history of the overlooked role of pharmacology in the 3rd Reich

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A. C. Anderson
    In Transit.
    8/16/17
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    "Historical Perspective from The High Ground"
    What did you like best about Blitzed? What did you like least?

    History, always a difficulty to decide from which vantage point to view it. Do you take a top down or bottom up view of events as they unfold? Do you take history from the vanquished or the victor? Powerful or powerless? And so on.The author makes a unique, unconventional and basically un-boring yet plausible argument for taking this picture from the 'high ground'. According to Ohler, Hitler and the Nazis can be best be understood through the hopped up haze of amphetamines, cocaine, morphine and similar substance abuse. The work is rather repetitive, predictably judgemental and sensationalistic at times, but nevertheless manages to keep the reader's or listener's attention. It also perhaps offers another handle with which attempt to manage a relatively firm grip on some understanding of the fascinating and inexplicable existence of the rise and fall of the Third Reich.


    What about Jonathan Keeble’s performance did you like?

    Clear and concise. Overall a good reading.


    Do you think Blitzed needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    An engaging author. It would be interesting to see what he could add to this book.


    Any additional comments?

    Recommended as worth a read, or in this case a listen on Audible. Overall-3.5, but not quite 4 stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    UK
    8/13/17
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    "An excellently researched new insight"

    A genuinely new insight into a much studied period of history.

    This should be read by anybody with an interest in the Second World War or the abhorrent depths of the Nazi leadership of Germany.

    Perhaps it goes some way to explaining the unprecedented progress of the Wehrmacht invasions (on both Western and Eastern fronts) and the effectiveness (however much one would prefer not to acknowledge it) of the German soldier throughout the war. As well as the startling degradation of Hitler in the latter stages of the conflict.

    I first heard of this title in Dan Snow's History Hit podcast, and I'm grateful to him for highlighting this fascinating and surprising title. I expect it'll influence the analysis of other historians work in future.

    An important and welcome addition to cannon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A. Hill
    Kent
    5/31/17
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    "Fascinating..."

    No idea why this story hasn't been told before. A real insight into an already unbelievable horror story of Germany under the Nazis and their dependency on drugs

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Choder Boy
    North East, England
    5/10/17
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    "If only it had been longer"

    A really interesting piece of history that's not been covered so well before. I just wish it had been a bit longer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patrick Kerley
    Dundalk, Ireland
    5/9/17
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    "Hands down the best history book ever"

    I read a lot of books on the history of the second world war and the people who faught it. After Dan Carlin's History Under the Influence I wanted to dig more into substance abuse in Nazi Germany and till now, there was little on the subject and mainly snippets here and there. This book changes that and is a fascinating perspective on Germany.

    It's more than that though, it's an entertaining and sometimes even funny book, particularly regarding its descriptions​ of Erwin Rommel. It also helps that the narrator is beyond spectacular. It's an all round awesome book that should go well beyond the enjoyment of history lovers

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ryan cusdin
    4/4/17
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    "Fascinating"

    The Second World War and what the nazis carried out never ceases to amaze me!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dr. Michael A. Cant
    Cambridge United Kingdom
    3/9/17
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    "Gripping account of systemic drug abuse in Nazi Germany"

    Fascinating, beautifully written and narrated. The author writes fiction, which shows in the vivid and lively style. Exceptionally well researched, with something genuinely new to tell.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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