- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Abridged edition (June 5, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780060920203
- ISBN-13: 978-0060920203
- ASIN: 0060920203
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 129 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hitler: A Study in Tyranny Paperback – Abridged, June 5, 1991
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Fest divides Hitler's life into three sections: the first 30 years, aimless and indolent; next, his founding of the Nazi party as a band of ruffians and he discovers his gift for oratory and controlling a crowd, as well as the 1930's where he consolidates his power and cultivates a bourgeois manner to quell English and French suspicions; and third, from 1939 on, when he drops all pretense of civility and returns to his violent roots, impetuous, indolent, tyrannical and fanatical.
The first chapter asks the question, was Hitler a genius? When you read his behavior during World War II, you know he was not at all a genius. He was a criminal who happened to take over most of Europe. When Winston Churchill dubs this "the unnecessary war" in his memoirs, you realize how true that was. The Allies were fighting a genuine madman, ready to destroy Germany as well as himself as he realizes the game is up.
My only reservation is that the book is not very readable. It is dense and requires patience and attention. But that is more than repaid. Among other biographies, the Fest stands out as an important analysis of the madman who almost conquered Europe.
People throw around the term "sociopath" or "psychopath" with abandon nowadays. Bullock does not use those terms. However, he certainly clearly laid out the characteristics of Hitler that entitle his subject to those labels. Hitler only cared about Hitler. He did not care about politics, he did not care about Germany, he did not care about anyone else. He cared only for himself.
Hitler (1889-1945) was born on the border of Germany and Austria. His father was cruel and distant. Adolf was the third child born to Alois Hitler and Klara his much younger third wife. Hitler was an indifferent student. He failed to win entrance to Art School in Vienna. The future Reich Chancellor was often lazy and had a difficult personality. Hitler moved to Munich where he joined the German Army in World War I. The future Fuehrer won the Iron Cross as a dispatch runner. Hitler was deeply Anti-Semitic and hated Communism. Bullock recounts a long and complex history of how Hitler formed the Nazi Party and gained complete control as dictator of Germany in January, 1933. The Nazis launched a regime of terror the world had not before witnesses. Hitler and his paladins were among he worst criminals of mass murder in the long bloody history of humanity.
1. This biography is very good in discussing Hitler's expansionistic policy in which he engulfed neighboring nations such as Poland, France, Czechoslovaki through military warfare. Hitler's 1941 invasion of the USSR began his downfall. Hitler committed suicide in his bunker under Berlin's Chancellory in April, 1945. Hitler had married Eva Braun, his mistress of many years, a day before their dual deaths.
Hitler was a cruel and evil man who began the worst war in history. The Nazis government murdered millions of Jews in extermination camps and deprived other millions of their lives. The twelve year reign of the Nazis was one of the worst periods of European history.
Much has been learned about Hitler and the Nazis since Bullock wrote this biography. Modern biographies by Ian Kershaw, John Toland ad others have expanded our knowledge of the incredible cruelness of Hitler and his odious regime. Nevetheless, Bullock's work holds up well and is worthy of being read.
I have found that even the students in this contemporary society who consider themselves too advanced and enormously put upon by our educational hopes, find this book enlightening and somewhat horrifying. Its the best gift I gave this year and it went to a soon to be freshman in high school.