Hitlerby A. N. Wilson
A ruthless dictator who saved his country from economic ruin only to nearly destroy itand an entire peoplein his quest for world domination, Adolf Hitler forever changed the course of history. In this masterful account of Hitler’s life, biographer A.N. Wilson pulls back the curtain to reveal the man behind the mythic figure, shedding new light on Hitler’s personality, his desires, and his complex relationship with the German people.
While Hitler maintained that his life had been characterized by “struggle” from its very beginnings, Wilson shows that the reality could not have been more different. Hitler grew up in middle-class comfort and, as a young man, lacked ambitions of any sort besides a vaguely bohemian desire to become an artist. And while the Hitlerian mythos holds that he forged his skills as a leader during the First World War, Wilson explains the truth: Hitler spent most of the war as an office boy miles from the front lines, and only received his cherished Iron Cross because of his slavishness to the officers he served. The army gave him a sense of purpose and brotherhood, however, which continued to inspire Hitler once the war ended.
Hitler left the army with no skills, contacts, or moneyand yet, within fourteen years, he would become chancellor of the German nation. Wilson describes the story of Hitler’s ascent as one of both opportunism and sheer political shrewdness. He possessed no real understanding of the workings of government but had a prodigious knack for public speaking, and found that a large number of Germans, despairing at their country’s recent defeat and terrified by the specter of international communism, were willing to listen to the right-wing fantasies that had taken root inside his head. Allying himself with the extremist German Workers’ Party (soon renamed the National Socialist Party), Hitler offered many Germans a seductive vision of how the country might raise itself back up and reclaim its rightful place at the center of world politics.
Wilson shows that, although Hitler’s bid for power stalled at first, he soon gained traction with a German public starved for hope. Using his skills as a manipulator, Hitler found himself first at the head of the Nazi Party, then at the helm of the German nation. Wilson explores the forces that allowed Hitler to become Chancellor of Germany, and later to march Germany into total war. He examines Hitler’s increasingly virulent anti-Semitism and his decision to implement the Final Solution to exterminate European Jews, and he considers Hitler’s tactical successesand failuresin World War II. Wilson also reveals a great deal about how Hitler’s personal life affected his time as Germany’s leader, from the lasting pain caused by the death of his mother and the suicide of his young niece to his poor health and addiction to the drugs prescribed by his doctor. As Wilson demonstrates, Hitler the Führer was not so different from Hitler the bohemian: lazy, moody, and hypersensitive, he ruled more through intimidation and the mystifying force of his personality than through any managerial skill or informed decision-making. His storyand that of Germanyis ultimately a cautionary tale. In a modern era enamored with progress, rationality, and modernity, it is often the darkest and most chaotic elements of society that prove the most seductive.
Hitler’s unlikely rise to power and his uncanny ability to manipulate his fellow man resulted in the deaths of millions of Europeans and a horrific world war, yet despite his colossal role in world history, he remains mythologized and, as a result, misunderstood. In Hitler, A.N. Wilson limns this mysterious figure with great verve and acuity, showing that it was Hitler’s frightening normalcynot some otherworldly evilnessthat makes him so truly terrifying.
“Distilling his own career-long study into a tight, rapid-fire volume that is both portrait and warning, Wilson delivers a statement on Hitler that is insightful.”
Wall Street Journal
“Provocative . Noting how much Hitler depended on his speeches (even ‘Mein Kampf’ was dictated), Mr. Wilson calls him the ‘most hypnotic artist of post-literacy.’ Like today’s radio talk-show ‘entertainers,’ Hitler knew there was something about the spoken word that could galvanize millions. Rather than focus on Hitler’s ideology, the biographer brilliantly singles out his subject’s style of attack.”
“[A] sharply focused capsule biography . A portrait as disturbing as it is succinct.”
