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Now available in a single, abridged paperback, Ian Kershaw's Hitler is the definitive biography of the Nazi leader.
Ian Kershaw's two volume biography, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris and Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis, was greeted with universal acclaim as the essential work on one of the most malign figures in history, from his earliest origins to the final days of the Second World War.
Now this landmark historical work is available in one single, abridged edition, tracing the story of how a bitter, failed art student from an obscure corner of Austria rose to unparalleled power, destroying the lives of millions and bringing the world to the brink of Armageddon.
'Supersedes all previous accounts. It is the sort of masterly biography that only a first-rate historian can write' David Cannadine, Observer
'The Hitler biography for the twenty-first century' Richard Evans, Sunday Telegraph
'I cannot imagine a better biography of this great tyrant emerging for a long while' Jeremy Paxman
'Magisterial ... anyone who wishes to understand the Third Reich must read Kershaw, for no one has done more to lay bare Hitler's morbid psyche' Niall Ferguson, Sunday Telegraph
We surely need books like Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners that examine German society as a whole in an effort to understand how Hitler came to power and held it for so long. But we also need classic, political biographies that focus on the dictator himself. Kershaw's book, the first volume of a projected two-part biography, pays some attention to how ripe a demoralized Germany was for demagoguery after the Treaty of Versailles, but the author's focus is on Hitler and his political career--the decisions he made as he rose to power and those he made once he attained it. What distinguishes this effort is the extent of documentation as Kershaw, a professor of history at the University of Sheffield, exploits the full Goebbels diaries and texts of early Hitler speeches only recently made accessible. Also notable is the portrait Kershaw draws of Hitler as surprisingly remote from the thuggery, greed and corruption of his followers, high and low, even as he actively encouraged the development of a cult of personality. Kershaw closes with an examination of Hitler's remilitarization of the Rhineland, a fait accompli made possible by the timidity and disarray of Germany's supine neighbors. Had the French marched, Hitler said later, "we would have had to withdraw... with our tails between our legs." By 1936, Kershaw writes, events had substantiated Hitler's hubris. A "nemesis" (subtitle of the next volume) would in reality not emerge before 1941. Kershaw's massive work (made somewhat too massive by some repetition) is valuable for the rigor with which it portrays Hitler not as some supernatural evil force ejected into history from beyond but as a thoroughly natural figure--evil, surely, but historically evil. Photos.