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Eva Braun: Life with Hitler Paperback – December 11, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (December 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307742605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307742605
  • ASIN: 0307742601
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Easily the best biography of Eva Braun so far written.”
The Daily Beast 

“Hitler could not have wished for a better girlfriend. . . . A highly readable and consistent portrait of an ordinary woman who was, without a doubt, utterly devoted to the man history has seen as ‘evil incarnate.’”
The New York Times 

“Heike B. Görtemaker seeks answers from a close reading of memoirs and postwar interrogations of Germans who knew them, ranging from senior Nazi figures to Hitler’s military adjutants and secretaries. The result, Eva Braun: Life With Hitler, is less gossip than a serious study of personal relationships and power at Nazi Germany’s pinnacle. . . . The book deserves a broad readership, taking us as it does behind the scenes of history’s most criminal regime.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Ms. Görtemaker finally gives Braun her place in the dark history of the Third Reich.”
Wall Street Journal
“[A] careful reading of Görtemaker’s riveting account of the characters surrounding Hitler reveals that he spent more time with Eva Braun—especially after 1935—than he did with even the highest ranking Nazis, such as Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler. Braun may not have influenced Nazi policies, but thanks to Görtemaker’s groundbreaking work, it is now clear how Braun catered to Hitler, fostering his reliance on cronies and lackeys and reinforcing his tendency to shut himself off from the awful reality of what was happening to Germany and to the world.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Employing a detective’s skill and a journalist’s flair . . . Görtemaker reconstructs the life of Eva Braun from the petty bourgeois household of her schoolteacher father to the inner circle of the Nazi overlord.”
Chicago Sun-Times
“Solidly researched, sophisticated, and well-written biography.”
Library Journal
“Although it is difficult, if not impossible, to whip up any sympathy for or to empathize with one of history’s most notorious mistresses, Görtemaker does provide a more nuanced view of this marginalized woman by examining the pivotal role she played in Hitler’s life and within his inner circle . . . This breakout biography is a solid contribution to the ever-increasing body of Third Reich literature and scholarship.”
“A perceptive account of a woman loyal and complaisant to the end.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“An utterly compelling portrayal of the weird hidden life of the dictator . . . An instructively intimate peek at a man who, like some black star, destroyed all those he touched. Eva was only one of millions of his victims—but a willing one.”
The Telegraph (UK)
“A comprehensive biography . . . Görtemaker turns on their heads the preconceptions about Hitler and Eva.”
Daily Mail (UK)

“The first scientifically researched biography to correct the image of the dumb blonde at the side of the mass murderer.”
Der Spiegel (Germany)
“This meticulously-researched and documented biography is far more than the story of Eva Braun . . . Görtemaker has sifted through photographs, diaries, letters, interviews, and previous research to provide a wider perspective on not only Eva, but also many others in Hitler’s circle . . . Fascinating reading.”
Historical Novels Review
“Braun emerges as bright but vapid, energetic but soulless. As thorough and clear a look of a monster’s lover as we are likely to get.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Having painstakingly reviewed the archives for references to Eva Braun’s relationship with Hitler, Görtemaker presents a portrait of an engaged and engaging young woman, fervently supportive of National Socialism and one of the few members of Hitler’s inner circle to never lose his trust or fall out of affection. . . . This telling sheds more light on the central question of the narrative of Eva Braun: ‘Did she share the political positions and basic worldview of her lover or was she merely a tragic slave who nonetheless profited from Hitler’s power?’”
Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Heike B. Gortemaker studied History, Economics, and Literature. She now works as a historian in Berlin.

