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Hitler: A Study in Tyranny

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  873 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
The classic biography of Hitler that remains, years after its publication, one of the most authoritative and readable accounts of his life. Here in an abridged edition.
Paperback, Abridged, 512 pages
Published June 5th 1991 by Harper Perennial (first published 1952)
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Best Biographies
90th out of 752 books — 1,943 voters
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. ShirerThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankMein Kampf by Adolf HitlerI Will Bear Witness, Vol 1 by Victor KlempererBerlin Diary by William L. Shirer
Classics on Nazi Germany
27th out of 76 books — 54 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 1,924)
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Mike Anderson
Dec 09, 2012 Mike Anderson rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-world
This book was recommended by a well-respected author focused on the period when Hitler came to power. I bought the book because I study human behavior in political systems and the rise of Nazi Germany is a classic example. Its easy to criticize the German people for their decision to elect Nazis to power but the real story is much more complex. The winds of the time (aftermath of World War I, economic depression) along with the state of politics and mass psychology are the real factors that allo ...more
Till maybe 8 years ago my knowledge about Hitler was minimal. I knew Hitler was probably one of the greatest antagonists of the post medieval world. Why? Because he was responsible for the second world war and killing of approximately 6 million Jews. How did he do that? No idea. Then i happened to watch ‘der untergang’ the German movie on the last days of Hitler. The depiction of the last days of Hitler's life and the splendid performance of Bruno Ganz just blew me over. The movie to a certain e ...more
Ira Therebel
Jun 28, 2012 Ira Therebel rated it really liked it
A very good book on the topic. Hitler is definitely a fascinating historic figure and the events surrounding the Nazi time in Germany are very interesting. That doesn't mean I like him or what he did. At the same I don't like books that just portray Hitler as a monster, no matter how disgusting his actions were. By doing so people often give themselves the idea that this could never happen again because Hitler was so different from other people, which unfortunately isn't a reality. If we compare ...more
Helen Francini
Sep 09, 2013 Helen Francini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding, exhaustively thorough recounting of the most famous life-that-never-should-have-been-lived of the 20th century. (I read the full length version, not the abridged.)

