Hitler by Ian Kershaw
1889-1936 Hubris

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Synopsis

Hailed as the most compelling biography of the German dictator yet written, Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the heart of its subject's immense darkness.

From his illegitimate birth in a small Austrian village to his fiery death in a bunker under the Reich chancellery in Berlin, Adolf Hitler left a murky trail, strewn with contradictory tales and overgrown with self-created myths. One truth prevails: the sheer scale of the evils that he unleashed on the world has made him a demonic figure without equal in this century. Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the character of the bizarre misfit in his thirty-year ascent from a Viennese shelter for the indigent to uncontested rule over the German nation that had tried and rejected democracy in the crippling aftermath of World War I. With extraordinary vividness, Kershaw recreates the settings that made Hitler's rise possible: the virulent anti-Semitism of prewar Vienna, the crucible of a war with immense casualties, the toxic nationalism that gripped Bavaria in the 1920s, the undermining of the Weimar Republic by extremists of the Right and the Left, the hysteria that accompanied Hitler's seizure of power in 1933 and then mounted in brutal attacks by his storm troopers on Jews and others condemned as enemies of the Aryan race. In an account drawing on many previously untapped sources, Hitler metamorphoses from an obscure fantasist, a "drummer" sounding an insistent beat of hatred in Munich beer halls, to the instigator of an infamous failed putsch and, ultimately, to the leadership of a ragtag alliance of right-wing parties fused into a movement that enthralled the German people.

This volume, the first of two, ends with the promulgation of the infamous Nuremberg laws that pushed German Jews to the outer fringes of society, and with the march of the German army into the Rhineland, Hitler's initial move toward the abyss of war.

Black-and-white photos throughout
 

About Ian Kershaw

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Ian Kershaw is professor of modern history at the University of Sheffield.
 
Published January 1, 1999 by W. W. Norton & Company. 912 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hitler

Kirkus Reviews

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Kershaw writes—and few would argue—that “the First World War made Hitler possible,” but goes on to argue against the interpretation that Hitler was somehow the logical outcome of German history’s “special path.” Kershaw’s Hitler is no —psychopathic god— but deeply rooted in the history and vultur...

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Kirkus Reviews

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Kershaw gives appropriate attention to the Holocaust and reminds us, once again, of the unthinkable horrors of the 20th century’s “defining episode.” He also describes the war’s significant battles and brings to life with the power of his style the creepy cabal of criminals who surrounded Hitler ...

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The Guardian

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Hitler 1936-45: NemesisIan KershawAllen-Lane £25, pp1,168Buy it at BOL.

Oct 14 2000 | Read Full Review of Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris

The Guardian

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Londonderry regarded the Nazi regime as foul and suitable only for foreigners, but he did believe that Hitler had genuine grievances and should be reasoned with, not excluded.

Nov 20 2004 | Read Full Review of Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris

The Guardian

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Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and Britain's Road to War by Ian Kershaw 476 pp, Allen Lane, £20.

Oct 01 2004 | Read Full Review of Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris

The Guardian

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Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis Ian Kershaw 1,152pp, Allen Lane £25 Buy it at BOL.

Oct 07 2000 | Read Full Review of Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris

The Telegraph

The subject is doubly important because so many people in the last doomed months were killed to so little purpose: concentration-camp prisoners on aimless death marches, German civilians under Allied bombing, Red Army soldiers in the last desperate battles from the Vistula to the Spree, ...

Aug 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris

Tampa Bay Times

The average intelligent reader will find it easily accessible, and Kershaw propels Hitler from birth to suicide with a skill and narrative urgency that belie the book's thousand pages.

Feb 28 2009 | Read Full Review of Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris

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