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3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  272 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
A ruthless dictator who saved his country from economic ruin only to nearly destroy it—and an entire people—in his quest for world domination, Adolf Hitler forever changed the course of history. In this masterful account of Hitler’s life, biographer A.N. Wilson pulls back the curtain to reveal the man behind the mythic figure, shedding new light on Hitler’s personality, hi ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Basic Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 498)
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May 20, 2015 Caroline rated it really liked it
This book was just what I was looking for. A brief introduction to one of the world most notorious megalomaniacs. It gave an interesting overview of Hitler’s background, his rise to power, and the situation in Germany which made him the man of the moment, and encouraged his career to blossom. The war was discussed in terms of Germany’s triumphs and failures. Many people round the world saw it as “Hitler’s War”, and given his determination to personally direct the army, this was not inappropriate ...more
Apr 19, 2012 Erik rated it it was ok
This book is an excellent example of what happens when a non-historian tackles an issue as complex, controversial and delicate as the life of the man that plunged the world into the most destructive war humanity has ever seen. The work is littered with misconceptions, generalisations and (woe is me!) wrong historical facts. The subtitle of the book is "A Short Biography". That just won't do. When writing on Hitler, one cannot afford to spare words. A wider, more in-depth analysis is always neede ...more
Sam Quixote
Dec 27, 2012 Sam Quixote rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The life of the most reviled man in history is always a tricky subject. Not the perspective (which is universally one of the utmost horror) but the manner of its telling. I think because AN Wilson has written "A Short Biography" of Adolf Hitler, that most will look upon this modest, and yes short, 190-page book as inconsequential as such a study of this person must require far more pages to be worth the reading. After all, how to compress the man who arguably shaped the modern world into its cur ...more
Bob Mobley
Aug 07, 2012 Bob Mobley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A.N. Wilson has written a compelling, thoughtful and revealing "portrait" of a man whose name is always associated as the "Demon King of history." This is an illuminating short biography of Adolph Hitler. It is a powerful study in leadership. I found one of the most compelling and fascinating points in Wilson's superb examination of both the man and his career, Wilson's observation that Hitler's success in becoming Chancellor of Germany in such a short period of time following his imprisonment f ...more
Stephen West
Apr 11, 2013 Stephen West rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I enjoyed reading this brief (about 200 pages)biography of Hitler. The author did a great job of bringing Hitler's personal characteristics to life. However, I was hoping to the author would do a bit more towards explaining Hitler's rise to power. Instead, while he does a good job of describing events, all too often, he falls back on the old saws of Hitler's supposed charisma and the power vacuum in Germany during the to his charisma, he doesn't even explain how someone he describes as la ...more
Paul Kerr
Sep 01, 2012 Paul Kerr rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
After having read some fairly hefty books in the past on WW2, it was refreshing to find a quick and easy read on what is obviously such a complex topic as Hitler. Despite being able to read this in one or two sittings, I did find several insights and new levels of thinking that kept me interested - that Hitler's lies stretched back to his youth was unsurprising, but the contradictions in his writings and speeches when compared to his lack of personal drive was very interesting. A short and sharp ...more
Oct 03, 2015 Ted rated it really liked it

Concision is a virtue, and it is one of the many virtues of Wilson’s summary of the life of Adolf Hitler. Wilson provides a succinct portrait of one of the dominant figures of the 20th century, and offers an idiosyncratic explanation of the reasons behind Hitler’s rise to power. Although Hitler saw himself as a messianic figure, in Wilson’s eyes, Hitler was actually a strangely normal youth, who was unable to effect the transition to independent adulthood. Military service provided Hitler an opp
Lukas Lovas
Feb 27, 2014 Lukas Lovas rated it really liked it
First off - this guy truly despises Hitler. Second - Hitler was fucking bonkers.