Especially intriguing is that Hitler's genius in speech-making, and therefore crowd control, lay in his ability to discern the mood of a crowd and reflect that back to that crowd. Clearly, he could not have become what he became without the approval of (too many of) the German population, at least at first. Of course, b
Katherine Addison
This is an excellent biography. Inevitably, the fact that it was written nearly fifty years ago shows--more scholarship has been done and some of Bullock's ancillary facts are wrong (e.g., in 1941, the Russians were not better equipped and better fed than the Germans (Ivan's War); Albert Speer's "economic miracle" was almost entirely the work of the man he replaced (The Wages of Destruction); and so on)--but does not detract from Bullock's accomplishment in describing and analyzing Hitler's care ...more
Apr 12, 2015 Saintjono rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now and I've finally this month plucked up the courage to tackle it! Setting myself challenging but achievable reading targets...I ended up smashing them! The last 400 pages I got through in four days and that is no mean feat for a serious work of history like this one. I of course take no credit for the speed of reading, rather I can only commend Alan Bullock for writing an account of a truly terrible time in such a readable way.
I was
Jan 09, 2013 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: German historiographers, Third Reich scholars, the Greatest Generation
Recommended to Michael by: serendipity
This was the very first complete biography of Hitler to be printed after his death, and it remains widely available in bookstores 60 years after it first appeared. My edition was revised slightly in 1958, but it on the whole it reflects the early post-war era and trends in understanding National Socialism from that time. As such, it may be of more value in studying attitudes and ideas of people in the victorious Western powers than in studying its subject. Hitler has been the subject of many bio ...more
John Blair
Oct 05, 2014 John Blair rated it really liked it
While watching and listening to The Great Courses "A History of Hitler's Empire, 2nd Edition" by Professor Thomas Childers, I decided to read some of the books listed in his Bibliography. Here's what he wrote about "Hitler: A Study in Tyranny": "Although dated in some ways, Bullock's well-written and pioneering biography of Hitler remains one of the best one-volume attempts to capture Hitler and his times." The cover of the book shows a squib by W. L. Shirer: "Will long remain, I believe, the d ...more
Mar 04, 2014 William rated it really liked it
Bullock's biography isn't a dry recitation of facts, but it does tend to hit the main notes in the life of Hitler. The highlight of the read comes in "The Dictator," the chapter that basically fills in the details of Hitler's personal life, his outlook, his interaction with his inner circle, and how he was able to hold such a hypnotic effect on both his followers and those who might not have been predisposed to follow him blindly. Hitler is a hard subject to write biographically - there isn't th ...more
Written in the 1960's, A Study in Tyranny has long been considered the definitive English-language biography of Adolf Hitler. Reading it today, it's easy to see why. Bullock approaches subject as a strict historian, without any axe to grind. The result is an exhaustive and sober study of the life and character of Adolf Hitler, which corrects many mistakes, myths and falsehoods about the man which persist even today. Some of the conclusions and sources may be outdated, but this remains an excelle ...more
Sep 13, 2011 Duncan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, german
A classic based on the information available at the time. Compare with Hitler by Kershaw who has written the current critically acclaimed version of Hitler's life and times. My recommendation, read both and decide for yourself.
Good history book. I had to read this Junior year of high school. It was enlightening and taught me to consider the POV of the author as well as the information contained within a history book.
Jul 06, 2009 Gorgeousglenda rated it really liked it
Slightly dated but virtually the best all round portrait of how one man's sad character can mirror a time and a place, playing out his emotional poverty on the world.
Brian Christopher
Jul 21, 2011 Brian Christopher rated it really liked it
Authoritative and definitive. The First complete biography of the corporal from Vienna. All other scholarship is indebted to Bullock for his comprehensive study.
Erik Graff
Mar 07, 2015 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Westerners
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
This is among the best of the biographies I've read about Hitler. The author, in this revised edition, is fully conversant with the works by Shirer and Trevor-Roper but essays more of a psychological portrait than they manage. Unlike Trevor-Roper, Bullock is less at pains to qualify his sources. Instead, he draws freely from the Table Talk and the memoirs and testimonies of those close to the dictator to come up with a credible characterization.
Paul Kearney
Oct 25, 2015 Paul Kearney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forensic like study of how the sheer will of just one man. Changed the fate of a small National socialist party. To unleashed a rabid determination to create a new world in his own crude vision.
By understanding his rise a ripple effect of political aggression and opportune gangster-ism. Dispels the myth of a pure evil and a uniqueness to Germany or its people.But Buoyed by the righteousness of success.A single mindedness of fate and an emperors new clothes.
By stripping back the myth the man only
Shawn Michael Hartwell
Jan 29, 2015 Shawn Michael Hartwell is currently reading it
The go-to book for understanding more about Hitler's early years and the factors that drove him into the mad dictator he was to become. While a bit lacking on the greater aspects of the man(his public speaking ability, complex relationships, etc) this is the go-to biography for gaining a better understanding of the Third Reich.
Jun 05, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it
A long, chilling, well-documented and detailed look at Hitler's rise to power and his maneuvering to build (and betray) allies that bolstered his drive to power in Europe. And, finally, how the egotism and complete lack of loyalty to anything or anyone but that obsession with power led to the collapse of Germany and his ultimate, cowardly suicide in that beleaguered bunker. The entire history has lessons to be learned about assessing the complexities of international relations -- and how letting ...more
Barbra Ann
Jan 19, 2016 Barbra Ann rated it it was amazing
This 1962 [revised] Harper Torchbook is a must read. Found way in the stacks of Rochester NY's Rundel library, it is the pivotal, source for WWII, Hitler, the Nazis and the entire ball of wax. Won't be able to put it down.
Jun 30, 2016 Cojaysea rated it it was amazing
i don't care how much new evidence is out there since 1952 and there is a good amount and I've read many other sources but this is still the best book about hitler himself. period!
Mar 23, 2014 Eric rated it liked it
Hitler was truly an evil man. This book details his life and rise to power in Germany. While the author makes several references to his hatred of the Jews, shockingly little attention is paid to his set-up of the many concentration camps he deployed while in power. This seems to lessen his evilness as presented by the author. I realize this is an abridged version of the full biography but the story of his life seems incomplete without a full detailing of this despicable act. I think much better ...more
Adam Gossman
Sep 05, 2015 Adam Gossman rated it really liked it
Really good though you can tell was quite pop at one point. I've read better but I give four stars because of accessibility.
George Root
Aug 25, 2015 George Root rated it really liked it
Well-written account of the life of the worst madman in history
Alberto Godoy Eyzaguirre
Oct 20, 2014 Alberto Godoy Eyzaguirre rated it it was amazing
Read the unabridged, it's a must.
Apr 26, 2014 Glen rated it really liked it
Interesting book ...
Michal H
Oct 18, 2013 Michal H rated it liked it
This book is an excellent biography on Adolf Hitler that covers almost everything you need to know about him from his early life to his death. It is not an easy read by all means but overall it is excellent throughout all the chapters.

I give its credit that it was published in the 50's but it is dated material, several bits of text in the book (mostly quotes) have been proven to be not genuine and fake but it is a good book and well worth reading.
Richard Thomas
Nov 24, 2014 Richard Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe
The classic account of Hitler - superseded in history by more recent accounts of his life but it remains a thorough and penetrating analysis.
Ed Khediguian
Incredible how he evolved and came to power. This is an incredible perspective focused on not the history but the man. Amazing how at so many turns, there was the potential that he not rise to where he ended up. This book and "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" compliment each other well in forming a great perspective.
Nov 03, 2013 Scott rated it it was amazing
This book was an amazing account of hitlers life. It showed him in the most detail i think i have seen an account of hitler. It is an awesome book, but i would not suggest it to a friend unless you knew that they had an love for history or they were studying him/nazi germany for a class
Dewey Norton
Aug 01, 2009 Dewey Norton rated it liked it
Chilling analysis of evil. I had read so much about Germany and WWII, I did not see how I could learn much from another book on this, but it was a popular book at the time and the reviews were stellar, so I grimly read it and learned a lot.
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