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Hitler: A Study in Tyranny Hardcover – 1962

4.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Konecky & Konecky; Reissue edition (1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568520360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568520360
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.8 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #793,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John W. Chuckman on August 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
I first read this book the best part of fifty years ago.

It stands up remarkably well, even when read with a subsequent background of many books about World War II, several biographies of Hitler and other major war figures, plus smaller specialized studies.

This is not a full biography, Hitler's early years receiving fairly brief treatment. It is precisely what its subtitle says of it, a study in tyranny, and I don't believe another book offers quite the same intense exploration of the subject.

Allan Bullock writes as a genuine scholar, albeit an unusually articulate one. When Bullock is uncertain about the factors contributing to a certain event, he says so, along with giving readers a clear explanation of the alternatives. Bullock had studied the vast literature available in his time and little of substance escaped his analytical mind.

Hitler surely represents three extraordinary historical phenomena.

First, the outline of his rise is remarkable, almost unparalleled in history, rising from a tramp, would-be artist, a man with limited formal education, to become absolute leader of Europe's most important nation and then achieving a series of dazzling successes until megalomania struck, sending Europe into a ghastly spiral of horrors and destruction.

One of the few comparable rises I can think of is that of a man who shared none of Hitler's dark obsessions and hatreds: I refer to Lincoln, a man who rose from life in a dirt-floor cabin and a year and half of formal education to become a successful corporate lawyer, president of the United States, and leader of what remains America's bloodiest war.
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Format: Paperback
In "Hitler: A Study in Tyranny," Alan Bullock stated that, as an author, he has no axe to grind. He adhered to that statement. Bullock offered a very balanced and plausible account of Hitler's life atempting to understand the dictator not as a demon but as a human being.
Readers interested in tantalizing controversy will be disappointed with this book. Bullock chose not to assert blame for such things as the Reichstag fire. Bullock dismissed the popular claim that Hitler changed his name from Schicklgruber (man, I got tired of my teachers reiterating that bit of misinformation) and the myth that Hitler resorted to astrology in decision-making. As for Geli Raubel, Bullock finds her best to be left as "a mystery." Bullock took a conservative stance in his analysis focusing only on the known fact's about Hitler's life.
Bullock offers a thorough study of Hitler's days in Vienna before the First World War and the ways in which this experience formed his political views. Hitler is presented not as the originator of future Nazi principles but as a product of the anti-rational, anti-intellectual, and anti-Semetic ideas that had been circulating in Europe for the previous hundred years. His understanding of propaganda, oratory skills, and pratical exposure to street politics helped Hitler gain a following. Ultimately, it was Hitler's determination that prompted him to turn down enticing offers of political position by Franz von Papen and Bruening that were less than what he sought: the Chancellory. During the Second World War, Hitler's "warlord" image was transformed: "the human being disappears, absorbed into the historical figure of the Fuehrer." Bullock also pointed out that this devotion to power led eventually to Hitler's downfall.
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Format: Paperback
This was the best profile of Hitler when I read it forty years ago (it's only rival was Shirer's `Rise and Fall of the Third Reich'). Bullock skillfully explores Hitler's public and personal world in three sections (Party Leader, Chancellor, and War-Lord). Some of his surprising habits (non-smoker, vegetarian, and teetotaler) stand in contrast with the criminal war he launched and the innocents he killed.

`A Study in Tyranny' has since been supplemented with accounts by Fest, Kershaw, and several others, but Bullock remains well worth reading for those serious in the subject.
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Format: Paperback
The time this was written, early 60's, and the author together make it the most authentic writing I've seen. It's point of view is clear from the author's introduction, where he claims to only want to tell the story accurately as a way to stay true to his historian training. The result is a candid and intense reflection on the way a narrow genius can be used to bring down an entire society.
The circumstances of the time, where old royalty and private wealthy trusts wanted to use Hitler to regain their pre-WWI era control of Germany, made it easy for the gangsters that Hitler organized to double-cross them.
Read this and be warned that this could happen again, with the complicit help of groups and nations too naive to recognize raw ambition and moral depravation.
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Format: Paperback
Contemporary readers may not be as impressed with this biography as they ought to be, as it has been so influential that its conclusions have been widely adopted by subsequent historians. As a result, this book should be read in conjunction with a more recent biography. However, keeping in mind how old the book is, it is still a classic, and Bullock's writing is a pleasure to read.
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