I mean....seriously. As someone from a younger generation, who hasn't lived under the shadow of war, or even with it's louder echoes, I must admit...I thought Hitler must have been a prototype of a supervillain. You, rational, briliant at making his evil plans for world domination...but honestly....he was an emo brat, who has never worked an honest day's work for his money, he threw tantrums and he was
Pauline  Butcher Bird
May 22, 2014 Pauline Butcher Bird rated it really liked it
This book is aimed, I'm sure, at people like me - someone who knew nothing about Hitler's private life, wanted to learn quickly and not have to delve through a 600 page biography. I wanted the outline, the sketch. I learned that Hitler never worked, that after his parents died when he was a teenager and he gradually squandered his inheritance, he became a layabout, a hanger-on, an outcast, a poverty-stricken young man who found friend's sofas to crash on. Even a kindly Jewish man helped him out. ...more
Chris Walker
May 04, 2013 Chris Walker rated it liked it
A thought-provoking little book (only 200 pages) which details Hitler's childhood and rise to power and shows us where Hitler was quite ordinary and where extraordinary. And where barking mad. The author surmises that another Hitler is quite possible. So beware the non-smoking, vegetarian who is good at oratory, prepared to blame a racial group and loves uniforms, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Wagner and German shepherds apparently.
May 30, 2014 Cara rated it did not like it
I think this is the worst biography I've ever read. I don't read a whole log of biographies, so it's definitely possible that there are some worse biographies out there, but this one is pretty bad. Mostly because it's just lazy, shallow writing. Usually when a person chooses to write a biography it is at least in part because they are interested in the subject. I don't get that impression here. I'm reminded of my own high school English papers where I didn't really care about the book I read and ...more
Jan 26, 2014 Ooi rated it it was ok
This book does not do justice to its complex subject. For example, by laying the blame completely on Hitler and portraying him as a lazy and almost insane demon, the author did not give us the bigger picture; that is Hitler is partly a social creation of post-WWI Germany and the devastating effects of the Great Depression. It is also not helpful to the study of history when the author repeatedly mocked Chamberlain and many others who tried to appease and even praise Hitler. It is only with hinds ...more
Eleanor Levine
Dec 22, 2014 Eleanor Levine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightfully well-written book. It's also short. If you want a quick history, with appropriate cynical statements about Der Fuhrer, this is the one to read. AN Wilson is not afraid to be honest and literary and thought provoking. Nice research and though I knew much of the history, Wilson's presentation is immensely entertaining.
Apr 15, 2012 Whitley rated it it was amazing
Initially, this book does not cover new ground, but Wilson's insights as always are fresh and thoughtful. The last chapter is quite amazing and particularly trenchant. The equal of his excellent books on Paul and Jesus. Wilson's historical writing is outstanding.
Bonn W
Apr 11, 2014 Bonn W rated it liked it
Good book with lots of information. The book has facts that are important, and some that are just little bits of Information that don't mean anything but are still interesting. It's important to know about something or someone that changed the world so much. But one of the bad things about the book is that it sort of jumps around Hitlers life and sometimes it is kind of confusing. One second you will be reading about his childhood and the next about when he was an adult. But if you are intereste ...more
Sep 02, 2016 Eric rated it really liked it
First off let me say that the version of this book I used was an audio version, not a hard copy. I foud this book to be very interesting. Taking the time to learn more about the history and how certain cultures arrived has led me to learn a great deal about Hitler from listening to this book on his life and thoughts. Yes, I agree that Hitler has done bad things in his time, but at the same time there were things that he contributed to that has not been told to us out of fear and ignorance.
In con
Adolph Hitler’s rise to power in Germany is succinctly reviewed and explored in this brief book. A man with little actual work experience, a troubled childhood and youth, ascends to the highest office in Germany despite his doctrine of hate, which he put forth in his book, Mein Kampf, more than a decade before his election. Therefore, as the author states, there really is no way the German people can claim ignorance about what he intended to do. Perhaps the extreme lengths, to which he would go ...more
Tyler Jones
I came to this book wanting two things: to understand how Hitler came to power in the first place and to know more about the actual person Hitler was.

I was satisfied on the first point. I think Wilson does a good job of making the rise to power understandable and even deserves some kudos for erasing the notion that Germany was an exceptionally antisemitic country. I was a little startled to know the extent to which the pre-WWII world knew about Hitler's anti-Jewish feelings but choose to over lo
Mark Maguire
This was a very satisfying read.

The book covers the critical aspects of the development of Hitler and the socio - economic conditions that gave rise to Nazism. Whilst the book does not go into the minutae of Hitler's life and actions, the engaging narrative provides you with sufficient information to permit a general understanding, whilst also inspiring further reading into the subject matter in question.

The book pulls no punches in relation to it's deconstruction of Hitler. The Author makes i
Sep 18, 2014 Bladestryke rated it liked it
it's an OK overview of the wars and Hitler himself. it was especially interesting since this was written by an Englishman. most books I have access too have an American world view. I could also tell this person must have been a cat person as he makes sure to mention his dislike of Hitlers dog in none to mild way. I'm sure there are better books on the monster but it would be OK as an entrance to this time in history.
Raphael Bernardo
Nice general book on Hitler. I knew almost nothing about him and now know a lot of neat things. This version is great yet sad because it doesn't not mention the many times allies could have stopped him really easily before WWII. Also many Jews died because most countries didn't allow them to come in.
Christian Snell
Oct 06, 2013 Christian Snell rated it liked it

The author’s purpose in writing this book I think is to show the reason for what Hitler did. Hitler is probably one of the most notorious dictators ever to live. The theme of the book is war and strategy. This is shown through what is written of the war, explaining what was going on over on Hitler’s side.

The style of the book is biography, because it is in an informational format telling the life of Hitler. This is shown by the way it is written; also it could be seen as a history type book.
Michael Carlson
Nov 24, 2014 Michael Carlson rated it it was amazing
I read this with my ears because I love the narrator, Ralph Coshen. But this was a great read. And, as it turned out, a great introduction to the novel that I'm currently reading, All the Light We Cannot See (which is set during Wold War II in France and Germany.)
Sep 05, 2016 Dacod rated it really liked it
Though at times the author comes across as biased, it's an incredibly informative and succinct look at modern history's most interesting and insane character. Further reading is probably necessary to more fully understand, but I didn't know Hitler had a severe farting problem before and that alone was worth the read.
Steven May
Nov 12, 2015 Steven May rated it really liked it
Informative book about Adolf Hitler who is considered to be the most evil leader. The question today is whether another person lives obscurity that can lead our world down a similar path?
Jen -only4lightn
This was an interesting biography of Hitler. And it was a little unsettling given the political climate today.
Apr 02, 2013 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very readable at only 190 pages, covering, in brief, his whole life. A good read for anyone who cannot face the huge tomes by Ian Kershaw (which I haven't read). It also covers some of the main points of WWII in Europe so could be interesting for people who don't want to wade through either the classic Rise and Fall of the Thurd Reich by Shirer (also not read) or the large volume by Michael Burleigh, The Thurd Reich: A New History (which I have read and was very good).

It discusses some of the my
Karen K - Ohio
I did not find this biography to be very insightful. Many of Wilsons conclusions were very weakly supported.
Devashish Sharma
Feb 11, 2015 Devashish Sharma rated it really liked it
good book with different perspective about the man.
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Andrew Norman Wilson is an English writer and newspaper columnist, known for his critical biographies, novels, works of popular history and religious views. He is an occasional columnist for the Daily Mail and former columnist for the London Evening Standard, and has been an occasional contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, The Spectator and The Observer.
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