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Killing Hitler [Kindle Edition]

Roger Moorhouse
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

For the first time in one enthralling book, here is the incredible true story of the numerous attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler and change the course of history.

Disraeli once declared that “assassination never changed anything,” and yet the idea that World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust might have been averted with a single bullet or bomb has remained a tantalizing one for half a century. What historian Roger Moorhouse reveals in Killing Hitler is just how close–and how often–history came to taking a radically different path between Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and his ignominious suicide.

Few leaders, in any century, can have been the target of so many assassination attempts, with such momentous consequences in the balance. Hitler’s almost fifty would-be assassins ranged from simple craftsmen to high-ranking soldiers, from the apolitical to the ideologically obsessed, from Polish Resistance fighters to patriotic Wehrmacht officers, and from enemy agents to his closest associates. And yet, up to now, their exploits have remained virtually unknown, buried in dusty official archives and obscure memoirs. This, then, for the first time in a single volume, is their story.

A story of courage and ingenuity and, ultimately, failure, ranging from spectacular train derailments to the world’s first known suicide bomber, explaining along the way why the British at one time declared that assassinating Hitler would be “unsporting,” and why the ruthless murderer Joseph Stalin was unwilling to order his death.

It is also the remarkable, terrible story of the survival of a tyrant against all the odds, an evil dictator whose repeated escapes from almost certain death convinced him that he was literally invincible–a conviction that had appalling consequences for millions.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although Hitler took his own life, there was no shortage of people who wanted, and attempted, to do it for him throughout his political career. Drawing on newly opened archives in Germany and elsewhere, British historian Moorhouse (Microcosm: Portrait of a Central European City) casts a wide net, chronicling failed assassination attempts by disaffected individuals in the early days of Hitler's reign, such as radical university student Maurice Bavaud, whose three easily thwarted tries in November 1938 got him guillotined; the efforts of a British group of James Bond–like spies armed with, among other things, "exploding rats"; and the well-known attempts of German officers, such as Hitler's architect Albert Speer. Moorhouse also brings to light little-known would-be-assassins, such as members of the Polish underground. Most of the assassination attempts Moorhouse describes failed because of poor planning; others fell victim to circumstance, while some may simply have been rumors, making for a compelling web of research, intrigue and conspiracy theory. Accessible prose, suspenseful narration and ample historical context make this a page-turner for WWII buffs as well as anyone with a passion for the underbelly of political power in one of the last century's darkest regimes. (Mar. 28)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Few leaders have been the targets of so many assassinations attempts; German historians have identified 42 plots on Hitler's life. Twenty of the would-be assassins are chronicled here. They range from simple craftsmen to high-ranking soldiers, from the apolitical to the ideologically obsessed, and from enemy agents to his closest associates. Moorhouse writes that, for the most part, they are unknown. One was Maurice Bavaud, who never got close enough to Hitler to shoot him. Bavaud was guillotined in 1941. Georg Elser began to plot Hitler's murder in 1938. In 1939, Elser triggered a bomb that killed eight people and injured 62 others, but Hitler had already left the building. Moorehouse describes the would-be killers' plans, motives, and--inevitably--their failures. The book also tells the story of Hitler's survival. Moorehouse's documentation and analysis of this comprehensive history will keep readers interested to the end. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 2676 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0553803697
  • Publisher: Bantam (March 28, 2006)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,522 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Approach to a Sensitive Subject March 27, 2006
In Killing Hitler, author Roger Moorhouse does more than outline the several assassinations attempted during the dictator's career. He fills each chapter with detailed historical accounts from the period surrounding the attempts, focusing not on names and dates but on the stories of the individuals involved. He studies how each event unfurls, the motivations behind the would-be assassins, and their place amid the greater events of the rise and fall of the Hitler. The wealth of resources, the masterful prose, and a sensitivity not only to the historical context but to the individuals themselves makes this one of the finest accounts I've had the pleasure to read.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Might Have Been July 24, 2006
Adolf Hitler was a lucky guy. There were as many as forty-two documented assassination attempts on him (possibly far many more unknown ones), and in the end, he wound up doing the job himself, only under duress. Some of these attempts were poorly thought out while many were intricately plotted. Attempts in both categories were abandoned or executed, with the result turning out to be the same. They are reviewed in _Killing Hitler: The Plots, the Assassins, and the Dictator Who Cheated Death_ (Bantam) by historian Roger Moorhouse. The accounts make for exciting reading, even if it is obvious that each attempt will eventually fail. The chapters are divided into categories by the source of the attempt, such as the German military, German military intelligence, Poland, Russia, and Britain, and in each case, Moorhouse has provided substantial background history so that his book is far more than just a tally of assassination failures but a review of historical forces at play in each one.

