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Heinrich Himmler (Oblicza zła)

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  256 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Heinrich Himmler, an unremarkable looking man, was Hitler's top enforcer, in charge of the Gestapo, the SS, and the so-called Final Solution. We can only wonder, as biographer Peter Longerich asks, how could such a banal personality attain such an historically unique position of power? How could the son of a prosperous Bavarian Catholic public servant become the organizer ...more
912 pages
Published 2009 by RBA (first published January 1st 2008)
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Oct 05, 2012 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I sort of wished I had taken a picture of my wife’s face when I lifted (using my legs, not my back, because this thing’s heavy) Peter Longerich’s Heinrich Himmler from the Amazon box in which it was delivered. It is roughly the size of a toaster and the cover is adorned with a crisp black & white picture of a weak-chinned Nazi with rimless specs and a death’s head emblazoned on his cap. I suspect my wife would’ve been happier to see me haul out back issues of Jugs rather than a monstrous tom ...more
Steven Peterson
Mar 17, 2012 Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heinrich Himmler. The name itself brings a shudder to one. This man worked to exterminate groups, to enforce a foolish racial theory, and maintain the Nazi society thro0ugh terror. The book has one animating question (Page 3): "How could such a banal personality attain such a historically unique position of power?" The aim of the biography itself is (Page 3) ". . .to penetrate as far as possible the mystery of this man's personality and the motives underlying his monstrous deeds."

The book begins
Susan Paxton
Unfortunately we're still waiting for the definitive biography of Himmler, one of the most mysterious figures of the Third Reich. While Longerich fairly ably covers the events of Himmler's life and career, there are vast empty spaces. For example, he never deals with Himmler's relationship to and with Hitler, which simply boggles. Himmler's development into an important figure in the Nazi party more or less simply occurs - at one moment, Himmler is quietly raising chickens and dabbling in right ...more
This book is as good as it can possibly be. The problem is, there's no way to write a comprehensive, yet accessible, biography of a man like Heinrich Himmler. To be comprehensive, you must give at least thumbnail summaries of so many complex topics that your work will be inaccessible by definition. Longerich gave it the old college try -- and I really can't see how he could've done it better -- but you'd be hard-pressed to get through this one unless you had to.

[That is to say, unless you're a p
Charlotte Smith
Nov 18, 2014 Charlotte Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a student of Nazi Germany this book is a very detailed account of the rise of one of the leading Nazi Party members during the 1920s and 1930s. I enjoyed the chapters so far on Himmler's childhood and how he became involved in the Nazi Party. And ultimately his rise to become Reichsfuher-SS after overcoming political opposition from Frick and Goring when he took control of the police in both Germany and Prussia in which Goring originally had control but Himmler managed to gradually take over ...more
Bill Manzi
A book that, for me, was a disappointment. Probably on me for having the wrong expectations of what the author was trying to accomplish. Some interesting biographical information on Himmler the youth, but as the book progressed there was not a whole bunch on his interaction with Hitler, even in the pre-power days. I learned that Himmler was originally from the Gregor Strasser wing of the Party, and that both Strasser and Rohm were considered "mentors" to Himmler. That did not do either much good ...more
I have been interested in the Third Reich for many years, and whilst we all know who Heinrich Himmler was, I have long thought that he deserved much more serious study than he still seems to receive. In this book, Peter Longerich confidently rises to the challenge. We see Himmler as the young man, the outsider; Himmler as the man haunted by the fact that he missed out on being able to fight in the Great War, and eager to make an impact of his own, in whatever way, on the future. We see Himmler a ...more
Luka Novak
Feb 04, 2012 Luka Novak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2, biography
This book tries to show combined picture of Himmler as a person and Himmler as Reichsführer-SS. Longerich shows how each aspect influenced the other and how toward alter years they became one.

In fact combining different aspects is what this book is about, not only regarding Himmler himself but also how entire aparatus under his command worked together. Longerich argues that each organisation played an important role toward ultimate goal of reshaping Europe as envisioned by Nazi outlook. If SS an
Dec 20, 2013 Olethros rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
-De la normalidad del monstruo y de su entorno sociopolítico, que no exactamente de su sustrato general.-

Género. Biografía.

