He was not an intellectual. He produced no great works of philosophy or art. He was not a military leader of genius or insight yet this petit-bourgeois Austrian came to power c onstitutionally in and remained in power for 12 years and by he commanded a European empire not seen since the days of Napoleon. He was also the instigator of a genocidal war of unparalleled scope and brutality. How can the Hitler phenomenon be explained and, does it have any relevance over 50 years after his death? In terms of personality Hitler was a quite unremarkable and unlovely man.

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Start your review of Hitler: Hubris Hitler, 1 Write a review Shelves: world-war-ii , biography , nazis , holocaust Claude Lanzmann, who directed the famous Holocaust documentary Shoah, once said that any attempt to explain Hitler is an "obscenity. And for good reason. Whatever he facilitated, however evil his deeds, he was a man. The proof: on April 30, , when he pulled the trigger of a Walther PPK, his brains ended up on the wall of his bunker, and he was no more.

Just a human reduced to a corpse. It spans the years when Hitler was born in Austria to when Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland. It is a straight-forward, no frills biography, packed with well-sourced facts - but dry. So very dry. There are no fishing expeditions into the realm of psychology. There is a cottage industry of authors trying to explain why Hitler did what he did. Some writers speculate that Hitler had Jewish blood that shamed him into genocide.

Others dwell on his alleged homosexuality; his alleged mono-testicular condition Google "one testicle" and Hitler comes up right away ; his alleged impotence; his alleged fear of women; his alleged scatological problems.

All of this is reductive and a little insulting to the intelligence. This is both an asset and a detriment. Usually, after reading a biography, you feel closer to the subject, even if that subject happened to be a horrible person.

Not here. Hitler never came alive in this book. This has the dual effect of sapping the narrative of color, and leaving gaps in the story. I did appreciate the methodical approach Kershaw laid out. This helps contextualize the often-confusing and byzantine world of German politics during the ill-fated Weimar Republic.

According to Kershaw, Hitler was no great political thinker, and certainly no great politican. Instead, he had a gift for grand visions and the ways to sell them , leaving much of the ideology and execution to his subordinates this makes it even more important to flesh out those subordinates, which Kershaw does not do. Once Hitler attained power, he became even more distanced from the day-to-day bureaucracy. It was fascinating to learn how angry people got with the mismanagement and bumblings of the Nazi party, even though they continued to love Hitler, who had effectively distanced himself from the consequences that come with actually having to govern, rather than simply be in opposition.

The subject of Hitler is heavy. To see how it ends.


Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris

He was originally trained as a medievalist but turned to the study of modern German social history in the s. At first, he was mainly concerned with the economic history of Bolton Abbey. As a lecturer in medieval history at Manchester, Kershaw learned German to study the German peasantry in the Middle Ages. If only you had sided with us. Together we could have defeated Bolshevism and ruled the earth! During his work, Broszat encouraged Kershaw to examine how ordinary people viewed Hitler. In this book, Kershaw examined the experience of the Nazi era at the grass-roots in Bavaria.


Ian Kershaw






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