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Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  676 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Hitler’s rise to power, Germany’s march to the abyss, as seen through the eyes of Americans—diplomats, military officers, journalists, expats, visiting authors, Olympic athletes—who watched horrified and up close. By tapping a rich vein of personal testimonies, Hitlerland offers a gripping narrative full of surprising twists&#821 ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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This was a fascinating story of the rise of one of the most evil men in all history. Moreso, it's the story of a country and a capital city itself, as well as individuals that saw firsthand the development of a political movement that has since become synonymous with terror and murder the world over. The Americans that lived and worked in Berlin in both the 20's and 30's had a definitive front row seat to history. It is a time and a place that probably none of us would care or even want to visit ...more
When I was taken into Phi Alpha Theta in the late 1980's, the speaker for the event was a German lady who experienced the Third Reich and the war as a young girl. Two things I remember to this day about her talk...

1. She had the opportunity to meet Hitler and shake his hand. She said that he had the most clear, deep blue and sincere-looking eyes that she had ever seen. They were such that one wanted to believe in and trust in any thing that he would offer.

2. Hitler's regime took her away from he
Oct 25, 2013 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Benny Hinn

Large chunks of this were so boring I had to stop and unglaze my eyes - reading about Josephine Baker will do that to me. But Nagorski, a former Newsweek journalist, does a decent job of synthesizing a large number of both published but long out of print memoirs, and unpublished contemporaneous manuscripts, of Americans living in Germany during Hitler's rise to power. These Americans were journalists, diplomats, embassy workers. Some of them, like William L. Shirer and a few others, saw Hitler f
While many books abound about the experiences of Americans in Paris and London during the 1920s and 1930s, there are correspondingly few books available about the experiences of those Americans who spent time in Germany from the 1920s to the early 1940s. This particular book stimulated my curiosity about some of these Americans --- journalists, military officers, writers, scholars, and diplomats --- one of whom first became aware as early as 1922 of a then insignificant nationalist, right wing p ...more
Could the U.S. have known what was coming, or is hindsight 20/20? That is a central theme--along with some mind-boggling photographs obtained by former "Newsweek" corro Nagorski--that makes this terrific book in the spirit of William Shirer's "Berlin Diary," stand out in a crowded field. I found "Hitlerland," to be superior to Erik Larson's "In the Garden of the Beasts," a recent bestseller about pre-WW II Berlin. While "Garden" focuses on Nazi-era U.S. ambassador William Dodd and his family -- ...more
The rise of Nazi Germany is probably one of the most documented and researched periods of human history, but Andrew Nagorski's Hitlerland examines an overlooked chapter: the presence and perspectives of Americans living in Germany - journalists, diplomats, students and socialites who had privileged front row seats to the turmoil and instability of the Weimar Republic, who watched the Nazi party charm and muscle their way to power, who felt the earth shake as Adolf Hitler launched the world into ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Most people who are readers of German history immediately prior to WWII have read or should have read William Shirer's classic Berlin Diary which was written from his observations of the rise of the Nazi party. I would suggest that this book also be added to that list of "must-reads".

The author uses sources from telegrams, letters, diaries, interviews, radio broadcasts, official diplomatic reports, etc. to expand on Shirer's idea of eye-witness accounts of journalists and diplomats stationed in
An interesting approach to a much studied subject: the rise of the Nazis as seen by Americans living in Germany. It's interesting to see people both catching and missing the essence of what was actually afoot. It leads you to wonder: in your own life, would you recognize this kind of evil if it slowly unfolded around you?
Lewis Weinstein
This is the first "research for my writing" book I am reading on Kindle. I have figured our how to highlight and record notes from a Kindle book. It actually works very well.