Lo que nos cuenta. Relato de la vida y obra (por llamarlo de alguna manera) de Heinrich Himmler, empezando por el 23 de mayo de 1945 y retrocediendo hasta finales del siglo XIX para narrar cronológicamente una enormidad de vivencias del personaje, de todo tipo, llegando de nuevo a ese día de mayo de 1945.

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Mar 21, 2014 Tsam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the standard to which all would be biographers should aspire. Detailed, without ever becoming dull or dry, and enlightening without feeling the need to preach to the reader or judge the subject.

It is too often that a worthwhile character study of any senior member of the Nazi party becomes merely a chance to lecture the reader on the evils of the regime and its members. It is abundantly clear to all likely to read this book that the subject and his ideas were abhorrent and thankfully Lon
JPP Smorenburg
Jun 14, 2014 JPP Smorenburg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-shelf
breathtaking account on how the fast military developments from 1939 gave Himmler the conviction his Utopian views could be reality, and how he used his talent for power politics and manipulation to create and perfect the network from the amalgamation of powers that brought such unimaginable horror and catastroph.

1031 pages. Notes, bibliography and index starting from page 748. Complete glossary of terms preceding the prologue. 32 fascinating photos; alas I could find no working links to those f
Feb 19, 2013 Jing rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Professor Longerich has said that- "The aim of this biography is to penetrate as far as possible the mystery of this man's personality and the motives underlying his deeds". Indeed, professor Longerich has definitly reconstructed Himmler's personality from the ground up, his character traits and the typical behaviour patterns from Himmlers early years as a devout Catholic, introverted, and shy Munich boy to his rise as the leading military commander of the Schutzstaffel (SS).

Well researched and
Scott Holstad
I give up! I surrender! I got to page 602 of this 1,050 paqe book and I simply could not proceed onward. It's flat out BORING!!! I expected to learn gripping, intimate details on Himmler, the SS, Himmler and Hitler, and more. Instead, I was deluged with numbers and statistics, with resettlement in towns and provinces too numerous to mention. Oh God, it was so boring. Okay, so Himmler started out as a quiet youth, unable to deal with females, which made him a prude until he was married in his mid ...more
Doug Norton
Daunted by its size, I hefted a library copy into my book bag with the intention of skimming it and that’s all I did. (That's why I didn't give it a starred rating.) I’d recommend that approach to others who don’t have a research interest in the Nazi era but nonetheless feel urged by Santayana’s charge to remember history. I believe some of their ilk are still with us and always will be, so, in my view, its good to remind oneself of how bad things can get—and how rapidly. Author Peter Longerich ...more
Cary Lackey
Very interesting read on the high priest of Nazism and madness. The author did a good job of showing how Himmler's demented racial ideals became national policy - as crazy as that sounds. I echo the criticism of a fellow reviewer in that the author didn't delve into the relationship between Hitler and Himmler much, if at all. The book gets bogged down in somewhat irrelevant details, like crop yields from Himmler's wacky SS agricultural enterpises in occupied Europe, rather than filling him out w ...more
Jun 11, 2013 Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read for anyone interested in learning more about the inner-workings of the Third Reich and the sinister figure that was Heinrich Himmler. Peter Longerich has meticulously researched all aspects of Himmler's career and character, and in doing so has created a book which finally lays down the History of the SS as an entity. This book also clarifies many points of Nazi policy such as the origins of "The Final Solution".

