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Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich Paperback – October 16, 2012
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"This admirable biography makes plausible what actually happened and makes human what we might prefer to dismiss as monstrous."--Timothy Snyder, "Wall Street Journal"--Timothy Snyder "The Wall Street Journal "
""Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich" by Robert Gerwarth is superb on the making of evil."--Frank Dikotter, "The Daily Telegraph (Books of the Year)"--Frank Dikotter"The Daily Telegraph (Books of the Year)" (11/19/2011)
"Gerwarth's approach is subtle, painstaking and psychologically acute; it convincingly demonstrates that the historian's tool of 'cold empathy' best clarifies the enduring question of what brings forth monsters."--Roy Foster, "Times Literary Supplement (Books of the Year)"--Roy Foster"Times Literary Supplement (Books of the Year)" (12/02/2011)
"Supremely enlightening."--Jacob Heilbrunn, "The New York Times Book Review"--Jacob Heilbrunn "The New York Times Book Review "
"Robert Gerwarth's "Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich" is the outstanding definitive scholarly and heartbreakingly horrible biography of the repellent mastermind of the Holocaust."--Simon Sebag Montefiore, "BBC History Magazine (Books of the Year)"--Simon Sebag Montefiore"BBC History Magazine (Books of the Year)" (12/01/2011)
"To write a truly splendid biography of a truly evil man is a remarkable achievement. Gerwarth develops a rounded picture of a personality who set out to establish a centralised SS state. He displays enough empathy for his subject not exactly to evoke sympathy (fortunately) but to make the seemingly incomprehensible comprehensible."--Hew Strachan, "Irish Times"--Hew Strachan"Irish Times" (10/22/2011)
"Gerwarth's mastery of primary sources and relevant secondary literature is impressive, and his integration of the most recent scholarship and historiographical perspectives on the Nazi dictatorship and the Holocaust make this fine biography even more compelling. An outstanding, exceptional book sure to become the standard account of one of the most infamous Nazi war criminals."--D.R./i>--D.R. Snyder "Choice "
"With his cold intelligence and utter ruthlessness, it is sometimes suggested he would have made a redoubtable Fuhrer and formidable enemy. In this riveting biography, Gerwarth shows just how plausible that claim is."--Guy Walters, "The Mail on Sunday"--Guy Walters"The Mail on Sunday" (10/16/2011)
."..two splendid biographies. There have been lives written before, but nothing to match the exceptional way that Peter Longerich and Robert Gerwarth...have gone about digging in the sources to root these two awful figures more firmly in the context that gave rise to some of the worst crimes of the modern age. It is unlikely that either of these biographies will be bettered."--Richard Overy, "The Sunday Telegraph "(reviewed with 'Heinrich Himmler: A Life' by Peter Longerich)--Richard Overy"The Sunday Telegraph" (10/16/2011)
'Drawing on profound research, Robert Gerwarth presents a penetrating, authoritative analysis of the ruthless personality and murderous career of the man who directed the Third Reich's police state and became a driving-force in the programme to exterminate Europe's Jews.' - Ian Kershaw, author of "Hitler"
"In an illuminating account, Robert Gerwarth relates new anecdotes from Heydrich's private life and his deeds as head of the Nazi Reich Security Main Office to shed light on his complex character."--Gavin Englebrecht, "Northern Echo"--Gavin Englebrecht"Northern Echo" (10/10/2011)
'Evil is a word used too lightly in our times and in historical review. Yet, in his splendid biography of Heydrich, Robert Gerwarth allows us to see what evil means in its subtlety and complexity, its seeming reasonableness on occasion, its starkness and its terror. Reading "Hitler's Hangman "makes plain why, in our eternal wrestling with the question where by the grace of God might we be going, historical reckoning, even for the most appalling of war criminals, is a more satisfactory and richer approach than is legal prosecution.' - R.J.B. Bosworth, author of "Mussolini"--Richard Bosworth
"[Gerwarth] opts for strategy of 'cold empathy', engaging his subject with 'critical distance' while attempting to assess his behaviour in context rather than in the light of what we know it led to. This approach, in contrast to the sensational popular biographies, produces some genuine surprises."--David Cesarani, "Literary Review"--David Cesarani"Literary Review" (10/01/2011)
'An excellent book on a major figure in the Nazi dictatorship, its secret police and the Holocaust. Gerwarth's illumination of the development of the security complex under Heydrich, his actions in the Protectorate, and especially the war in the East, is of real value.' - Tim Kirk, author of "Nazi Germany"
."..an admirable contribution...a unique perspective and insight into the development and radicalization of the Nazi regime and its rule."--Dr Dorothy Mas, "Reviews in History"--Dr Dorothy Mas"Reviews in History" (04/01/2012)
"Gerwarth tells this complex take with considerable aplomb. He writes with real verve, pacing his account well and providing the perfect mix of narrative and analysis. Pleasingly, he is not shy of indulging in a few dramatic flourishes when the material and the circumstances allow, making this a history book that one can genuinely read almost in a single sitting... He has succeeded admirably in remedying the lack of a scholarly biography of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the most pivotal and influential figures in the history of the Third Reich. [Gerwarth's] work has set a new standard by which subsequent biographies of Hitler's 'Blond Beast' will surely be measured."--Roger Moorhouse, "History Today"--Roger Moorhouse"History Today" (07/01/2012)
"At the subsequent grand public funeral, Nazi leaders eulogized Heydrich as the perfect Nazi. This intelligent and readable biography shows how he had made himself into one, and Gerwarth explains persuasively what motivated Heydrich to do so."--Richard J./i>--Richard J. Evans"Times Higher Education" (10/06/2011)
."..as definitive a biography of Hitler's Hangman as there is ever likely to be."--Geoffrey Roberts, "Irish Examiner"--Geoffrey Roberts"Irish Examiner" (03/31/2012)
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Top Customer Reviews
This biography is incredibly well researched and superbly written. Unlike some biographies which stray from the person sometimes, this one stays on target. It is not that the author doesn't discuss the big issues, it is that he skillfully keeps Heydrich in the center of his biography. Heydrich was an example of a person who had become a monster and yet he was a "normal" family man who would hold his infant daughter every night. A man from an upper class German family who played classical music in his spare time, yet organized groups called "Einsatsgruppen" which murdered hundreds of thousands of people. He had totally absorbed the Nazi racial ideology as being biologically true and was committed to "cleansing" Europe of "subhumans" and replacing them with "aryans". He held a high rank in the Nazi system and managed key parts, such as the SD and Gestapo. Before he was assassinated by Czech commandoes, he was "Germanizing" the lands around Prague and planning the "Final Solution".
In summation, there nothing so disturbing as the horrific actions of actual humans. Unlike fictional stories, where evil-doers are so different than us, this biography shows a man who could be anyone. Heydrich wasn't even interested in the Nazis until his wife told him to go sign up. It is staggering to think that this driven mass killer may never had done his deeds if his wife hadn't influenced him at a key point in time. Now, try to sleep thinking about that. Read this biography.