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The Hidden Hitler Hardcover – October 9, 2001

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The first of Machtan's works to be translated into English, this is certain to be controversial. A professor of modern and current history at the University of Bremen, Germany, and the author of several scholarly books on 19th-century Germany, Machtan here presents a documented study of Hitler's homosexuality and its impact upon his life and career. Machtan asserts that Hitler's homosexuality was known to some of his associates by the beginning of World War I and later in Vienna. As he became prominent, some of his associates in homoerotic circles of the Nazi movement attempted to blackmail him. These homoerotic undercurrents and Hitler's response to blackmail provide a hitherto neglected perspective on the questions surrounding the origins and development of Nazism. Although documenting homosexuality is a difficult task for historians of periods in which gays were oppressed and repressed, Machtan is able to provide evidence for his assertions as well as a nuanced and readable study of Hitler's sexuality. Libraries that own Joachim Fest's seminal Hitler (LJ 7/74) and Ian Kershaw's Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris (LJ 1/99) and Hitler, 1936-1945: Nemesis (LJ 11/1/00), as well as a selection of the works of George Mosse on Nazi culture, should acquire this work. Barbara Walden, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

This professor of modern history at Bremen University in Germany argues, with persuasive power, that to fully understand the Third Reich, one must realize that Hitler was homosexual and understand the homoerotic nature of the Nazi movement. No question--this book will be heavily requested and stir much debate. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (October 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465043089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465043088
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 66 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
With the literally thousands of books and articles about Hitler that have appeared over the last half century, it is nothing short of remarkable that no one has ever thought to examine the wealth of documentary evidence suggesting that Hitler was homosexual, or to analyze the impact his sexuality may have had on some of his actions. Machtan's well-researched book should open a whole arena in the Hitler studies.
Obviously this book has upset many. It's thesis seems particularly offensive to many gay people, afraid that the revelation of Hitler's possible homosexuality will lead to a simple equation that Hitler was evil because he was gay.
But Machtan is careful not only to avoid such simplistic reductionism, but to point out instead the immense damage Hitler did to gay people in Germany in his apparent attempts to cover up his history of homosexuality and destroy those who knew about it. As a result, Machtan throws a whole new light on the homophobia of the Nazis, the destruction of the SA, the persecution of Magnus Hirschfeld and the roundup of gay Germans.
This book is a bit dry at times, and loaded with footnotes. But that's no vice in a work of such a potentially sensational nature. Machten avoids prurient sensationalism and outrageous or unsubstantiated claims, preferring to quietly focus on the conclusions that can be culled from the admittedly murky sources.
All told, a major contribution, well researched and thoughtfully rendered.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This thorough and well-researched book makes a rather strong case that Hitler was homosexual. The nitpickers will have their gripes, but the evidence--albeit mostly circumstantial--is quite convincing. A great deal makes sense when you connect the dots, as Machtan does. Sex is a very powerful human drive. It is so powerful that, at least with regard to the famous, it simply can't be concealed. We have no doubts about Stalin's heterosexuality or Clinton's or Churchill's--or any leader's, in fact. Hitler produced no children, was no womanizer, and showed apparently no genuine sexual interest in women. We would know if he had. Machtan discusses Hitler's purely platonic relationship with Eva Braun. She and Hitler's niece both made suicide attempts (one of which succeeded) because of Hitler's controlling behavior, which at the same time included a severe lack of attention. Quite a bit now makes sense, including the Rohm purge, which was not just an attempt to wipe out people who knew of Hitler's homosexuality but to intimidate others who might consider blackmailing him. The people Hitler associated with, where he lived and slept, where he went, what he did and did not do--all this put together makes the case quite clear. Quarreling with a few points doesn't upset the big picture. That Hitler was gay is an astonishing revelation when you consider it. In one more respect Hitler was a living lie. That he was gay adds one more layer of irony to the man and the era.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By zach craft on May 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
this book was excellently written, MacHtan really did an excellent job of compiling all the information in this book, its almost as if good ol' Adolph him self is recounting his experiences him self. there are alot of bits and pieces of many many other books and accounts of others that were very close to him. so many stories and experiences are recalled in the book by his generals, close friends and lovers. what i found very interesting was the fact that he was a homosexual, i never before had heard that fact, before i read this book. i would reccomend this book to anyone interested in learning some dirt or some nasty secrets on him that were not intended to ever be read again.
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76 of 113 people found the following review helpful By on November 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It can take years for valuable works of foreign scholarship to be translated into English. All the more irritating that the one book Basic Books should translate almost contemporaneously should be this lemon. Lothar Machtan has done some useful research into the peripheral world of Nazi intrigue and blackmail. And the thesis that Hitler was gay is not completely implausible. But otherwise, this is a remarkably tendentious book.
Some of the most impressive work in gay studies has been to examine the socialcultural millieu of the homosexual lifestyle. But from this book scholars like George Chauncey or Randolph Strumbach have clearly been wasting their time. For Machtan's portrait of early German homosexuality relies on the dated and partial work of Magnus Hirschfeld. Clearly not a subsitute for a thorough analysis, Machtan breathlessly cites Hirschfeld to state that homosexuals could be found in hostels (all of them?), the army (during mass conscription?), prison (under the fearlessly light regime that Hitler underwent?) and among lovers of Wagner (?!). Machtan does not distinguish between homosexuality, homosociality, misogyny, misanthropy, and contempt for independent women. There is little appreciation that one's sexual orientation isn't necessarily an invariable quality like the colour of one's eyes. There is no systematic discussion of gender ideology in the Nazi party that would put perspective on Hitler's views. The main evidence for Hitler's homosexuality, that he was cold and distant around women, suffers from the fact that Hitler tended to be cold and distant around men. If there is little evidence of any great heterosexual love in his life, there is no more evidence of any great homosexual one.
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