I would recommend this book to anyone who already has some knowl
Dec 27, 2015 Marty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was OK, but very dry and did not capture my attention. Had to do so skimming just to get through.
Aug 06, 2012 Ashok rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Actually rate this 3.5. While covering his life, the primary focus seem to be about a man who was an administrator and was adept at amassing power amongst a group of sharks. What was missing was really understanding where this German mythos and infatuation to make it real came from. As well, his relationships with the Nazi leadership, especially Hitler were not covered very well. It felt as if he operated in isolation in the Third Reich and just checked in occasionally. Still this was a fascinat
Molly Elder
Feb 02, 2013 Molly Elder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the sheer size of this book was daunting, it was very good as far as biographies go. This is defiantly not a biographical sketch. Rather, the amount of material is so dense, that the reading became laborious at times. If you want a good weekend read, do not pick this book. I am generally a voracious reader, and could easily tackle most books in a day or two. However, I had to put this one down, read something lighter, and come back to it for a period of about of a month.
Hewitt Moore
Mar 13, 2015 Hewitt Moore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only read about half of it, as I ran out of time before I had to return it (and only certain subject matters interested me). I assume that this is about as researched of a book on Himmler that is out there as I think the author spent a decade gathering data..
Natxo Cruz
Aug 02, 2011 Natxo Cruz rated it it was ok
Extensa i (massa) exhaustiva biografia d'un dels personatges claus en la història europea de la primera meitat del segle XX. En la línia d'altres autèntics fills de puta contemporanis (Franco, Degrelle, etc.), es revel·la com un invididu frustrat, incomplert físicament i moralment, que va projectar les seves mancances en un àmbit de poder desmesurat i que només es pot entendre en un context històric molt determinat.
David Akeroyd
Jul 23, 2015 David Akeroyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bios
Excellent look at probably the most powerful man of Nazi Germany for most of its history after Hitler. The details of his various schemes to reshape all aspects of society are frightening even while the beliefs themselves are so ludicrous. The very real and terrible things he did though are covered very well here and it's well worth a read for anyone interested in WW2 and the crimes of the Nazi Regime.
Drew Zagorski
I suppose if I didn't read as much history, and in particular, WWII history, there would have been a great deal of new territory here. If you don't and if you don't know much about Himmler - in my opinion, the most sinister of of Hitler's henchmen - this is a comprehensive biography. All in all, there were only a few tidbits of new information it presented to me, but well done, none the less.
Rodrigo Lupi
Jul 16, 2014 Rodrigo Lupi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty good read, but - even at 700 pages - offers little insight on Himmler's anti-semitism motivations. Germany's change of policy from forced emigration to extermination also goes unanswered.
Once it gets closer to the war the book does feel a bit more like a logbook than a biography.
All things considered, this is probably the most complete work we'll ever have on Himmler.
Oct 29, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding and in-depth biography of a psychopath; but a very powerful psychopath. If you want to really understand the Third Reich, this is a must in that library.
Then read Longerich's Goebbels to add to the deep, deep sickness of these two most powerful Nazis AND the very willing to follow their ideologies and propaganda Germans.
Aug 15, 2015 Benjamin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to know about Himmler, I mean really know, not just the basics, this is a great book.
Mar 19, 2012 Geli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good overall bio of Heinrich Himmler, the author did extensive research. Detailed descriptions of almost everything in his life EXCEPT for his relationship with Hitler, which is barely mentioned. That's a pretty big omission, but other than that, a great bio.
Luis Capote-Pérez
Una densa biografía que ejemplifica la manera en que un hombre poderoso y carente de escrúpulos utiliza todos los medios para llevar a la realidad una visión del mundo, sin detenerse ante nada y justificándose a cada paso como pretendido salvador.
Sep 12, 2012 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good biography of the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany. Longerich cleverly intertwines Himmler's life with the History of the SS in a very intense, very detailed, yet clear fashion. A must-read if you are interested in these times.
This book is absurdly long, covers familiar ground (at great length), psychologizes (with a straight face), and could have been immeasurably shorter. Experts will appreciate the full coverage, perhaps -
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Peter Longerich (born 1955) is a German professor of history. He is currently director of the Research Centre for the Holocaust and Twentieth-Century History at Royal Holloway, University of London.
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“entry into the old imperial castle of Prague, the Hradschin. He described it as follows: ‘The Führer went into a barely furnished room, turned to your father, and embraced him, delighted that it had been granted to him to” 0 likes
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