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Customer Reviews

I would actually give this book a 2.5 star rating, if such were possible.
Geoffrey Walden
The problem with writing a biography about a person like Eva Braun is that very little information can be verified, few sources exist and fewer can be relied on.
Jennifer Cameron-Smith
This is an excellent, and very detailed biography of Braun, and also a very interesting look at Hitler, and his inner circle.
Kate Runyan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey Walden on December 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would actually give this book a 2.5 star rating, if such were possible. This book should have been written 25 years ago, when several of the major eyewitnesses to Eva Braun's life with Hitler were still alive. Now there are only a handful of minor witnesses left, who were on the sidelines and not part of Hitler's and Braun's inner circle. Due to the paucity of written records (because Eva Braun was not, after all, very important in the scheme of things), there is very little information left to allow much of a look at her life with Hitler, beyond her photo albums and films, and what eyewitnesses could provide. Even so, there is no evidence in the book that the author attempted to interview any of the living eyewitnesses (or even used the photo albums at first-hand). The author cites Nerin Gun's 1968 biography of EB several times, noting its anecdotal evidence and lack of documentation, but Gun at least had the advantage of having interviewed the Braun family members and several of the primary eyewitnesses.

Reviews of this book have called it "groundbreaking" and "a comprehensive biography," but it is neither, really. The author tries to reconstruct details of EB's life with Hitler, including her attitudes toward Hitler's political actions and anti-Semitism, but the author is forced to mention the "paucity of sources" (p. 65) and to admit that it is "difficult to reconstruct their relationship" (p. 87). Despite all the author's efforts to make EB and the wives of the Nazi leadership co-conspirators in the Holocaust (see esp. pp. 64-65), there simply is not any convincing period evidence to support this. This misguided attempt at constructing the past, and the lack of eyewitness interviews, are the book's main failings.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When Hitler committed suicide on 30 April 1945, the propaganda machine he had set up was still cranking out lies, and so Germans were informed that he had died fighting for them to the end. The statement said nothing of the death of the woman he had made his wife just hours before, Eva Braun. She had been essentially invisible during the fifteen years they were together, known only to the household intimates of the Führer, and she died in the same obscurity despite her attachment to the dictator. She had a fragmentary diary, but otherwise, historians have to sort though the memoirs and testimonies of those personally close to Hitler to learn about Braun's life. So many such documents were self-serving attempts to portray the authors as distant from Hitler and his activities that Braun has remained a mystery. Not all the mysteries that surround her have been cleared up in her latest biography _Eva Braun: Life with Hitler_ (Knopf) by the German historian Heike B. Görtemaker (translated by Damion Searls). Görtemaker has her work cut out for her, with fragmentary, distorted documentation that has wide gaps during which Braun's locale cannot even be placed. However, the author is frank about such lapses, and she provides commentary on the memoirs such as the famous one by Albert Speer to enable readers to sift through evidence. This volume may be as complete a picture of Braun's life as we will ever get.

Braun, from lower-middle-class parents, was a shopgirl in a photography studio when Hitler met her in 1929. Hitler, then forty, was clearly interested in Braun, then seventeen. He visited the studio frequently thereafter, bearing presents for the shopgirl. It seems, except for the age difference, a fairly normal meeting and courtship.
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Format: Hardcover
Eva Anna Paula Braun was born on the 6th of February 1912, married Adolf Hitler on the night of April 28th 1945, and died on the 30th of April 1945. Eva Braun was the second of three daughters of Fritz Braun, a Munich school teacher and Franziska, a former seamstress, and met Hitler in the autumn of 1929. Hitler was apparently so taken with her that he immediately had her investigated to make sure that she had no Jewish ancestry.

But what was her role in his life? What influence did she have over him? How much did she know about the Holocaust? She never joined the Nazi Party, but we probably can't draw too many conclusions from that as apparently Hitler wouldn't allow his sister to join the party either.

Ms Görtemaker's book suggests that Braun was more important than has previously been considered. She was largely kept hidden from the German public in order to maintain the illusion that the Führer was married to his people. Twice, apparently, her relationship with Hitler drove her to attempt suicide. There are occasional glimpses of a woman who loved dogs, expensive clothes, photography and skiing. And at the end, instead of staying in Munich, she chose to return to Berlin where, 36 hours after marrying, she and Hitler committed suicide.

`I want to be a beautiful corpse. I will take poison.'

The problem with writing a biography about a person like Eva Braun is that very little information can be verified, few sources exist and fewer can be relied on. We have some photographs, but little context although Eva Braun sought to have her private letters saved for posterity.
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