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Editorial Reviews

All tyrants start somewhere. The most infamously diabolical tyrant of the modern age was Adolf Hitler. Ernst Hanfstaengl seeks to share his experiences from within Hitler's inner circle. Ernst describes his first meeting of the outspoken orator named Adolf in 1921, through his firsthand accounts of Hitler's rise to power as Fuhrer and the eventual betrayal that led to his fleeing from Germany as the Nazi party turned again him. It is not very often that such looming and reviled characters from history are able to be represented in a frank manner, but performer Robin Sachs brings a great urgency and realism to Mr. Hanfstaengl's work in Hitler: The Memoir of a Nazi Who Turned Against the Fuhrer.

Publisher's Summary

An intimate friend of Adolf Hitler’s who turned against him during the Nazi rise to power delves into the character of one of history’s most evil dictators.

Of American and German parentage, Ernst Hanfstaengl graduated from Harvard and ran the family business in New York for a dozen years before returning to Germany in 1921. By chance he heard a then little-known Adolf Hitler speaking in a Munich beer hall and, mesmerized by his extraordinary oratorical power, was convinced the man would some day come to power. As Hitler’s fanatical theories and ideas hardened, however, he surrounded himself with rabid extremists such as Goering, Hess, and Goebbels, and Hanfstaengl became estranged from him. But with the Nazi’s major unexpected political triumph in 1930, Hitler became a national figure, and he invited Hanfstaengl to be his foreign press secretary. It is from this unique insider’s position that the author provides a vivid, intimate view of Hitler - with his neuroses, repressions, and growing megalomania - over the next several years.

In 1937, four years after Hitler came to power, relations between Hanfstaengl and the Nazis had deteriorated to such a degree that he was forced to flee for his life, escaping to Switzerland. Here is a portrait of Hitler as you’ve rarely seen him.

©1957, 2011 Ernst Hanfstaengl. Introduction copyright c. 1994, 2011 by John Toland. Afterword copyright c. 1994, 2011 by Egon Hanfstaengl (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alan
  • Sunrise, FL, United States
  • 04-10-13

Once a Nazi, always a Nazi

Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl was a nazi.
Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl was a high ranking nazi.
His wife Helene was a nazi who as legend goes, stopped Hitler from committing suicide.

Knowing these facts are very important when listening to this book.
When he wrote this book in 1957, the reader can tell that the author is still in love with Hitler. He goes into numerous stories of how smart and literate Hitler was. ( It is at this part Im reminded of Mel's Brooks play 'Springtime For Hitler' in his movie The Producers)

Once you get off the topic of Hitler and he starts describing his inter reactions with other party members does this book actually shine. Ernst's description of Geli Raubal (Hitler's niece with whom it is specualded he had a sexual relationship with) is one of the high points of the book and I actually wish more stories had been included. Ernst also had very little respect for Eva Braun. Ernst lays out numerous examples of why he believes Hitler may have been homosexual.

Ernst's biggest hatreds turned out to be against two of Hitlers most trusted followers, Joseph Goebbles and Alfred Rosenberg. He tries to blame these two people for poisoning his poor Furher's mind. This hatred probably was the main reason for Ernst's fall from grace

I always enjoy books from people who were the actual participants but Im always cautious as to people who write books in an effort to rehabilitate their names.

I really didnt like Albert Spear's book.
I definately didnt like James Duffy's book where he tries to rehabilitate Charles Lindburgh

In Putzi's case, i make a SMALL exception. There is an element of honesty that comes thru on certain topics and for this i give it 3 stars.

The book is easy to listen to and if you had an extra credit lying around, you could use it here.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A fascinating memoir!

Written by Hitler’s former foreign press chief Ernst Hanfstaengl, this riveting memoir offers a glimpse into a psyche of Adolf Hitler, a man responsible for dragging half of the world into the most blood-shedding war in history. Part German, part American, Hanfstaengl never seemed to overcome this problem of self-identification: throughout the whole narration he appears to struggle between his devotion to both countries, which eventually led to his downfall in Hitler’s hierarchy. The two men met each other when Hitler was still a nobody, a gifted, even though somewhat shabby public speaker working the sympathetic crowds in the beer halls of München. Initially attracted to Hitler’s enigmatic persona, Hansftaengl soon becomes one of his closest friends and associates. Hanfstaengl introduces Hitler to the influential social circle in the hope to not only restrain his manner but make him into someone more cultural, more open to new ideas, ready for the dialogue and compromise - in short, into someone whom Hitler would never become. As more and more radical characters start surrounding the unstable future chancellor, the more Hansftaengl tries to persuade himself that his presence is even more essential now as he’s virtually the only person who can still sway the future dictator into a correct direction. But as Hitler officially becomes the leader of the state and purges began gaining force, the feebler Hanfstaengl’s hopes become, until he finally realizes that from a close friend he became one of the “undesirables,” someone who needs to be rid of as well. I’ve hardly ever come across such a detailed, intimate historical account. I’d definitely recommend this memoir for all serious history buffs. The narrator did a wonderful job.

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An unique perspective

This is a really unique book. The perspective it offers of the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party is at the same time laughable and deeply disturbing.

the narration is excellently done. It never seemed dry or boring; a true accomplishment for a first person, historical account.

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Hitler the man

I conclude the low ratings given to this book are because people still do not want to hear anything about Hitler that suggest he was a half decent man with a great sense of humor.
This is a rare ten hour book that is worth a credit.