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Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 by Volker Ullrich
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Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939

by Volker Ullrich

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Highly recommended. A very in-depth and carefully referenced and accurate view of Hitler's rise to power that led up to WWII. It would be nice to assume something like this will never happen again, but when looked at in detail, and knowing societies' penchant for hysteria and hero worship (or cu;t of personality worship), it seems entirely possible for it to happen again. It is worth noting that at no time did it appear that a majority supported Hitler (even though elections seemed to say so once he was in power), so it doesn't even take a majority to lead a country down such a dark path. ( )
  bness2 | May 23, 2017 |
The book was well written and enlightening. Some will draw parallels to today's politics in the U.S. But this is heavy-duty, slow going read. I found it much more scholarly as opposed to journalistic historical treatment. ( )
  cohenja | Feb 13, 2017 |
A thorough but uninspired book about Hitler. Ullrich claims his wish is to focus more on the man than the times. To be honest, I could not see the difference. I never have a problem with biographers going over territory covered in the past. Some subjects are so important they deserve it. Ullrich, a meticulous yet completely uninspired writer, appears to be engaging prior books on this subject as much as his subject. Still, despite its 758 pages covering Hitler from birth to the eve of his invasion of Poland, there is a survey quality of the books: it reads more like a summary than a portrait. ( )
  byebyelibrary | Nov 20, 2016 |
Read this because of Michiko Kakutani’s amazing anti-Trump review. What does become clear is that Hitler was written off many times, but kept trying to get power; because he did so, he was prepared when, through the mistakes of others, the opportunity emerged. Unlike Trump, however, Hitler’s country background and probable illegitimacy left him insecure about his own intellect and determined to educate himself, though he only read things he’d agree with. Hitler combined amazing laziness with real charisma, something Ullrich argues is less apparent to us not just because we know how the story ends but because he became more of a caricature of himself the longer he was in power, and so his compelling personal presence is harder for us to understand. ( )
  rivkat | Nov 1, 2016 |
Hitler – Demystified

Most people today think that they know a lot about Hitler, that any more books about him are a waste of time and add nothing. This book on Hitler is the Volker Ullrich’s first volume on Hitler, that demystifies some of the ‘legends’ that have grown around him, examines how this Austrian came to lead Germany, rebuild confidence in the country and build a cult around himself.

In my opinion this magisterial volume builds and compliments the work of Sir Ian Kershaw and Ullrich also admits as much in his introduction to this 760 paged volume. Ullrich has also been able to use the few sources that have become available since the publication of Kershaw’s two volumes, as well as re-reading all existing research sources.

My Great-grandfather was born in Lwow/Lemberg in 1889, part of Polish Galicia that was then under Austrian control, the same year Hitler was born in Austria itself. Both fought in the First World War technically on the same side, but like most Poles it was with no great love for Austrian it was because they were forced to defend Polish Galicia from the Russians. In 1918 my Great-Grandfather was celebrating the end of the war and the rebirth of Poland that had escaped the clutches of Austria. Whereas Hitler was in Germany licking his wounds like many Germans, blaming the leadership of Germany for selling them out. These events would affect both differently, but one went on to reap his revenge on Poland amongst others.

Ullrich as well as building on what Kershaw told the world about Hitler, he takes a look at Hitler the man and attempts to give us a forensic account of the person up to 1939. It has always been a mystery to many how Hitler was able to mesmerise the German people and take over the instruments of power with little to no resistance.

What we do learn is that Hitler was the ultimate salesman who could sell dreams to people who needed something they could hold on to. What is interesting is how lazy Hitler actually was, how after his walk at the Berghof with his entourage, he would be driven back while everyone else was made to walk. He could not drive, nor swim and with his love of the alps could not ski!

Most books on Hitler try to paint the man as having hidden depths, this book shatters that image completely. What Hitler did understand, the need to control the narrative, the overarching message you want to expand and make people believe. This is very much the concept of the modern politician and public relations consultant, he who owns the narrative controls the story the public will receive.

Something that Ullrich does discuss is the love life Hitler had, such as it was, and that he was attracted to teenagers, and that led to the suicide of his own 17-year-old niece. It does come across that it was quite complicated and not what the public perceived.

There are many interesting chapters in this volume that cover many topics from the early life of Hitler, through the War and Versailles, to the failed putsch and on to writing Mein Kampf. We are also told that Hitler’s antisemitism that developed was different to his actual interactions with Jews.

This is one of the most important books on Hitler that has ever been published especially as this starts to peel away the mask of Hitler the man rather than the Hitler the projected leader. This is an excellent volume that gets under Hitler’s skin, makes us see the man as a charlatan who happened to be lazy, shallow, attracted to teenage girls rather than women his age and very narrow minded.

This is an excellent volume that all students of German History should be required to read and absorb. Ullrich has been able to approach the subject with sensitivity as well as honesty and paints the picture that succeeds in breaking down the myths that have built up around Hitler the person. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Apr 28, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Volker Ullrichprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chase, JeffersonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hagen, DonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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