Delene H. Allen
This well-written book proves that Andrew Nagorski thoroughly researched the Nazi Rise to Power in the 1930s. Essentially, this story covers the account of American correspondents prior to when Hitler launched his attack on Poland. Hitler wiped Poland out in four short weeks. The account covers how Nazi officials dealt with the embassy staff for the United States Consulate, and Nagorski shows readers 1930s Germany from the perspective of the embassy staff. I found the interviews with Hilter to b ...more
Steven Z.
Hitlerland is a useful survey of the attitudes expressed by Americans who witnessed the rise of the Nazis to power from the 1920s onward and their reactions to Nazi policies in the 1930s. The author integrates a number of important Americans, ie; US Ambassador Wiiliam Dodd, the journalist William L. Shirer, George kennan, Dorothy Thompson etc in ascertaining what Americans thought concerning the events that they witnessed. If you want to get a flavor of what it was like for Americans in Germany ...more
Bill Palmer
The focus is the American press correspondents and to a lesser extent the diplomatic corps posted in Berlin throughout the '20s and '30s and the time frame referenced by the title. This makes for good reading if for nothing other than the anecdotal accounts of those who, for example, had the opportunity to personally interview Hitler, attended parties and other functions with top Nazi brass such as Goering and Goebbels, and who had regular contact and interaction with the everyday German citizen ...more
This is a well-researched book about Americans in Germany before and during World War II. It won't answer the big question, though. Why did the Germans support Hitler? Why did they vote him into power? What did he promise them, and how did he so improve conditions once in power, that they were willing to put up with his obviously being nuts? Yeah, I know he blamed all the problems in Germany on the wealthy bankers (ie, Jews) and foreigners, and certainly things were economically awful after WWI. ...more
A well-written and interesting book on the Americans that witnessed Hitler’s rise to power and their differing perspectives on it. The book is a fairly easy read. Some of the stories have been well-documented elsewhere, while others are new, at least to me.

Nagorski brings together the recollections and experiences of all the Americans involved, although the context he provides is sometimes limited. It usually isn’t in-depth enough, but, then again, I assume the reader has at least a basic knowle
Michael Arden
In this superb history based on copious research, the author documents the large number of Americans who visited or lived in Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in the 1920s and '30s. They included the famous such as former President Herbert Hoover, aviator Charles Lindbergh, and author Sinclair Lewis, well-known journalists of the time, most notably William Shirer, author of THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH, many state department officials, including three ambassadors ...more
Lora King
As a history major, I feel compelled to read some good old non-fiction history books occasionally. Hitlerland is just that, a good peek at Germany during the period following WWI and the beginning of WWII. In contrast to Eric Larson's "In The Garden of Beasts" last year, which focused more on the US Ambassador Dodd's time there, this book pulls on the reporters who covered the events in Germany during this time period. Using reports, memoirs (published & unpublished)& interviews, Nagorsk ...more
Bill FromPA
Nagorski’s book tells the story of the Nazi movement in Germany from the 1920s through the declaration of war on the US as told in eyewitness accounts of Americans who lived and worked in Germany at the time and who interacted with Hitler and his followers. The reader is given history as a sequence of events that, far from unfolding inevitably as we might imagine in hindsight, is contingent on any number of chance occurrences and spur of the moment decisions. Nagorski occasionally jumps ahead to ...more
Erin Samiloglu
This is my third WWII book in a row. I think I'm Hitler'ed out. I do think it was a beautifully written book, I just wish it had included more content from voices who haven't already been heard. At one point the book mentions - from the viewpoint of a journalist - seeing a group of American college students hanging out at a Nazi rally, and I thought, "Man, I wish I knew what they thought about everything." Most of the perspectives come from journalists or diplomats (or in one case, a diplomat's ...more
the rise of the 3rd Reich from 1922 to Germany's declaration of war on the US in 1941 as seen through eyes of Americans in Berlin. Journalists, diplomats, and expats of all sorts record their impressions and predictions.

