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Heinrich Himmler Hardcover – January 13, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Review from previous edition: "Both as a biography of the man and an analysis of the role of the SS in Nazi Germany, Longerich's book is unlikely to be surpassed for a long time" --Neue Zurcher Zeitung

"Longerich manages to combine the story of Himmler's personal life and political career with the wider institutional context in a unique way, and in doing so provides a startling insight into the broader history of the Nazi dictatorship" --Der Neue Tag, 23.09.2010

"A comprehensive biography." --Macleans

About the Author

Peter Longerich is Professor of Modern German History at Royal Holloway University of London and founder of the College's Holocaust Research Centre. He has published widely on the history of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, including Holocaust: The Nazi Murder and Persecution of the Jews, also published by Oxford University Press, which is widely recognized as the standard account of the Nazi machinery of mass murder and the steps by which it unfolded.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1072 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (January 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199592322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199592326
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 2.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Peter Longerich is Professor of Modern German History at Royal Holloway University of London, and founder of Royal Holloway's Holocaust Research Centre. He has published extensively on Nazi Germany, including the acclaimed Holocaust: The Nazi Murder and the Persecution of the Jews, The Unwritten Order: Hitler's Role in the Final Solution, and The Systematic Character of the National Socialist Policy for the Extermination of the Jews.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Kim Burdick on February 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Nice middle class Catholic boy. Nerdy teen. Cheating husband. Loving father. Thoughtful boss. Manipulative, micromanaging monster. Truth is always stranger than fiction, and the story of Heinrich Himmler is no exception.

Peter Longerich is a superb scholar. The book is long but interesting. The writing is compelling and carefully footnoted. "Heinrich Himmler" could be used as a textbook in any number of graduate-level courses. A business course based on Himmler's management style would probably be well-attended. An ethics course based on Himmler's decisions would be equally well-attended. A psychology course based on Himmler's dispassionate path to social engineering, mass murder, and suicide would be fascinating.

New material to me was Himmler's antipathy towards the Catholic Church and his desire to revive Germany's ancient pagan religion; his almost voyeuristic scrutiny of the the family lives of his men; the government-sanctioned kidnapping and redistribution of ethnic German children; and the sheer scope of power Hitler granted to Himmler.

Longerich presents fact after fact in this carefully-footnoted 1,031 paged book, until the reader is almost numbed to the magnitude of Himmler's evil. One could gag on Himmler's never-ending emphasis on decency and courage.

Side note: The binding of this volume is of poor quality. A book of this size should be produced in a two volume set or designed with a larger font and sewn signatures. The smaller than usual type face is tiring to read and pages keep falling out of this newly-purchased book.

Good book. Worth reading.

Kim Burdick
Stanton, Delaware
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95 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Paul Gelman on December 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is a microscopic yet panoramic history of one of the most notorious men who has ever lived on this planet. As the author puts it:" The aim of this biography is to penetrate as far as possible the mystery of this man's personality and the motives underlying his deeds". To do so, Professor Longerich has reconstructed the development of his personality, its essential character traits and the typical behaviour patterns in its formative years,which extend into the start of Himmler's political career. From a small bodyguard he took over in 1929 he created in a very short time a paramilitary organization with elite pretensions sworn to preserve the top party leadership. He then got appointed by Hitler to the post of Chief of the German Police, which he intended to amalgamate with the SS to form a state proteection corps to provide comprehensive internal security. He became the chief of the SS organization which destroyed the lives of many millions of innocent people throughout Europe.
In contrast to many other historians who saw the Holocaust as being the central aim of Kimmler's policy (a thesis supported by Richard Breitman and other respectable historians), Longerich claims that this was far from being so. Before discussing this aspect, it is worth writing about the structure and content of this magnificent volume.
It comes in six main parts divided into many sub-chapters and the first third of it is an exploration into the psyche and deeds of Himmler, who was born in 1900 and became part of a generation which suffered from a complex caused by having been too young to take an active role in WW1. Physically weak and emotionally inhibited, Himmler suffered from an attachment disorder in his social life which made it difficult for him to build up strong and lasting friendships.
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43 of 52 people found the following review helpful By C. M Mills on December 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Heinrich Himmler (October 7, 1900-May 1945) was responsible for the murders of millions of Europeans during the Nazi regime
(1933-45) Himmler was born into a conservative upper middle class family. His father was an elementary school teacher. He and his brothers were raised in the Roman Catholic Church. Himmler was too young to serve in World War I. Himmler graduated with a degree in agriculture; worked briefly in farming and at a fertilizer factory; married an older woman (by whom he had one child Gudrun) and joined the nascent Nazi Party in the early 1920s.
Himmler was tutored by Gregor Strasser and worked for SA Chief Ernst Rohm. He would join in the conspiracy to murder Rohm and increase the power of the SS in the 1930s. Himmler was the chief of the SS, Gestapo and Kripo (criminal police). The cruel man was orderly, formally polite and loved to interfere in the personal lives of his men. Himmler hated Jews,Communists, the Christian Church, homosexuals, political dissidents, Freemasons and Slavic people. The Reichfuhrer was interested in the occult and Nordic mythology. He was an odd chinless man who impregnated his secretary. She gave birth to two children. He and his henchmen were in charge of the extermination of Europe's Jewry sending millions to their deaths via firing squad, gas vans and gassing in the many extermination centers set up by Himmler in occupied Europe. He committed suicide when taken into British Army custody in May 1945.
Dr. Peter Longerich wrote this vast biography in the German language. Longerich is an expert on the holocaust against the Jews and teaches in London. The book shows how the pedantic Himmler grew his power base enabling him and the SS to launch
a reign of terror against their many enemies.
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