“[Wilson] provides a useful, even entertaining, life of Hitler. He revisits the expected eventshis rise, his incarceration, Mein Kampf, his vicious henchman, his anti-Semitism, his enormous prewar popularity (not just in Germany), his poor military judgment, his women, his fall and deathand adds some nasty details (he couldn’t control his farting; he was lazy and dressed oddly).”
“This well-crafted book cuts to the chase and reveals surprising facts about one of the most reviled figures in history . A fascinating book that underscores the fact that even in a modern era enamored with progress and rationality, the darkest elements of society can sometimes fester and become the most seductive.”
“Wilson has opted for brevity and sharp metal, skewering and brilliantly dissecting Hitler bare in a book you can almost read in a sitting. Wilson cuts to the dark heart of the matter . A stimulating triumph of the mind.”
The American Prospect
“A.N. Wilson’s biography provides a succinct, quick-reading introduction to Hitler that deftly manages the essentials, and, in its truly terrifying accomplishment, begins to bring the human being behind the monstrous Führer back to life.”
Mail on Sunday
“[An] entertaining, short biography . [Wilson] bring[s] a witty, novelist’s insight into what made Hitler tick. He seems to understand Hitler’s character in a way many historians never could.”
“Hitler is a slender but insightful volume about the evil instigator of World War II and the murderer of millions.”
Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
“In the best short biography of Adolf Hitler for three decades, A. N. Wilson goes straight to the essentials to explain what made the Fuhrer the phenomenon he was. His conclusions make fascinating, if occasionally uncomfortable, reading even two-thirds of a century after Hitler’s death.”
Robert Gellately, author of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe
“A. N. Wilson is a born biographer and has an eye for the telling detail. In a book written with verve, insight, and imagination, he gives us a fresh look at Hitler. The story he tells is bound to interest and surprise even those who think they already know and understand this most curious historical figure, one who against all odds rose to become leader of Germany and then promptly brought about the greatest catastrophe in European history."
- Basic Books
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- Hachette Digital, Inc.
- NOOK Book
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- 311 KB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Meet the Author
A.N. Wilson is a renowned British journalist and author. He is the author of several acclaimed biographies, including Tolstoy, C.S. Lewis, Jesus, and Paul. He taught for seven years at Oxford before becoming a journalist. A frequent contributor to the Daily Mail, the Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, The Spectator, and The Observer, Wilson lives in London.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Hitler is easily the most fascinating character of the 20th Century, and biographies of him abound. There is little to recommend this one. There is little new here, but there is much to suggest the author has a personal agenda to push. There is understandably a great deal of speculation about Hitler's sex life and his religious views. We will almost certainly never know either with certainty. But Wilson falsely attributes Hitler's moral faults to Darwin's theory of evolution. He also insists that Hitler hated Christianity. These are common, even dreary, accusations of evangelical Christians. But they are simply not true. Hitler was a Roman Catholic, although it is not clear how devout he was. But he was clearly on good terms with the Vatican, and he invoked religious imagary on a routine basis. German troops in WWII wore belt buckles with "God With Us" on them. Hitler also denounced Darwin and his theory of evolution. It is a bald-faced lie to say otherwise. Wilson also downplays Hitler's sexual peculiarities. Although he correctly dismisses the common speculation that Hitler was homosexual, he ignores the diary of Hitler's niece, who committed suicide, which clearly indicates that Hitler was, at the least, very kinky. Me. Wilson clearly has an agenda here, and I'm guessing it's a religious agenda. Better to suggest that such a monster was an atheist than admit that a good Catholic, with the Vatican turning a blind eye, could perform great atrocities. There are many other biographies of Hitler. Don't waste your money on this one.
agenda. not bad to check out for fans of ww2
He needs help or something
Yeah he deinitely is. He deserves it.
He is for sure in hell.
I enjoyed it very much very insightful
This was an easy read but interesting and I learned a few things I did not know.
I HATE HITLER BOOOO NEVER WANNA HEAR HIS NAME AGAIN