the reactions to nazi germany ranged from horror and revulsion to admiration. some sounded the alarm early, some insisted there was no danger, and some joined the national socialist cause. hindsight shows us who was right and who was deluded, but in the midst of it i don't think
A history of Americans in Germany interacting with Hitler and the Nazis, and how they perceived at the time what was happening. Nagorski, having been a foreign correspondent himself, primarily focuses on newsmen and -women, with a secondary focus on diplomats. He also goes through several cases of Americans (e.g., JFK) who visited the country only briefly, and they pretty much all loved how clean and organized Germany was. (I imagine diminishing returns set in with describing those short-run vis ...more
Assuming you want to know about what it was like in Germany before the U.S. entered the war, this book is a good read. It simply collects the observations of various American journalists, officials, travelers, and so on who were there. Why it's restricted to Americans is a mystery. Much more interest would have been achieved by including comments by Japanese, Italian, British, French, Russians, and others. It's not a compelling read, because the narrative is primarily Nagorski's, who doesn't all ...more
Robert Wilson
The stories of Americans in Germany during the interwar years and during the rise of the Third Reich is a largely untold story. Nagorski has filled in this gap. The stories are highly enlightening and eerily reminiscent of earlier and subsequent situations. Some were utterly blind to what was happening, some could see clearly where Germany was headed, and a few were downright supportive of the Nazis. Many saw their opinion of the Third Reich change the longer they spent in Nazi Germany. Some, m ...more
This was a fascinating look at the rise of the Nazis and particularly Hitler from the viewpoint of the American journalists and diplomats stationed there from 1922 to their expulsion in 1941. The title doesn't come directly from Hitler (who has more of an off-and-on appearance in the narrative) but from a term the journalists used to refer to Germany and German politics in general during the rise of Nazism. The focus on the journalists is fairly intense and I think that for the average person it ...more
There were a lot of journalists in Berlin during the 1920s and into the 40s, because newspapers were in their prime then. This book studies the writings of those men and women and also those of our embassy staffers. Nagorski also gives a wonderful perspective on the happenings during that time period, although I find his writing a bit difficult to easily read; it doesn't flow as well as many other works of non-fiction. Hitler is described as an amazingly interesting man of some complexities, alw ...more
“Hitlerland” by Andrew Nagorski relays the years up to and during World War 2, told from the view points of various Americans who had the front row seats to the Germany drama playing out right in front of them. In the book, Nagorski compiles the narratives of American journalists stationed in Berlin such as Singrid Schultz, diplomats like Hugh Wilson, military attachés like Truman Smith, and many, many other characters who for various reasons happened to be present in Berlin during the twenties, ...more
This is an excellent book that describes Hitler’s rise to power, and Germany’s march to the abyss, as seen through the eyes of American diplomats, military, expats, visiting authors, and Olympic athletes who watched horrified and close up. At any given point in time prior to the beginning of WWII, the reader learns about the conflicting views of journalists, ambassadors, and politicians regarding Hitler’s intentions and actions. The book offers a gripping narrative full of surprising twists and ...more
Matt Forsythe
The book "Hitlerland: American eyewitnesses to the Nazi rise to power" is about eyewitness accounts about before Hitler came into power as the dictator of Germany. It features many eyewitness accounts from the ambassador of Germany, his daughter, and many other people that witnessed the Nazi Rise to total domination in Germany. Also the historical book covers the years before Hitler ascended to power in Germany—roughly 1922 through 1933, focusing on opinions of Hitler held by Americans. It featu ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power, by Andrew Nagorski, Narrated by Robert Sass, Produced by audible inc., downloaded from

The publisher’s note says it as well as I could:
Hitler's rise to power, Germany's march to the abyss, as seen through the eyes of Americans - diplomats, military, expats, visiting authors, Olympic athletes
- who watched horrified and up close. By tapping a rich vein of personal testimonies, Hitlerland offers a gripping narrative full of su
E.L. Drayton
My Review: I can't remember ever reading a book that I took such an interest in that was factually based on history. Everything I knew prior to reading this book on Hitler I got from history text books and what I was taught in school. I was amazed by how much I did not know. I came out of this asking questions, which, I believe, is essential to great literature. When your mind is further engaged to want to do further research on what you've just read, then the author has truly done their job. Of ...more
Sean O'Hara
There's been a thing in the last few years for histories of Americans abroad during WWII -- Citizens of London, Americans in Paris, etc., with Hitlerland being the latest entry. Although using sources other historians have used for their own histories, by focusing on the sources themselves instead of building a composite picture, the books give more of a ground-level view of things.

Still, why Americans? The books could accomplish just as much by focusing on the natives. But then these are books
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What Key USA observers in Hitler's Germany Saw, Knew, Thought. 1 1 Jul 01, 2014 10:21AM  
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From back cover:
Andrew Nagorski, award-winning journalist, is vice president and director of public policy at the EastWest Institute, a New York-based international affairs think tank. During a long career at Newsweek, he served as the magazine's bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. He lives in Pelham Manor, New York.
More about Andrew Nagorski...
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