From Publishers Weekly
Originally published in 1980 in von Below's native Germany, this English translation is sure to become an important memoir for those studying the Nazi war machine. In 1937, von Below was a 20-year-old pilot when he was selected by Hermann Goering to be the Luftwaffe's adjutant on Hitler's personal staff. Von Below held this position and was near Hitler most of the time until he fled Berlin in the waning days of April 1945, the last of Hitler's staff to escape the doomed bunker. Written without his diaries and notes, which were lost in 1945, von Below's memoir will be most enticing for military historians studying the strategic thought of Hitler and his generals. He chronicles the repeated controversies between Hitler and his generals on all aspects of the war the Russian front, matriel production, tactical objectives and future plans. Hitler's continued anger with Goering over the Luftwaffe's ineffectiveness in protecting the Reich from Allied bombing is readily apparent, as are the arguments over holding ground on the Russian front. The Hitler who emerges from these pages is a wise, perfectly rational war leader betrayed by others who failed to do his bidding. This view alone will make for great controversy. Von Below also states that he never heard a word about the concentration camps or the liquidation of European Jews, a claim that seems dubious at the very best. After a bomb meant for Hitler exploded on July 20, 1944, von Below claims that Hitler seemed to sense the Reich's fate. The memoir ends abruptly, with notes added throughout by the translator to clarify or identify factual errors. Despite the editors' efforts, Holocaust deniers may still use the memoir for fodder. 45 photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Von Below, who served as Hitler's Luftwaffe (air force) adjutant, here seeks to provide an intimate glimpse into the decision-making process of the Nazi military leadership. Since the author's personal diaries were destroyed at the end of World War II, his memoir (originally published in Germany in 1980) is based on his reconstruction of events, not his contemporaneous reactions. The details, in particular the dates, are so specific that he obviously researched the events very thoroughly. The result is not so much a glimpse of the inner workings of the German high command as a brief history of the war from the perspective of someone who witnessed it at the highest levels and then interspersed this history with his remembered observations and occasional references to surviving correspondence. The book is troubling in that von Below is still enthralled by Hitler's military insights and attempts to place blame for German military blunders on someone other than Hitler. And naturally, despite his being close to Hitler almost every day, he knew nothing about the Final Solution. Although some military enthusiasts and specialists might glean some useful information from this book, it cannot be recommended for a wide audience. Frederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.