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Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power Hardcover – March 13, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Andrew Nagorski has written an entertaining chronicle…‘Hitlerland’ brings back to life some early delusions about Hitler’s rise that now seem unthinkable. Any reader trying to puzzle out today’s world will be unsettled by the reminder of how easy it is to get things wrong.” --The Economist

“riveting….this is a book that is full of things I never knew, and I found all of them interesting. It should be on everybody’s ‘must read’ list who is interested in history.”--The Daily Beast, Michael Korda

"Hitlerland is a bit of guilty pleasure... fascinating."-Washington Post

"Compulsively readable and deeply researched"-The Weekly Standard

"A compelling work for World War II history buffs or anyone who wants to understand how such devastating evil emerged while the world seemingly watched"– Library Journal

"An engrossing study of the times made more fascinating and incredible in retrospect...contextually rich...[a] well marshaled study."– Kirkus

“Andrew Nagorski, a deft storyteller, has plumbed the dispatches, diaries, letters, and interviews of American journalists, diplomats and others who were present in Berlin to write a fascinating account of a fateful era.”

-Henry Kissinger

“Andrew Nagorski once again turns his perceptive, seasoned foreign correspondent's eye to a dramatic historical subject. This eye-opening account of the Americans in 1920s and 1930s Berlin offers a totally new perspective on a subject we thought we already knew. “

-Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag: A History

"Andrew Nagorski’s Hitlerland is a fresh, compelling portrait of Nazi Germany, as seen through the eyes of a fascinating array of Americans who lived and worked there during Hitler’s rise to power. The extraordinary saga of Putzi Hanfstaengl, a Harvard graduate who became Hitler’s court jester, is just one of the many page-turning stories that makes Hitlerland a book not to be missed."
-Lynne Olson, author of Citizens of London

“The rise of Hitler and the Nazi state, one of the most consequential and profound narratives in all of world politics, receives compelling new treatment in Andrew Nagorski’s outstanding Hitlerland. By illuminating the disparate experiences of the era’s preeminent American diplomats, journalists, intellectuals and others, Nagorski has created an engrossing, harrowing and vividly drawn mosaic of eyewitness accounts to one of history’s most phenomenal catastrophes.”
-Gordon M. Goldstein, author of Lessons In Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam

“At times deliciously gossipy, at times thoroughly chilling, Hitlerland offers countless novel insights into Germany’s evolution from struggling democracy in the 1920s to totalitarian dictatorship in the 1930s. The intimate portraits from Hitler down add an almost tangible sense of the foibles, ambitions, insecurities and perversities of the relatively small top Nazi elite whose actions plunged our world into a catastrophe from which we are yet fully to recover. The Americans themselves come alive as a group of intense, enterprising journalists and diplomats faced with the greatest challenge of their lives.”
-Misha Glenny, author of The Balkans 1804-1999

“This is an excellent, ably-written, in-depth, and well-illustrated treatment of a hitherto-overlooked aspect of the Third Reich: before, during , and even after its fall . . . a true gem . . . an entertaining read . . . ” (Military Advisor)

About the Author

Award-winning journalist Andrew Nagorski is vice president and director of public policy at the EastWest Institute, a New York-based international affairs think tank. During a long career at Newsweek, he served as the magazine’s bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. He is the author of four previous books and has written for countless publications. He lives in Pelham Manor, New York.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143919100X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439191002
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrence H. Bulk VINE VOICE on February 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Over the years I have read quite a few books about Germany between the wars, such as Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s by Otto Friedrich and Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941 by William L. Shirer. In addition I have read many books about Hitler and the Nazis and World War II, as well as three voluminous (and excellent) biographies (Toland, Fest, and Kershaw) of Hitler himself. Naturally I also read (when I was a junior in high school) The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany by Shirer. (It cost $10.00 when first published and it took me a while to save up that much money but I did and I got the book.) In my opinion, it's still the best overall history of Nazi Germany ever written.

But these books are, of necessity, generalized and they are primarily concerned with political history, military history, and/or economic history.

There have also been some books written from Germans individuals' points of view, such as the two Saul Friedlander books Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939 and
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
`Hiterland' explains the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party as it happened. The stories are from Americans living or visiting in Germany from the 1920's through 1941. We read not individual separate stories but a smooth recounting of historical events and the observations, quotes and comments by those who were there as the events unfolded. The time and moods range from a country undergoing what was close to a nervous breakdown to one that was out of control and headed down an abyss.

Some of the most fascinating are from a married couple, Putzi and Helene Hanfstaengel - he half German, half American, she an American who have Hitler visiting them as a friend, one who played with their son and at moments seemed like a boy, to a stunning what if moment when Helen takes a gun away from Hitler, afraid that he would shoot himself after the failed Beer Hall Putsch.
There were so many who underestimated the man and others such as Herbert Hoover who thought him insane. There are recollections of the poverty and tenements of Berlin and of the striking unreal cleanliness of German cities.
A few, such as Thomas Wolfe write of what they see and then has his books banned in Germany. Reporters like Howard K. Smith and William Shirer see with a horror where the Third Reich is going. There are other numerous, very personal observations, ones, a reader has most likely never read before, on the rise of Hitler, the Nazi Party and the descent of Germany into chaos.

We see Germany as these Americans saw it...their observations then - not through the benefit of hindsight. This is truly a fascinating glimpse into the history of Germany and the beginnings of WWII.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Modern day readers of WWII era history often find themselves wondering how the world could have tolerated the rise of someone like Adolf HItler. Didn't people see the rise of the Nazi party coming? Isn't there something that could have been done to stop him? The answer might surprise those who grew up in the 21st Century.

Germany after World War I was both the most exciting place in Europe- and the saddest. Crippled economically by war reparations it was paying to the victorious Allies, it was at the same time the center of the most existing new movements in art, literature and the theater. Berlin was, for many, the most exciting place in the world, and those who could afford to come, did. Surprisingly, it was also the most liberal of all European nations, and probably the single best place in Europe for a Jew to live. Americans were particularly welcome, as the Germans largely saw them as potential friends who they could ally with against what German saw as the existential threat posed by France. And American visitors were similarly charmed by the warm welcome they received, and were only too happy to help out politically and economically. During the days of the Weimar government, many US banks and companies made loans to German industries to help rebuild this potential ally.

Things were not so rosy in much of Germany. Workers, Farmers, and those without access to foreign capital were impoverished by both the burden of reparations and the hyperinflation that was a consequence of the Weimar Republic's attempt to print money in lieu of engineering actual economic growth.
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