In this accomplished biography, Giblin (Charles Lindbergh) presents the rise and fall of "the most dangerous and ultimately the most destructive twentieth-century dictator." The author begins with Hitler's birth and modest upbringing in Austria and failed artistic aspirations, and follows his years as a WWI soldier and his budding abilities as a political orator (an army superior noted, chillingly, "Herr Hitler is a born people's speaker.... He clearly compels the attention of his listeners, and makes them think his way"). The compelling narrative then traces Hitler's gradual accumulation of power, including his early political associations with the Nazi Party, a failed 1923 coup attempt and subsequent imprisonment (where he penned his plans for political domination and the annihilation of European Jews in Mein Kampf). This insightful historical overview describes the social, political and economic conditions that proved ripe for the dictator's ascent, as it outlines Hitler's life and career, including his iron grip on his adopted "Fatherland" and his commitment to Lebensraum (or additional "living space" for Germany) which triggered the series of invasions that pushed the world into another war. Abundant primary source quotes and well-researched photographs enliven this comprehensive volume. A closing chapter describes the rise of neo-Nazism both in the U.S. and abroad. Giblin offers an absorbing portrait of an enigmatic leader who loved dogs and opera but could also order the extermination of millions of innocent people. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A book about Adolf Hitler is never an easy read. One wonders: How can someone grow up to be such an evil human being—as if "human being" is a fit description for such a demented soul. Yet fascination, curiousity, and a basic need to know compels the most reluctant reader to learn about this most heinous of all people. Complete with photographs and timelines, this good read (if you can call a book about Hitler, a good read) is bound to interest high school students who want to learn more about the individual who singlehandedly mesmerized the masses and changed the world. A brilliant politician, Hitler swayed the entire German nation with promises of renewal and prosperity, even as he managed a strategy to dominate most of Europe. As he systematically carried out his plan, he set World War II in motion. Meanwhile, he managed to convince many rational German citizens that Jews were the cause of all evil, devising and ordering the deaths of more than six million men, women, and children. In a straightforward and matter of fact manner, James Cross Giblin explores the forces that shaped the man as well as the social conditions that furthered his rapid rise to power. Beginning with his childhood in Austria to his final days in a Berlin bunker, we learn of why this enigmatic, deranged despot was able to destroy the civilized world. 2002, Clarion Books, 246 pp., Kaplan
Perhaps no figure in modern history has generated more debate than Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler. Rising from middle class Austrian roots Hitler ascended the heights of power. A brave four-year veteran of the First World War, Hitler eventually was to spring into control of not only Germany, but also a global empire. Hitler's political shrewdness was counter-balanced by a blind hatred for Jews, Slavs, and non-Aryan people. In the end, this brutal prejudice combined with Hitler's unbalanced personality led Nazi Germany to a fiery destruction. Sadly, the human cost of Hitler's twelve years in power as the Fuhrer was staggering. Over fifty million people lost their lives in World War II and tens of millions more were injured, traumatized, or displaced. How could such events happen in an age that was purported to be civilized? In The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, James Cross Giblin addresses this critical question. The author presents Hitler as a human figure who rose from modest origins to the pinnacle of power. This is a wonderfully researched and carefully written work. Giblin has a strong feel for his subject matter and presents a thoughtful profile of the late Nazi ruler. This book also points toward the possible dangers of any future regimes that hold human life as cheaply as did Hitler's Nazi party. Readers will come away from this illustrated biography with a deeper understanding of one of the most amazing and evil men in recorded history. Romaneck
Few stories are as chilling as the life of Adolf Hitler. Looking at his baby picture, however, it is difficult to see the focused evil of his later life. Giblin relates Hitler's whole story in a way that involves the adolescent reader's interests and concerns. What was it like growing up in Hitler's family? What did he do when he was a teenager? What about girls? As the author describes Hitler's rise to power, he skillfully interweaves myriad incidents and influences that contributed to the creation of Germany's dictatorship. The text is quite readable, with many primary source references. Photographs and maps are plentiful. Giblin includes an intriguing story about Hitler's obsession with his pretty niece, a girl who killed herself in Hitler's apartment. He describes Hitler's passion for the military and his adoration of his adopted nation, Germany, and details Hitler's deliberate steps to annihilate the Jews. In the end, there are no real explanations for Hitler's hatred of the Jewish people or for Germany's acceptance of his ideology. Nor is it possible to convey, even through direct quotes and photographs, Hitler's skill as an orator. Neverthless Giblin's book, like Eileen Heyes's Adolf Hitler (Millbrook Press, 1994/VOYA June 1995), is so eloquently straightforward that it allows readers to form their own understandings. It can be appreciated by twelve-year-olds as well as twenty-two-year-olds and makes an excellent purchase for both school and public libraries. Glossary. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Source Notes. (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal;
