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Hitler's Niece Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

3.5 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Combining fact with supposition, Ron Hansen's audio novel tells the story of Adolf Hitler's relationship with his half-niece Geli. Beautiful, flirtatious, and 19 years his junior, Geli charms her uncle along with his inner circle, but is found dead at the age of 23 with Hitler's gun by her side. Hansen's glum characterization of the German leader is given stern voice by Tony-winning stage actress Janet McTeer, who excellently approximates male speech. She is equally adept at the accents of the numerous characters, and since the audiobook takes place over a span of 23 years, allows the voices to age. She takes Hitler from bitter to fanatical, and Geli from giddy to heartbroken. McTeer's vocalizations team with Hansen's abridged words to probe how this humorless and repulsive man was able to seduce his niece along with a nation. (Running time: 6 hours, 4 cassettes) --Kimberly Heinrichs

From Publishers Weekly

Writing about major historical figures is always a risk for a serious novelist; one must imagine thoughts and conversations for which no record exists, and integrate pertinent facts about peripheral people who figure in the story. For the first few chapters of Hansen's (Atticus) ambitious, provocative new novel, this problem seems likely to overwhelm his attempt to plumb the narrative's central question: what really happened to Hitler's 23-year-old niece, Geli Raubal, who was found dead, purportedly a suicide, in her room in Hitler's apartment, in 1931. Hansen has another task here as well: to convey how a mentally unstable, self-pitying failed painter became chancellor of Germany. He introduces the 19-year-old Hitler at the nadir of his fortunes in 1908, the year his niece Geli was born, traces the source of Hitler's monomaniacal mission to "save Germany" to a battlefield experience in WWI and portrays the effects of his spellbinding oratory and instinctive grasp of mass psychology on a shamed and economically devastated populace. Sometimes the sheer mass of information Hansen must provide results in a listless series of mini-bios of people who became Nazi stalwarts, in off-stage action scenes and in the past perfect tense: "the police had hesitated... had fired a salvo... Scheubner-Richter had been killed," a device that dangerously slows narrative momentum. But always the drama swings back to high-spirited, fun-loving, irreverent Geli, and Hitler's sexually deviant need to dominate her. Midway through the novel, the confluence of historical event and personal destiny becomes mesmerizing, as we perceive the torment of a sexually molested, psychologically manipulated woman, isolated and virtually imprisoned by a jealously possessive monster. The finale imagines Geli's death in a completely credible way, and leaves us with fresh insights into Hitler's twisted personality. The reader forgives the occasional longueurs in this textured picture of Hitler's histrionic personality and his insane mission for glory, presaging the genocide to come in the cold-blooded obliteration of one young woman's life. 8-city author tour; simultaneous audio. (Sept.) FYI: Ronald Hayman's Hitler and Geli will be released by Bloomsbury in August.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: HarperAudio; Abridged edition (August 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0694521981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0694521982
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,901,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. W. Rasband VINE VOICE on September 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This novel gets off to a somewhat heavyhanded start with too-obvious scenes of Hitler's youth, and the first half of the book seems a little slow, a little padded (Hansen says in the Author's Note that he originally thought of his material as a short story.) And Geli Raubal is a somewhat vague, her only really memorable characteristic being a slyly mocking sense of humor. But then Hansen begins to draw you into the depraved world of the upper Nazi echelon. And his Hitler is one of the most convincing fictional portraits of the fuhrer I have encountered. Hitler comes across as a horrifying case of arrested development, a dirty-minded little boy who never grew up, but with an adult's power to inflict terrible harm. By the time you get to the horrifying conclusion, Hansen has you hooked on his dark vision of historical evil (and of good, too; there are subtle but strong Catholic themes that run through the book.) This is very much worth your time, espescially if you are into history and historical novels.
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Format: Paperback
By virtue of his already classic "Mariette in Ecstasy" and "Atticus", his two novels with Catholic themes, Ron Hansen must already be viewed as one of the great Catholic novelists writing in English. He's also one of the few, judging by a recent interview in Sojourners, who doesn't cringe at the description, bless him. Given my lifelong fascination with the history of the Nazi era, therefore, it was with a great deal of eagerness that I picked up his 1999 "Hitler's Niece : A Novel".

And I wasn't disappointed-shocked, horrified, fascinated, disgusted, yes, often all at the same time, but hardly disappointed.

Since not all the facts surrounding the short life and violent death of Hitler's niece, Angelica ("Geli") Raubel can be known with certainty, the book must be categorized, strictly speaking, as a novel. "Creative non-fiction" might be a little closer to the truth, however, since much is known, and more information has come to light recently pointing to the probable accuracy of Hansen's conclusion, which he shares with a growing number of historians: i.e., that Geli Raubel was not only sexually abused by her famous uncle, but ultimately murdered by him as well.

Unfortunately, the event occurred in 1930, three years before Hitler's rise to the Chancellorship of Germany, but well after this evil genius and perfectly sick individual had already gained enough power to get such potentially damaging incidents tidied up by a whole army of slavish underlings. Alas, there was no brilliant (or at least sufficiently courageous) detective on this case to risk the wrath of the SA and SS, and catch his man. Had there been, the world might have been spared an expensive object lesson in the price ultimately paid when an entire country hands the Devil a blank check.
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Format: Paperback
Hitler's Niece by Ron Hansen is an enthralling, convincing look at the feeble man who became the great monster. Although Mr. Hansen also paints a splendid portrait of the thoughtless, mesmerized minions who made up his cult, the primary eyes through which this portrayal is painted are those of Geli Raubal, the daughter of Adolf Hitler's half-sister, Angela. Hitler shows little interest in his niece as a child, but when she reaches her late teens, the charming, witty, attractive, young woman - an easy character for readers to love - becomes an object of obsession to him. As he and the Nazi Party gains significant momentum and his megalomania blooms, Hitler becomes Geli's financer, caretaker, companion, surrogate father and, if he has his way, sexual partner. Hitler takes meticulous, roundabout, disgusting measures to confuse and dominate the young girl. Geli, thankful to "Uncle Alf" for bringing her out of the Raubal's poverty, lives in fear and dread of her uncle and the power he holds over her, over everything he touches, while she wears a jovial public smile. The engaging, lushly told narration slowly and gracefully moves toward the type of nail-biting conclusion whose inevitability only causes it to be more absorbing and affecting. The tale, based on actual occurrences and obviously well researched, is a believable, fascinating speculation on the emotional emptiness that backgrounded Hitler's appalling evil.
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By A Customer on February 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Ron Hansen keeps challenging himself and keeps succeeding in ahuge way. The historical novel sheds light on the madman, clearlyexplains and defines the Nazi rise to power, and tells the tragic story of the person who perhaps knew Hitler best, his neice. Moreover, he tells us what fate met nearly all the major Nazi players and his afterword is as enthralling as the novel, itself. Bravo, Mr. Hansen.
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By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book really worked for me on at least a couple of levels. First, the story, while told from Geli's point-of-view, is really about Hitlers rise to power. This point of view takes the vision of Hitler as a madman to a much deeper image of Hitler as a profoundly evil and dark creature. On the other hand, who cannot identify with the need to feel loved, or the desire to feel important in someone else's eyes. The author's use of point of view intensified for me how Hitler stifled his own humanity.
I've also wondered how someone like Hitler could have risen to power in the first place. In the process of developing the two primary characters, the author also gives a great description of the social fabric in Germany during the 20's and 30's which gave rise to Hitler. As a non-history buff I found this to be fascinating.
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