In November 1939, Georg Elser placed an intricate clockwork bomb in a Munich beer cellar. The bomb went off at the exact right time, and the interior of the hall was completely destroyed as planned. Hitler, however, had unexpectedly cut his harangue short and had left fifteen minutes before. Elser was caught at the Swiss border. Interrogated under pressure, he finally explained what he had done, but no interrogation could make him rat out his accomplices because he had none. The interrogators could not believe this, and the German propaganda machine simply named some, blaming British agents and thus using the assassination attempt to increase popular wrath against the British. The famous attempt by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is examined here, of course, as well as other plans.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and fun August 14, 2006
In this innovative book th story of those who failed to kill Hitler are brought to life. Most of us are familiar with the famous 1944 bombing of a staf meeting in which Hitler had been present and only narrowly escaped death. This book however iluminates the shear volume of attempts of Hitler's life. Most fascinating it is revealed the many sources of resistance to Hitler not hitherto well known. For instance there is the Catholic assasin who desires to kill Hitler due to the suppression of the church, quite the opposite of what we have read in other places, and there are the assasins led by the British, Polish and Russians.

Of the greatest interest are the assasins who emerged from the regime itself. The book illuminates the role of Albert Speer but more so the gigantic resistance movement within the Abwher and Werhmacht are revealed, perhaps for the first time in one place. Here we see the deeds of the early anti-Nazis such as Canaris and those among the old Prussian aristocracy, a literal catalouge of 'Vons' who turned against Nazism due to the evils of the campaign in Russia. Here, for the first time, we are given insight into the moral character of old conservative Germany and its last gasp to prevent disaster in 1944. In the end thousands paid with their lives for attempting the life of Hitler, but those thousands, the cream of the old German army, dared to try and stop the greatest mass murder in history.

Seth J. Frantzman
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative Narration June 19, 2006
In a well-researched, well-narrated account, Moorhouse describes hitherto less well-known stories that involved would-be assasins of Hitler. Each of the attempts is discussed with a broad historical context, sometimes in a very unique way; the personal life and motivation of the would-be assasin, the plot itself and how and why it failed. While the narration is lucid, the material itself (not suprisingly) is dense and is clearly not bedtime reading. The broad set of "characters" one needs to grasp is sometimes intimidating if you are not very familiar with the WW accounts. The author also provides a very detailed list of citations for the more serious reader. Overall, a very well-researched, well-organized, informative book. A must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable from the first to the last page July 4, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Based on recently opened archives, British historian Moorhouse told us a story about all the numerous attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

These includes attempts by individuals in the early days of Hitler's reign, such as Swiss student Maurice Bavaud, whose try got him beheaded; the efforts of a British spies group armed with unusual weapons ("exploding rats") and the well-known attempt of patriotic Wehrmacht officers, including von Stauffenberg, which succeeded in injuring Hitler, although not terminally. This book is an excellent historical display of the most serious of the 42 known attempts.

Moorhouse also introduces little-known would-be-assassins, such as Polish underground. Most of the assassination attempts Moorhouse describes failed because of poor planning, some were victim to circumstance, but also some could be treated as rumors.

Easy to read, suspenseful in narration and put into historical context make this book a must-read for World War 2 genre enthusiasts but also for people who want to learn some little known details about Nazi regime.

Idea that World War 2 and all of its horrors could be avoided with a successful assassination, single bullet or bomb has remained a mystery for last 60 years. What is revealed in this book just how close-and how often-history came to taking a radically different path between Adolf Hitler's rise to power and his downfall.

It is also remarkable story of Hitler's repeated escapes from almost certain death convinced him that he was literally invincible and indestructible which caused terrific consequences for millions on people.

Author made great work in providing lot of details, book's seven chapters presented in historical order world in which the potential killers live is described.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars How great is the tragedy that none of these plots worked!
Each chapter of this book is devoted to an individual or groups of individuals who plotted, and sometimes came quite close, to killing Hitler. Read more
Published 13 days ago by R Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great copy. Awesome delivery time
Great copy. Awesome delivery time. Just as described!
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars recommended
I wrote a history paper based on this book. The author has a documentary on history channel. It is a very interesting book about the attempts on Hitler's life.
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book
I learned so much from this book about how even in the highest ranks of hitlers army people were against him but hair too scared to take action. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Lawrence Polsky
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, probably the definitive work ...
on the subject of all plots against Hitler.

The book was well written, easy to understand and the stories told were laid out in logical order. Read more
Published on May 26, 2012 by TAP
4.0 out of 5 stars comprehensive and well-written
Books about Hitler are kind of like literary popcorn - some are good, some are not so good, and they can usually be devoured quickly yet never quite sate the appetite. Read more
Published on January 17, 2012 by Music Critic
4.0 out of 5 stars Not much new here
If you have read about the attempts on Hitlers life you would find nothing new in this book. One interesting fact reported herein was that Georg Elsner, who attempted to blow up... Read more
Published on July 24, 2010 by Jack
4.0 out of 5 stars Very brave men
This is an amazing book about some of the serious attempts to
assasinate Hitler. In all there were at least 24 such attempts. Read more
Published on February 8, 2010 by Robert Kaufman
4.0 out of 5 stars Depth of subject not rivaled in any other source
Roger Moorhouse's "Killing Hitler: The Plots, The Assassins, and the Dictator Who Cheated Death" is a solid piece of historical research and told with literary flair. Read more
Published on November 22, 2009 by Mannie Liscum
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book-Very Interesting Read!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. For those interested in WWII and the plots to assassinate Hitler its a must. That's right, I said plots with an "s". Read more
Published on February 12, 2009 by J. Hatfield
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