The most complete and successful biography of the F hrer available for this audience. It takes courage to write fairly about the person who perpetuated almost certainly the most suffering and misery in the 20th century, and Giblin accepts this mantle and bears it nobly. This "extraordinary villain who promised to restore his nation's honor and dignity" began life very much as an average person. His subsequent transformation into brilliant politician and then cruel war leader and finally humiliated vanquished tyrant is presented seamlessly and realistically. The first chapter establishes the ground rules for the rest of the book as it sets out to explore how such "deadly ventures" happened. As the book continues, the historical perspective is superb. For example, while Giblin portrays Hitler's persecution of certain groups as severe and reprehensible, he also mentions the fact that during this time many nations and institutions, including American universities, had specific anti-Semitic policies. The last chapter, entitled "Hitler Lives," shows how some people to this day are attempting to perpetuate the man's legacy and beliefs. This book maintains focus on the life of its subject-including his pets and love life-and does not, as many others do, stray into areas belonging to books specifically on the Holocaust or World War II. Good-quality photos, political cartoons, and reproductions augment the text. A biography in the truest sense, this is a terrifying must for all libraries.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Opening with an overview of dictators through history, Giblin (The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin, 2000, etc.), always a graceful, unemotional stylist, traces the life and actions of the leader of "the thousand year Reich" in a straightforward and lucid manner. His narrative explores three basic questions: "What sort of man could plan and carry out such horrendous schemes? How was he able to win support for his deadly ventures? And why did no one try to stop him until it was almost too late?" Citing Adolf's middle-class childhood, he looks beyond the standard labels of barbarian, savage, or mad man. (These qualities might provide excuse for his political acts: crimes against humanity, genocide, and a world destroyed.) Completing the history of the rise and fall of Germany, the Nazis, Hitler, and his cronies, Giblin follows with information about modern Nazi followers: skinheads, white power groups, Aryan nation members, and the like. The study cries out for much better maps; places like the Rhineland, Sudentenland, the Ruhr, to name a few, are mentioned in the text but not set in their geography-necessary in a time when young people seem to have little knowledge of the globe and its places and peoples. The rest of the illustrations are well chosen in this exemplary twin biography of a man and modern history. In a time when people, young and old, are unaware or have forgotten that people like Hitler, his nation of followers, and his high command existed, Giblin's carefully researched account is more important than ever. It is so readable that it should hold younger readers and educate older ones who may need their brains refilled with the facts of history. An essential purchase.
* “The most complete and successful biography of the Fuhrer available for this audience. It takes courage to write fairly about the person who perpetuated almost certainly the most suffering and misery in the 20th century, and Giblin accepts this mantle and bears it nobly.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Opening with an overview of dictators throughout history, Giblin, always a graceful, unemotional stylist, traces the life and actions of the leader of ‘the thousand year Reich’ in a straightforward and lucid manner. . . . In a time when people, young and old, are unaware or have forgotten that people like Hitler, his nation, his followers, and his high command existed, Giblin’s carefully researched account is more important than ever. It is so readable that it should hold younger readers and educate older ones who may need their brains refilled with this history. An essential purchase.” —Kirkus Reviews
* “This insightful historical overview describes the social, political and economic conditions that proved ripe for the dictator’s ascent.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
* “Hitler’s cold eyes stare out from the cover photograph of this excellent biography. . . .Giblin moves beyond political events and delves into the twisted realms of Hitler’s strangely contradictory personality.” —Booklist, starred review
“The author succeed[s] admirably in producing a book that explains Hitler to young people. Compact, readable, and well documented.” —Riverbank Review