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3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  130 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Remarkably, this is the first full-length biography of a man often seen as the very personification of evil. Heinrich Himmler was not only head of Hitler's SS police and Gestapo, but was also in charge of the death camps in the East. The account of Himmler's life and his impact on the rise and fall of the Nazi state make a gripping and horrifying story. But more than this, ...more
Hardcover, 655 pages
Published August 1st 1996 by MJF Books (first published 1990)
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For me, as a reader of WW2 history for over 40 years, the figure of Heinrich Himmler looms large. At one point the 2nd most powerful individual in the 3rd Reich. A veritable minister for everything. But oddly one of those characters who I had never really read about in too much depth. So with Peter Padfield’s 1990 biography I had high hopes of learning as to what made this sinister individual tick. I have, unfortunately, finished this lengthy book feeling let down by what I can only describe as ...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 26, 2007 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: major Third Reich junkies
I read John Toland's 1000-page-plus biography of Hitler and I was enthralled. There isn't a dull page in the whole book, it grabs you and propels you with increasing velocity through the almost unbelievable events, and en route you meet the gang who made the Third Reich possible, and what an unlikely crew they were. Out of all of them, the weird figure of Himmler intrigued me the most. Here was the most mild-mannered, myopic schoolmasterish of men, just the type who'd bore you to death on a long ...more
Kane Faucher
Feb 25, 2012 Kane Faucher rated it really liked it
A thick, authoritative tome of evident scholarship weighted by meticulous research detail. There were a few too many orphaned speculations that the book might have done better to leave out rather than leave unexplored. It does tend to wander away from its subject at times, which account for the occasional sequencing issues (perhaps understandable given the complexity of Himmler's relations with other Party members and the author's diligence in providing useful reference to the context of the war ...more
Erik Graff
Nov 28, 2016 Erik Graff rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: WWII fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
I read this alongside Wachsmann's history of the German concentration camps, Himmler having been in charge of them.

Basically, this is a biography of Heinrich Himmler, arranged chronologically. Most of it concerns his public life with the NDSAP and SS, but the author also attempts to explain him psychologically with reference to his childhood and adolescence. The enigma of Himmler is how a moralist, personally affable and considerate and genuinely sympathetic to animals, could have directed the m
Jun 29, 2008 Stefan rated it really liked it
Himmler was a well written and researched biography of an individual who had a profound impact on modern Germany, this is not a definitive biography but it is without doubt one of the best biographies on Himmler widely available in English. The author did a careful examination of Himmler's early life which I found particularly enlightening. I also found the portion of the book concerned with Himmler's young adult years and his early rise to power (that is before 1939) to also be extremely intere ...more
J M Davis
Worthy but wordy!

Well researched and full of detail, I nevertheless finished this book with some relief - it is far too long. Padfield clearly had the measure of his man whilst writing this biography, but his endless interruption of the narrative story of Himmler's life with speculative passages regarding his motives or state of mind became tiresome after a while. Clearly, there would be little point to a biography of Himmler without some examination of the sentiments and beliefs which drove him
Tim Robinson
Jan 07, 2015 Tim Robinson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
The author has an axe to grind and is the very worst kind of amateur psychologist. In seeking the source of Himmler's monstrosity in his childhood, he looks for something that isn't there, and finds it. In reality, Himmler was a perfectly normal Bavarian child and nothing in his diary extracts is at all surprising or revealing.

If you read only one book about Heinrich Himmler, may sure this isn't it.
May 01, 2010 Scott rated it liked it
Apr 24, 2014 Glen rated it it was amazing
Provides interesting insights into the life and death of Himmler ... From chicken farmer to architect and leader of the SS ...
Apr 02, 2012 Alex rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Great book on the duel personalities of the man who was the most wanted war criminal second to Hitler himself.
Garrett Curry
May 17, 2010 Garrett Curry rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, biographies
Personally, I thought this book was well prepared. It illuminates a lot about not only Heinrich Himmler, but also about the Third Reich that I didn't already know. Very informative.
Mari Stroud
Jun 30, 2013 Mari Stroud rated it liked it
Just give me the facts. Your psychological insights ain't that deep, bro.
Meghan Hasselberg-Reitz
Longggg read. But decent book for any WWII buff to read!
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