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Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich Hardcover – August 15, 1958

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Hardcover, August 15, 1958

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is a repellent book, and not only because of its subject. Irving (Goering) has been increasingly under fire for exploiting seemingly indefatigable research to distort history. In the book in hand, he uses enough pejoratives to sustain the illusion of objectivity regarding Hitler's propaganda chief, yet suggests that the admittedly bad man had a cause not entirely bad in itself. Nazi brutality is almost always retaliation for the plots of international Jewry and the criminality of domestic Jews. Even the books notoriously burned are "decadent and anti-German." The term Redakteur (editor) "to Goebbels' sensitive ear had a Jewish ring." Protesters in Saarbrucken are "a clamoring ragbag of communists, Jews, freemasons and disgruntled emigres." There is always, in Irving's own words, a "Jewish problem" that Goebbels struggles to solve. Much of the book, heavily indebted to the self-serving Goebbels diaries, is in such a vein. There seems always to be an agenda to Irving's documentation, and the language of camouflaged admiration suffuses his pages amidst his ritual scolding of the Nazis for their excesses. The real insidiousness of the biography is that its formidable documentation will gain it acceptance as history. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This latest work by Irving (Goring: A Biography, LJ 3/1/89) depends heavily on Goebbels's diaries and related papers. Unfortunately, the diaries are boring. Goebbels devoted much of his journal to describing his emotions (banal), love life (promiscuous), and marriage (dysfunctional). At its best, this aspect of the book is keyhole history. Far more troubling is Irving's general approach to the history of the Third Reich. He takes pains to insist periodically upon his distaste for Goebbels's Nazi extremism, but to describe Hitler as "less radical on the Jewish question" in 1942 than was Goebbels is to deny reality. Paradigmatic as well is Irving's insistence that Goebbels's vicious attacks on Jews in the 1930s were in response to the "hysteria" generated by the foreign press, the Comintern, and such dangerous "Jewish" organizations as the World League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism. In contrast, Irving offers no new evidence establishing Goebbels as the Reich's "mastermind." He neglects such important subjects as the sources of Goebbels's anti-Semitism, his development of the theories and techniques of mass propaganda, and his role as wartime Gauleiter of Berlin. Ralf Reuth's Goebbels (Harcourt, 1993) offers readers a more balanced approach. [For a discussion of the controversy surrounding the publication of this book, see "To Buy or Not To Buy?" p. 70.]?Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Spring.
-?Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First edition (August 15, 1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312142110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312142117
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,509,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 157 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was a military history major at an Ivy League school. Having said that, please understand that I have read enormous tracts of WWII history. David Irving's book on Goebbels is nothing short of perfect in terms of research, prose and refreshing analysis. Far from appearing like a right wing fanatic, Mr. Irving simply stands out as an exceptionally gifted historian trying to sift for the truth; something all true intellectuals strive to do. Any attitudes that he is a Nazi sympathizer can only stem from people who are afraid of the truth because I could discern no support either for Goebbels or the Nazis. Bravo, I wish more people in this world would try to reconstruct what happened rather than strain to protect distortions that serve either their own purposes or insecurities.
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68 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on July 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...Most of us can't understand what really goes through the minds of our own politicians and military leaders, much less understand the political landscape of other countries. It is so easy to be simplistic and form dogmatic opinions about that which we really know nothing about. Irving tries to give us a foundation of understanding of the political climate in Germany which culminated with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Goebbels' propaganda skills played a huge part in this, glorifying his own party and demolishing the opposition in the minds of the people. The Big Lie is no Goebbels invention, he just made effective use of it. His role in Hitler's rise is not much different than James Carville's role in Clinton's election or Lee Atwater's role in Bush's election. Political consultants the world over pay unspoken homage to the techniques of Joseph Goebbels. Irving's writing is sometimes tedious, I think he dwelt too much on Goebbels' youth, but perhaps he considered the background germane to the development of the reader's understanding of Goebbels' character. And he does ... tend to skip around. Despite the image some people have of Weimar Germany, it was not the democracy we are led to believe it was. Witness Goebbels' constant battles with the arrogant and self-important Police President in Berlin. Serious political opposition from the right or the left to the established order was brutally suppressed by "Isidor" Weiss. Many of us cannot imagine being jailed for heaping ridicule on a politician, but Goebbels was many times. Given such examples, it is little wonder the Nazis felt they had to be even more ruthless than their opponents once they gained power. Goebbels was subjected to merciless taunting at home and abroad for his club foot.Read more ›
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael on November 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is a monumental biography of the man who was, arguably, the Nazi leadership's most fascinating personality, with the possible exception of Hitler himself. Cultured and university educated, Goebbels belied the Nazi stereotype while using his genius to influence the shape and course of the Third Reich in many areas which are usually attributed to Hitler. A man whose stock in trade were words and ideas, Goebbels also proved himself a master of logistical organization, as he fought against a complacent and corrupt German leadership to squeeze every last drop of men and materiel from a wasteful and redundant economy for a total war of resistance against the Allies. And finally, a man who had so often been personally and ideologically out of favor with his Fuhrer, finally proved himself a loyal, true believer by staying with Hitler to the very end and beyond.

Based almost wholly on the missing diaries of Goebbels, which Irving himself discovered in the Moscow archives, this copiously footnoted masterwork unveils Goebbels' most intimate thoughts from his university days to the end of the Third Reich. There are many interesting revelations: Goebbels' half-Jewish girlfriend, his sole responsibility for Kristallnacht, the surprisingly ineffective and indecisive leadership of Hitler, especially on the Jewish question, the dizzying scale of Goebbels' womanizing, his wife's own sordid romantic escapades, their resultant poisoned marriage, as well as many other details of the Reichsminister's public and private lives.

What fascinated me the most though were the passages exposing Goebbels as a flesh and blood man, of deep emotions, artistic ambition and romantic inclination.
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52 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
There are those who would like to limit the written history of individuals like Hitler and Goebbels as a conclusory "EVIL," and try to suppress anything that would portray them in shades of grey, with good points and bad points, which of course all human beings have. This mindset, I believe, was what led to the well-known efforts to suppress publication of this book. It's too bad, because this is a work for which the author should receive acclaim, not slander. In the end, isn't is wiser to let all the information and opinions flow- or how are we to really understand what circumstances could lead the "next Hitler" or "next Nazi Germany" to arise?
David Irving's brilliant research and writing style put the reader into Goebbels' shoes and allows a real understanding (and not necessarily a sympathetic one)of what motivated this man and how he became what he did (My conclusion- cold, corrupt, narcissistic, hypocritical, and casually murderous). For those who are truly interested in preventing another human tragedy of the magnitude of what went on in the 1940's, I suggest that you open your minds and read this book. It is a classic and you won't regret it.
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