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Himmler
     

Himmler

by Peter Padfield
 

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A grimly compelling study of Hitler's SS and Gestapo chief who masterminded the attempted extermination of the Jewish race in Europe.

Peter Padfield explores Himmler's mind through his diaries, letters, ordinances and speeches, and suggests that the roots of his sadistic career lay in his appearance and physique which fell far below that of the 'Aryan' warrior

Overview

A grimly compelling study of Hitler's SS and Gestapo chief who masterminded the attempted extermination of the Jewish race in Europe.

Peter Padfield explores Himmler's mind through his diaries, letters, ordinances and speeches, and suggests that the roots of his sadistic career lay in his appearance and physique which fell far below that of the 'Aryan' warrior idealized by the Nazis; his complementary fantasies of being hard and ruthless were realized through the systems of repression and mass murder he created and controlled.

A believer in the myth of a former 'Aryan' master race unpolluted by interbreeding with inferior peoples, he took charge of resettling eastern Europe with a new 'Aryan' aristocracy. His SS men were selected for 'racial' appearance and pure ancestry, and were encouraged to propagate with similarly select women.

A politician of guile, he amassed such power that at the end he was the one man who could have toppled Hitler before Germany went down to defeat. That he shrank from this is the measure of his essentially subordinate character.

"Padfield stalks an elusive figure and defines him better than any effort to date."

Chicago Tribune

"The biography is a convincing collection of evidence that serves up sometimes numbing detail in a clear, unobtrusive style."

Washington Post

"A thorough, conscientious and compulsively readable investigation."

A.L. Rowse, Sunday Telegraph

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Impeccably documented, compulsively readable, this is the first full-length biography of the most powerful and coldblooded of Hitler's lieutenants. Before his suicide in 1945 Himmler had ruled the SS and Gestapo, directed the death camps in Poland, headed German intelligence services, and run the slave-labor system in the Reich. He also was responsible for pseudo-medical experiments in the death camps. Delving into the family background and upbringing of this terrible yet strangely ordinary man, Padfield analyzes the master-race theories that inspired Himmler and comes impressively close to explaining how a priggish, idealistic Bavarian boy turned into history's most ruthless slaughterer. Buttressed with excerpts from diaries, letters and speeches, the author examines each phase of Himmler's life in detail. Padfield describes, for instance, how Himmler expanded Hitler's personal bodyguard (the original SS) into an all-embracing empire within the Nazi state used to terrorize party hierarchy as well as occupied Europe. The book sheds light on Himmler's 11th-hour attempt to make a separate peace with the Allies, and on the details of his final hours. A powerful and horrifying narrative by the author of Donitz: The Last Fuhrer. Photos. Military Book Club selection. (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781909869424
Publisher:
Thistle Publishing
Publication date:
10/01/2013
Pages:
658
Sales rank:
955,932
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.32(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Padfield is a leading naval historian and biographer. He trained for the sea as a cadet in H.M.S.Worcester, subsequently serving in the P & O Line. His biography of the U-boat admiral, Karl Dönitz, led him to a portrayal of submarine warfare in War Beneath the Sea, and to biographies of other leading Nazis, Heinrich Himmler and Rudolf Hess. His Maritime Power and the Struggle for Freedom won the Mountbatten Maritime Prize, 2003.

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