Hitler by Volker Ullrich
Ascent, 1889-1939

76%

13 Critic Reviews

...rather than being construed in some way as an apologia, Ullrich contends quite rightly that this approach makes the subject even more horrific. Hitler the dictator, Hitler the mass murderer was not only human, he was all too human.
-Financial Times

Synopsis

A New York Times 2016 Notable Book

A major new biography—an extraordinary, penetrating study of the man who has become the personification of evil.

“Ullrich reveals Hitler to have been an eminently practical politician—and frighteningly so. Timely… One of the best works on Hitler and the origins of the Third Reich to appear in recent years.”
Kirkus Reviews

“An outstanding study… All the huge, and terrible moments of the early Nazi era are dissected…but the real strength of this book is in disentangling the personal story of man and monster.”
The Guardian (U.K.) 

For all the literature about Adolf Hitler there have been just four seminal biographies; this is the fifth, a landmark work that sheds important new light on Hitler himself. Drawing on previously unseen papers and a wealth of recent scholarly research, Volker Ullrich reveals the man behind the public persona, from Hitler's childhood to his failures as a young man in Vienna to his experiences during the First World War to his rise as a far-right party leader. Ullrich deftly captures Hitler's intelligence, instinctive grasp of politics, and gift for oratory as well as his megalomania, deep insecurity, and repulsive worldview.

Many previous biographies have focused on the larger social conditions that explain the rise of the Third Reich. Ullrich gives us a comprehensive portrait of a postwar Germany humiliated by defeat, wracked by political crisis, and starved by an economic depression, but his real gift is to show vividly how Hitler used his ruthlessness and political talent to shape the Nazi party and lead it to power. For decades the world has tried to grasp how Hitler was possible. By focusing on the man at the center of it all, on how he experienced his world, formed his political beliefs, and wielded power, this riveting biography brings us closer than ever to the answer.

Translated from the German by Jefferson Chase.
 

About Volker Ullrich

See more books from this Author
VOLKER ULLRICH is a historian and journalist whose previous books in German include biographies of Bismarck and Napoleon, as well as a major study of Imperial Germany, Die nervöse Grossmacht1871-1918 (The Nervous Empire). From 1990 to 2009, Ullrich was the editor of the political book review section of the influential weekly newspaper Die Zeit.Translated from the German by Jefferson Chase.
Author Residence: Hamburg, Germany
Author Hometown: Celle, Germany
 
Published September 6, 2016 by Knopf. 1008 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon11
Peak Rank on Oct 16 2016
icon1
Weeks as Bestseller
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Hitler
All: 13 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Jun 30 2016

Timely, given the increase in right-wing intransigence throughout the world, and one of the best works on Hitler and the origins of the Third Reich to appear in recent years.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Adam Kirsch on Oct 14 2016

What is truly frightening, and monitory, in Ullrich’s book is not that a Hitler could exist, but that so many people seemed to be secretly waiting for him.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by John Kampfner on Mar 27 2016

In the historiography of the Third Reich, any detailed focus on Hitler’s character has in the past led to accusations of relativism. Ullrich’s rigour and sensitivity enables him to succeed.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 | See more reviews from Guardian

Book Reporter

Above average
Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott on Sep 09 2016

Admirably intent on presenting Hitler in an unbiased manner, Ullrich cannot help but paint a picture of an aberrant character devising and achieving an unprecedented rise to glorification.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by MICHIKO KAKUTANI on Sep 27 2016

...there is little here that is substantially new. However, Mr. Ullrich offers a fascinating Shakespearean parable about how the confluence of circumstance, chance, a ruthless individual and the willful blindness of others can transform a country — and, in Hitler’s case, lead to an unimaginable nightmare for the world.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 | See more reviews from NY Times

The Independent

Above average
Reviewed by MARCUS TANNER on Mar 03 2016

Ullrich does not agree that looking closely at – and into – Hitler relativises his crimes. On the contrary, he insists that Nazism cannot be understood if we do not also understand the complex personality of the No 1 Nazi.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939

The Telegraph

Good
Reviewed by Miranda Seymour on Mar 03 2016

Other historians have charted Hitler’s ascent with equal skill, but this biography stands apart thanks to Ullrich’s refusal to buy into the idea – assiduously fostered by the Führer himself – that Hitler was invulnerable.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939

Christian Science Monitor

Good
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue on Oct 07 2016

The account of that formation in "Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939" is the richest and most convincingly three-dimensional one yet produced by a major biographer. And the fully-human Hitler who emerges from these pages is, inevitably, far more horrifying than a simple monster ever could be.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939

London Review of Books

Good
Reviewed by Neal Ascherson on Jun 02 2016

Ullrich’s narrative of Hitler’s rise to power, though it doesn’t quite have the bite of Kershaw’s version, is full, intelligent and lucidly written.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939

Herald Scotland

Good
Reviewed by Alan Taylor on Apr 01 2016

What emerges is perhaps the most revealing and persuasive portrait we are likely to see of the man who persuaded an entire people to become part of a cult...

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Sep 29 2016

there is little here that is substantially new. However, Ullrich offers a fascinating Shakespearean parable about how the confluence of circumstance, chance, a ruthless individual and the willful blindness of others can transform a country...

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 | See more reviews from National Post arts

https://bookpage.com

Good
Reviewed by Keith Herrell on Sep 06 2016

At more than 1,000 pages, with a readable translation by Jefferson Chase, Hitler: Ascent is no quick read. That’s for the best, as this is a book to be studied with one eye toward the past and the other toward the future—and Volume 2.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939

Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Roger Moorhouse on Mar 11 2016

...rather than being construed in some way as an apologia, Ullrich contends quite rightly that this approach makes the subject even more horrific. Hitler the dictator, Hitler the mass murderer was not only human, he was all too human.

Read Full Review of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 | See more reviews from Financial Times

Reader Rating for Hitler
92%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 134 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×