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Posted March 17, 2007
Eva's Life: Lost and Found Again
Angela Lambert¿s ¿The Lost Life of Eva Braun¿ is not your typical biography. This 466 page book is not about Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Party (she was never a member), or does it offer an explanation for the Second World War, although one can not discuss Eva Braun¿s life and subsequent death in that dank and dark tomb beneath the Reich Chancellery without understanding how these factors congealed to bring to Berlin in 1945 and her death beside the man she so loved and the world so despised. Eva Braun was born into an average middle class family in Munich Germany in February of 1912. Her childhood and youth has been wonderfully detailed by the author. Eva always envisioned a life outside the ordinary¿perhaps as an actress, but never as a simple ¿hausfrau¿. She was often rebellious and had a craving to be the center of attention. It was perhaps this desire for something out of the ordinary that led her to Heinrich Hoffman¿s photography studio, where she modeled and clerked. It was here that she meets the mysterious ¿Herr Wolf¿, client and friend of her employer in October of 1929 at the age of 18. This strange patron would later be revealed to her as a raising politician by the name of Adolf Hitler. Ms. Lambert provides a vivid description of how Eva¿s early infatuation blossomed into a secretive romance, and her idyllic and yet terrible seclusion among the Southern Bavarian Alps at the Berghof (she was hidden away wherever there dignitaries were present). Here too Ms Lambert details how Eva interacted among the Nazi chieftains (her chief ally being Albert Speer), their wives, and mistresses, along with the others living on ¿the berg¿. Often alone (with occasionally her sister or a childhood friend), she would pass the days by swimming, exercising (aerobics, bicycling, skating), and lounging in the Bavarian sun. However, make no mistake it soon became clear that she was the (albeit unofficial) ¿Mistress of the Mountain¿ retreat as the author recounts through interviews and thoroughly researched documents. Finally, in minute detail, Ms. Lambert describes Eva¿s decision to join Hitler in Berlin in January of 1945 with the full knowledge that doing so would only bring her death. While many of the Nazi leadership ran like roaches in the light, only Eva and a small handful of others remained loyal. For her devotion, she achieved her single ambition---to become Hitler¿s wife, which she did for 36 hours. Her death came as she expected. She remained cheerful, compassionate, and loyal to the end. If this was where it ended, the book would still be well worth the $29.95 (USD). However, Ms. Lambert goes further by interlacing the story with that of her mother, another Bavarian girl very much like Eva and born at about the same time. By doing so, the book becomes in many way a story of her own past, and by extension, those whose parents, grandparents, or great grandparents lived through this horrific chapter of history. ¿The Lost Life of Eva Braun¿ is a solid read.
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Posted July 23, 2010
Try as she might, Angela Lambert could not make Eva Braun a sympathetic character for me. The author continually tried to brush off previous historical descriptions of Hitler's mistress that painted her as dim and present her as both thoughtful and deep. I can't help but feeling however, that it would serve her memory better to be seen as oblivious and unaware of the brutal carnage her lover inflicted on so many, than to have been aware and not at least have left him. After all, it seems as time passed it became somewhat of a chore for him to keep her placated. And the dual story line that tied in the author's mother's life growing up in Germany around the same time served only as a distraction. I was not interested. One thing I did find interesting was that Lambert noted in her biography that often the biographer will superimpose his or her own opinions about their subject matter into the story, and this seemed very much the case with her biography of Braun. She seemed to want us to like her or to at least sympathize with her plight. At the end while I might not outright condemn Eva Braun, neither could I feel any empathy for her, and I think that is the best Lambert should hope for.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 12, 2010
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