Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Hitler's Niece: A Novel Hardcover – August 25, 1999

3.5 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

See all 13 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$2.95 $0.01
Audio CD, Unabridged
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin
"The Swans of Fifth Avenue" by Melanie Benjamin
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife comes an enthralling new novel about Truman Capote's scandalous, headline-making, and heart-wrenching friendship with Babe Paley and New York's society "swans" of the 1950s. Learn more | See related books

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Hitler's Niece offers the unforgettable spectacle of a tyrant in love: kneeling, shouting, groveling, sputtering with rage, posing naked for his lover with fists clenched and stomach sucked in--and that's leaving out the dog whip and jackboots. The unfortunate victim of these attentions is Angelika Raubal, daughter of Hitler's half-sister, and the only one in his circle who dares to stand up to him. "What a good game: Who's not frightened of Adolf Hitler?" Geli's friend Henny playfully asks. No one, as it turns out, but Geli--the one who should be most afraid.

Ron Hansen's tale begins with the most gemütlichkeit family gathering imaginable: a Sunday-afternoon party celebrating the infant Geli's baptism, with a pale, peevish, and hungry young Adolph as one of the guests. Geli's father Leo teases the would-be painter ("Rembrandt's only rival!"), the Monsignor needles him about his ancestry, and finally Hitler leaves in a huff. This is, truly, a new view of der führer--the 20th century's greatest villain as the embarrassing relative you don't want to talk to at reunions. By the time Geli has reached her teens, however, the tables have turned. Her father is dead, her mother is an impoverished widow, and Hitler has begun his meteoric rise to power. Geli herself is no intellectual, much less interested in politics, but she's a fun-loving, good-looking girl who captivates the Nazi inner circle even though she speaks her mind more often than she should. At first, her uncle seems like a savior, sending Geli off to university and showering gifts on his "Princess." As the infatuation deepens, however, Hitler's grip tightens, until what began with a family party ends 23 years later with a gunshot.

The basic outlines of this story are true--or at least rumored to be true--and although Geli's 1931 death was officially ruled a suicide, Hansen describes a quite plausible version of events. But the real enigma here is not who killed Geli Raubal; it is Hitler himself. How did he manage to seduce her? How did he manage to seduce an entire people? In a way, Ron Hansen's novels are all mysteries: solving the murder of a prodigal son, as in Atticus, or approaching the miracle of faith, as in Mariette in Ecstasy. He is preoccupied with the big questions, and in Hitler's Niece, that big question is none other than evil.

In this case, evil wears an ordinary human face. The novel's Hitler, much like the real one, is lazy, vain, jealous, and cowardly. In his relations with other people, "he shoots for love, but the arrow falls, and he only hits sentimentality," as his sister puts it. His looks are far from impressive; until Geli sees him speak in public, he seems "wary, officious, and ordinary, like a concierge in a hotel that had fallen on hard times." But what Hitler has is the most powerful seduction tool of all: the ability to inspire fear. By the time his niece has learned to fear rather than to pity him, it is too late--for her, and for the German people. In this heartbreaking portrait of aggression and complacency, Hansen has created a Hitler all the more frightening for how much he looks like us. --Mary Park

From Publishers Weekly

Writing about major historical figures is always a risk for a serious novelist; one must imagine thoughts and conversations for which no record exists, and integrate pertinent facts about peripheral people who figure in the story. For the first few chapters of Hansen's (Atticus) ambitious, provocative new novel, this problem seems likely to overwhelm his attempt to plumb the narrative's central question: what really happened to Hitler's 23-year-old niece, Geli Raubal, who was found dead, purportedly a suicide, in her room in Hitler's apartment, in 1931. Hansen has another task here as well: to convey how a mentally unstable, self-pitying failed painter became chancellor of Germany. He introduces the 19-year-old Hitler at the nadir of his fortunes in 1908, the year his niece Geli was born, traces the source of Hitler's monomaniacal mission to "save Germany" to a battlefield experience in WWI and portrays the effects of his spellbinding oratory and instinctive grasp of mass psychology on a shamed and economically devastated populace. Sometimes the sheer mass of information Hansen must provide results in a listless series of mini-bios of people who became Nazi stalwarts, in off-stage action scenes and in the past perfect tense: "the police had hesitated... had fired a salvo... Scheubner-Richter had been killed," a device that dangerously slows narrative momentum. But always the drama swings back to high-spirited, fun-loving, irreverent Geli, and Hitler's sexually deviant need to dominate her. Midway through the novel, the confluence of historical event and personal destiny becomes mesmerizing, as we perceive the torment of a sexually molested, psychologically manipulated woman, isolated and virtually imprisoned by a jealously possessive monster. The finale imagines Geli's death in a completely credible way, and leaves us with fresh insights into Hitler's twisted personality. The reader forgives the occasional longueurs in this textured picture of Hitler's histrionic personality and his insane mission for glory, presaging the genocide to come in the cold-blooded obliteration of one young woman's life. 8-city author tour; simultaneous audio. (Sept.) FYI: Ronald Hayman's Hitler and Geli will be released by Bloomsbury in August.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (August 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060194197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060194192
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,423,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This novel gets off to a somewhat heavyhanded start with too-obvious scenes of Hitler's youth, and the first half of the book seems a little slow, a little padded (Hansen says in the Author's Note that he originally thought of his material as a short story.) And Geli Raubal is a somewhat vague, her only really memorable characteristic being a slyly mocking sense of humor. But then Hansen begins to draw you into the depraved world of the upper Nazi echelon. And his Hitler is one of the most convincing fictional portraits of the fuhrer I have encountered. Hitler comes across as a horrifying case of arrested development, a dirty-minded little boy who never grew up, but with an adult's power to inflict terrible harm. By the time you get to the horrifying conclusion, Hansen has you hooked on his dark vision of historical evil (and of good, too; there are subtle but strong Catholic themes that run through the book.) This is very much worth your time, espescially if you are into history and historical novels.
Comment 40 of 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
By virtue of his already classic "Mariette in Ecstasy" and "Atticus", his two novels with Catholic themes, Ron Hansen must already be viewed as one of the great Catholic novelists writing in English. He's also one of the few, judging by a recent interview in Sojourners, who doesn't cringe at the description, bless him. Given my lifelong fascination with the history of the Nazi era, therefore, it was with a great deal of eagerness that I picked up his 1999 "Hitler's Niece : A Novel".

