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Spandau: The Secret Diaries Paperback – February 17, 2010

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Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Albert Speer (March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981) was a German architect who was, for part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office. As "the Nazi who said sorry", he accepted responsibility at the Nuremberg trials and in his memoirs for crimes of the Nazi regime. His level of involvement in the persecution of the Jews and his level of knowledge of the Holocaust remain matters of dispute. As Hitler's Minister of Armaments and War Production, Speer was so successful that Germany's war production continued to increase despite massive and devastating Allied bombing. After the war, he was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the Nazi regime, principally for the use of forced labour. He served his full sentence, most of it at Spandau Prison in West Berlin. Following his release from Spandau in 1966, Speer published two bestselling autobiographical works, Inside the Third Reich and Spandau: The Secret Diaries, detailing his often close personal relationship with Hitler, and providing readers and historians with a unique perspective within the workings of the Nazi regime. He later wrote a third book, Infiltration, about the SS. Speer died of natural causes in 1981 while on a visit to London.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 566 pages
  • Publisher: Ishi Press (February 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4871878791
  • ISBN-13: 978-4871878791
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,118,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
Albert Speer was for some strange reason a very extraordinary character.
First of all he was the Third Reich's Architect, and one of Hitler's closest friends and during the last years of WWII he was also Minister for arms and munitions. At the "Nuremberg Judgement" he was sentenced to 20 years in Prison.
In his "Secret Diaries", Speer tries to make clear, how a well educated intellectual like him could have been caught by such a totalitarian system and got mesmerized by it. His entries are primarily his way of coming to terms with his past.
Describing several key elements from his time in office, Speer tries to find out how much his character has been influenced and far he has been manipulated.
Speer gets sentimental from time to time, but he tries to remain objective and level-headed and never falls into self-pity or lachrymose and most important, Speer sees and accepts himself as the war criminal he was.
From a historical point of view, Speer's portraying of his fellow prisoners (Hess, Doenitz, Neurath, Raeder and von Schirach) are those of great significance and fascinating to read, and his portaying of Adolf Hitler is surely one of the most precise and immediate analyse of the dictator's nature.
Of course I'm not sure how much these diaries were subsequently altered and/or changed, and it's possible that they were ! One must always keep that in mind ! But in terms of history these diaries are very valuable and of great importance.
The notable German writer Carl Zuckmayer once said about Speer's diaries: "A great book in some respects: In the human attitude of the convict, in the firmness of his discipline and in the unusual way of his expression which is both thoughtful and sincere."
"The Secret Diaries" is a controversial but utterly important book and a must read for everyone who is interested in history, and in addition to that, Speer's book is also a gripping study in existentialism.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Louise on November 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book which gives a brilliant account of the day to day life of the Nuremburg men at Spandau. While Albert Speer's thoughts on the 'Third Reich' are interesting, I much prefer his diary entries which incidentally cover his time spent at Nuremburg too. Some entries are only one or two lines long but they make a very sensitive and moving account of himself. I loved reading about the various dreams he had in Spandau (some of which were very vivid) the attitude to him of the other prisoners are interesting too. Referrences to Rudolf Hess make fascinating reading but for a full picture of Hess I suggest that reliable back up information of a sympathetic nature be read as well such as the book by one time Spandau Director Colonel Eugene Bird (The Lonliest Man In The World) now sadly out of print but worth seeking second hand through the internet. Albert Speer could not have known that Rudolf Hess was genuinely ill with an undetected stomach ulcer when he wrote how Hess complained so much of being in pain. The reality of Hess's very real illness was only discovered after Speer had been released from Spandau. The book also highlights the sometimes harsh treatment meted out to Rudolf Hess. The diary entries show a sensitive and intelligent man who wondered how he was going to get through his 20 year sentence. It is an extremely human and moving account and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the Third Reich and in particular anyone who is seeking to know what the men at Spandau were really like and who are willing to put any pre-conceived prejudices they may have or have heard about Nazi's aside.
A brilliant read!
Louise Brown
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Alfred Speer account of his 20 years detention in the jail of Spandau is surprisingly captivating. One of the reason for that is that not only Speer shows himself to be a talented writer but the interaction between all the ex-nazi leaders detained in Spandau is fascinating. What struck me however as the most interesting part of this great book is how perfectly it demonstrate the damage that long term detention can do to the human mind. All the prisonners remaining after the first few years demonstrate various signs of mental deterioration, which Speer as managed to describe with surprising accuracy (Speer himself start showing these signs as the story unfold). Granted, some of these men were already psychically destroyed at the time of their incarceration but still the effect of time cannot be ignored... Other highlights of the book include a close look at the enigmatic Rudolf Hess as seen through the eye of Speer ( Funny at time, ... often, surprisingly lucid on occasion, the man is still as incomprehensible to me as ever...). We also get to see a darker side of the admiral Doenitz, the man Hitler had named to be his successor (but Speer might not be totally impartial on the question...). All these themes an much more are told in a masterfull way by Speer who recorded the events as they unfolded on anykind of papers he could get his hand on in the jail, he then managed to sneak his writings out to his family through some friendly guards...
Ok enough compliments, now the little warning: Speer however repentent he might have been and however talented he was, was sentenced to 20 years at Nuremberg for a good reason (one could argue he was actually lucky not to get the death sentence others got for less then he did).
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