From Publishers Weekly
These six psychological portraits of high-ranking Nazi officials offer insight not only into some of Hitler's closest associates, but into the wartime psyche of the German people. Along with a team of researchers, German TV journalist Knopp spent nearly two decades interviewing those who knew such top Nazis as Field Marshal Hermann G?ring, propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels and Hitler deputy Rudolf Hess. The composites that emerge are similar to those presented by scholars. Goebbels is described as an obsessive ladies' man, G?ring as an overweight morphine addict. Knopp's portrayals will be informative and easy to read, however, for those unfamiliar with these figures. There is nothing about these "henchmen" that would have predicted success. As Knopp writes of SS and Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler: "His odd-seeming fascination with the occult, his superstition, his passion for herbal remedies, would not have extended beyond his own backyard had there been no Third Reich." It is their very lack of distinction, their ordinariness in many ways, that ultimately seeps through in this devastating group portrait. For instance, a few of the six Nazi leaders described here, like so many of their countrymen, were WWI veterans who were unable to come to grips with Germany's defeat in that conflict and turned to anti-Semitism as an explanation. Some were seduced by Hitler's charisma. Others, like Nazi chief architect Albert Speer, simply saw a chance to make their careers. Those looking for an introduction to Hitler's regime will find Knopp's account more than satisfactory as a jumping-off point.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German