And I wasn't disappointed-shocked, horrified, fascinated, disgusted, yes, often all at the same time, but hardly disappointed.

Since not all the facts surrounding the short life and violent death of Hitler's niece, Angelica ("Geli") Raubel can be known with certainty, the book must be categorized, strictly speaking, as a novel. "Creative non-fiction" might be a little closer to the truth, however, since much is known, and more information has come to light recently pointing to the probable accuracy of Hansen's conclusion, which he shares with a growing number of historians: i.e., that Geli Raubel was not only sexually abused by her famous uncle, but ultimately murdered by him as well.

Unfortunately, the event occurred in 1930, three years before Hitler's rise to the Chancellorship of Germany, but well after this evil genius and perfectly sick individual had already gained enough power to get such potentially damaging incidents tidied up by a whole army of slavish underlings. Alas, there was no brilliant (or at least sufficiently courageous) detective on this case to risk the wrath of the SA and SS, and catch his man. Had there been, the world might have been spared an expensive object lesson in the price ultimately paid when an entire country hands the Devil a blank check.
Read more ›
Comment 29 of 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Hitler's Niece by Ron Hansen is an enthralling, convincing look at the feeble man who became the great monster. Although Mr. Hansen also paints a splendid portrait of the thoughtless, mesmerized minions who made up his cult, the primary eyes through which this portrayal is painted are those of Geli Raubal, the daughter of Adolf Hitler's half-sister, Angela. Hitler shows little interest in his niece as a child, but when she reaches her late teens, the charming, witty, attractive, young woman - an easy character for readers to love - becomes an object of obsession to him. As he and the Nazi Party gains significant momentum and his megalomania blooms, Hitler becomes Geli's financer, caretaker, companion, surrogate father and, if he has his way, sexual partner. Hitler takes meticulous, roundabout, disgusting measures to confuse and dominate the young girl. Geli, thankful to "Uncle Alf" for bringing her out of the Raubal's poverty, lives in fear and dread of her uncle and the power he holds over her, over everything he touches, while she wears a jovial public smile. The engaging, lushly told narration slowly and gracefully moves toward the type of nail-biting conclusion whose inevitability only causes it to be more absorbing and affecting. The tale, based on actual occurrences and obviously well researched, is a believable, fascinating speculation on the emotional emptiness that backgrounded Hitler's appalling evil.
Comment 19 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on February 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Ron Hansen keeps challenging himself and keeps succeeding in ahuge way. The historical novel sheds light on the madman, clearlyexplains and defines the Nazi rise to power, and tells the tragic story of the person who perhaps knew Hitler best, his neice. Moreover, he tells us what fate met nearly all the major Nazi players and his afterword is as enthralling as the novel, itself. Bravo, Mr. Hansen.
Comment 9 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book really worked for me on at least a couple of levels. First, the story, while told from Geli's point-of-view, is really about Hitlers rise to power. This point of view takes the vision of Hitler as a madman to a much deeper image of Hitler as a profoundly evil and dark creature. On the other hand, who cannot identify with the need to feel loved, or the desire to feel important in someone else's eyes. The author's use of point of view intensified for me how Hitler stifled his own humanity.
I've also wondered how someone like Hitler could have risen to power in the first place. In the process of developing the two primary characters, the author also gives a great description of the social fabric in Germany during the 20's and 30's which gave rise to Hitler. As a non-history buff I found this to be fascinating.
Comment 11 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews