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The Psychopathic God: Adolph Hitler Paperback – March 22, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert G. L. Waite is Brown Professor of History Emeritus at Williams College. He is the author of Vanguard of Nazism: The Free Corps Movement in Post-War Germany, 1918–1923 and Kaiser and Fuhrer: A Comparative Study of Personality and Politics.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (March 22, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306805146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306805141
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R. W. Holsbergen on September 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Robert Waite approaches his subject, the distorted mind of Adolf Hitler with all its historic consequences, from two directions. Firstly, he gives a revealing picture of the murky side of German culture that flourished since German unification in 1870: the baleful complex of hyper-nationalism, pan-germanism and anti-semitism. Secondly, he gives a psychiatric analysis of the mind of Adolf Hitler.
Even if the author does not succeed in substantiating every detail of this analysis, much of it is convincing. Particularly elucidating is the suggestion that the reason why Hitler frenetically tried to surpass everyone else in his anti-semitism was that he felt the need to suppress in his own mind the lingering suspicion (unsupportable for many people in Austrian society at that time) that he himself might be partly Jewish (for a quarter of his genes). Waite finds convincing evidence that Adolf Hitler's grandmother, Mrs. Anna Schicklgruber, who later was to marry a certain Mr. Hitler, conceived her son, Alois (Adolf Hitler's father), while she was serving as a maid in the household of a Jewish medical doctor, Mr. Frankenberger, who might have been the father of her child. In fact, Mr. Frankenberger in subsequent years was paying money to Mrs. Schicklgruber. The child was eventually to be "posthumously recognized" by Mrs. Schicklgruber's deceased husband (or rather his brother) and thus got the family name "Hitler". His son Adolf seems to have been aware of this part of the family history.
This is a very useful book for those wanting to acquire a deeper understanding of the mind that was to a large degree responsible for the monstruous derailment of German history in the period 1933-1945.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Negative Aspects
Firstly, the organization of the information in this book could have been more effectively structured. The author runs circles in his various dissections of Hitler at certain points, creating a sense of deja vu for the reader, and somehow thinks that Germany's history deserves its own section at the end of the book, after many references to Hitler in history have already been made.
Secondly, the book's implementation of its goals gives the sense that the author is doing someone else's job: the author's style and presentation of facts lends to the idea that he decided to become a pyscho-analyst on a whim and thus produced this book, and would have been more comfortable presenting his knowledge under some other pretense.
The Positive Side
Assuming one can keep in mind that they are not reading actual psycho-analytical literature written by an actual psycho-analyst, the book is a gem.
As his jacket states, the author's "ultimate aim is historical", and in the historical sense, the book excels: every chapter is a joy to read, looking at Hitler in many light as a little boy, an angst-ridden teen and a political thug, while being supplemented by historical facts, anecdotes and personal insights.
The Final Say
The Psychopathic God is a valuable addition to any modern history, Holocaust, WWII or Hitler literature collection. I would recommend it to anyone who may be interested in learning about Hitler and his various realtionships in depth.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Haak on May 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
My review is appearing 14 years after the first ones were printed, so I'll avoid repeating what's been said and instead take up a wrong assertion made by some detractors that the author relies mostly on second & third hand hearsay and is bereft of solid, historical documentation. Not so. The back of my clothbound edition is packed with historical documentation listed on pages 436-474 at the end of the book. That's 38 densely packed pages of references and archival documentation.

In fact, Waite is quick to jump on the scent of anyone making careless and undocumented statements about Hitler. Here's a sample of the quality of correction he himself makes regarding inaccurate reporting about Hitler's residence patterns which he has investigated thoroughly (from Waite's chapter entitled "A Note on Spurious Sources"): "The British Home Office has reported that 'a careful search' through all the files of the Immigration Office for the period of November 1912 to April 1913 shows no record of Adolf Hitler having visited England. (H.G. Pearson, Departmental Records Officer, letter of 30 May, 1975. Used with permission of Professor Peter loewenberg, University of California at Los Angeles.)" Note Waite is relying on a dated letter from the British Home Office, which in turn is quoting from the records of the British Immigration Office, and we know exactly where that letter can be found and checked for accuracy. This is typical of Waite's mastery of detail & quality of research regarding archival sources and historical documentation.

Tracking down further errors Waite writes, "She has the wrong year for Klara Hitler's (Adolf's mother's) death, and she thinks that after Klara's funeral Adolf and his sister Paula moved to Vienna to live with their half sister Angela.
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47 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Candace Scott on September 30, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Waite's book is (amazingly) still in print after a quarter century. It's sobering to think so many people put credence in his ridiculous Freudian notions. There is nothing revelatory in this book and the errors are predictable and redundant. Putting Hitler on the couch is nothing new, Walter Langer and the OSS produced the first psychological profile of Hitler in 1943. It is still in print and available on Amazon and is much superior to this effort.
The main problem is that Hitler is dead and putting him through psychoanalysis is problematic, to say the least. I have an innate distrust of non-Germans (or non-German speakers) writing biographies of Hitler, so Waite has a leg up in this department since he does speak and read german. The vast majority of Hitlerian documents have never been translated and a non-German speaker tackles the project with a severe disadvantage. But does Waite use his innate advantage? No, he relies on discredited information, outdated sources and throws in some psychological treatises of his own, which lack credibility.
Hitler was an extraordinarily complex, complicated personality and the vast majority of historians have missed the mark in interpreting him or understanding him. Waite utterly misses the mark in explaining Hitler's relationships with women. He was hardly a sexual pervert and maintained a monogamous, though neurotic, relationship with Eva Braun for the last thirteen years of his life. The stories in this book of his "perversions" are stale and the product of propaganda from WWII.
If you want a steady, readable and reliable biography of Hitler, I urge you to consult John Toland's masterful 1976 book. Nothing has surpassed it in the 25 years since its publication.
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