Ian Kershaw Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis

ISBN 13: 9780393049947

Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis

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9780393049947: Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis

The climax and conclusion of one of the definitive biographies of our time. In this riveting account, drawing on many previously untapped sources--including Joseph Goebbel's diaries, recently discovered in Moscow--and incorporating numerous contemporaneous accounts of Nazi Germany, Ian Kershaw reveals a leader fanatically, ruinously convinced that he alone has the genius to conduct a war while his henchmen maintain the totalitarian state created in his name. As Nemesis opens, Adolf Hitler has achieved absolute power within Germany and triumphed in his first challenge to the European powers. Idolized by large segments of the population and firmly supported by four pillars of the Nazi regime--the Party, the armed forces, the industrial cartels, and the civil service--Hitler is poised to subjugate Europe. Nine years later, his vaunted war machine destroyed, Allied forces sweeping across Germany, Hitler will end his life with a pistol shot to his head. Kershaw's Hitler will be the final word on the most demonic figure of the twentieth century.

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Review:

George VI thought him a "damnable villain," and Neville Chamberlain found him not quite a gentleman; but, to the rest of the world, Adolf Hitler has come to personify modern evil to such an extent that his biographers always have faced an unenviable task. The two more renowned biographies of Hitler--by Joachim C. Fest ( Hitler) and by Alan Bullock ( Hitler: A Study in Tyranny)--painted a picture of individual tyranny which, in the words of A.J.P. Taylor, left Hitler guilty and every other German innocent. Decades of scholarship on German society under the Nazis have made that verdict look dubious; so, the modern biographer of Hitler must account both for his terrible mindset and his charismatic appeal. In the second and final volume of his mammoth biography of Hitler--which covers the climax of Nazi power, the reclamation of German-speaking Europe, and the horrific unfolding of the final solution in Poland and Russia--Ian Kershaw manages to achieve both of these tasks. Continuing where Hitler: Hubris 1889-1936 left off, the epic Hitler: Nemesis 1937-1945 takes the reader from the adulation and hysteria of Hitler's electoral victory in 1936 to the obsessive and remote "bunker" mentality that enveloped the Führer as Operation Barbarossa (the attack on Russia in 1942) proved the beginning of the end. Chilling, yet objective. A definitive work. --Miles Taylor

About the Author:

Ian Kershaw is professor of modern history at the University of Sheffield. The New Yorker hailed the first volume of his Hitler as "as close to definitive as anything we are likely to see."

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