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The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  260 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
The Nazi regime was essentially a religious cult relying on the hypnotic personality of Adolf Hitler, and it was fated to die with him. But while it lasted, his closest lieutenants competed ferociously for power and position as his chosen successor. This peculiar leadership dynamic resulted in millions of deaths and some of the worst excesses of World War II. The Devil's D ...more
Paperback, 1008 pages
Published June 17th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2003)
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Aug 30, 2014 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, biography
Whew! What a crew! 923 pages worth! What makes it grimly worthwhile is that Read is an excellent writer who has an eye for the character or period revealing anecdote. At times this can be quite dramatic, even cinematic, when packaged in Read's flowing prose. An early example that caught my eye was when Goering met his first wife, Carin, in 1920. On a dare, Goering, the war ace, flies a nobleman to a castle, lands on a frozen lake during a blizzard, and decides to stay the night. Goering, a fan o ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Sep 12, 2009 Jill Hutchinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, wwi-wwii
This 900+ page book delves into the machinations of the Third Reich's most dangerous men, the four acolytes of Hitler and their mad grasp for power. It is not so much a history of the war but more an insight into what the usual history books don't tell us regarding the in-fighting and paranoia of Himmler, Goring, Goebbles, and Ribbentrop. Based on letters, meeting minutes and the testimony of Goring at the Nuremburg Trials, it is a magnificent telling of how these men rose to power and fought to ...more
Dec 16, 2013 Pirate rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with interest in World War II and a wider audience
Recommended to Pirate by: Geoffrey Hughes
A masterpiece. I would give it 10 stars but not possible here five being the limit. The best book of many very good ones I have read this year. Superbly written so that the 900+ pages don't seem long enough. Brilliant insight into the paladins who surrounded Hitler and shocking in the sheer ordinariness of Himmler, the pomposity and stupdity of Hitler's 'new Bismarck' von Ribbentrop 'he married his money and bought his title' was Goebbels's acidic remark about him and the hysterical poisonous li ...more
Katherine Addison
Massive (nine hundred plus pages), extremely readable history of the second-tier Nazis: Göring, Goebbels, Himmler, Ribbentrop, Heydrich, Bormann. After finishing this, I never want to hear anybody going on about how men are more rational than women and aren't controlled by their emotions and all the rest of that chauvinist bullshit, because these guys? In-fighting and backbiting and temper tantrums and hysterics . . . no set of teenage girls could be worse.

Read has an unfortunate tendency to acc
Apr 23, 2013 Fraser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read quite a few different historical books on Nazism, WWII and various battles I wasn't sure how I would take to this book.

Read gets into the mind-set of national socialism, the cult of personality, the quasi religious fanaticism, militarism the lot. He goes as far as to suggest that many competed for the attentions and approval of the Fuhrer and gives many examples of the competitive nature of the 'inner circle'. I found all of these aspects fascinating, Read's attention to detail never
Gail Hedlund
May 27, 2014 Gail Hedlund rated it really liked it
Long read, thought at times I was packing around a dictionary. Gave me the idea that maybe e-books would be the way to go on this one. However, it was a really interesting book. I learned a great deal about Hitler & his inner circle. What I still didn't get is what made him such a hypnotic person that people would basically sell their souls, families & freedom to follow him. Course I guess that could be said about people like Jim Jones of the People's Temple.

What I also found interesting
Feb 02, 2010 Keith rated it liked it
finding the first part of the book to be hard to follow, with all the different political parties and individuals..I also didn't realize that the Nazi's conflicted so much with the Communists and unions. The book would have been aided by some maps that showed the location of many of the towns / regions mentioned throughout the fact, I'm not sure why more books don't include maps that at least pinpoint each of the obscure (and sometimes renamed) places. I found myself having to consult ...more
Let me first begin by saying that Anthony Read has done an outstanding job in giving a history about Hitler's most trusted men! A lot of the information is information I had never read before and found it very interesting. The 900+ book follows the lives and careers of Hermann Goring, a classic case of never wanting to grow up; Joseph Goebbels, the biggest kiss up imaginable; and Heinrich Himmler, the man almost everyone underestimated. It is unbelievable about what happened in the inner circle ...more
Mar 09, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing
I've read many Nazi-era books, by many authors--some well known, others not so much. I'll get the niceties out of the way and say Ian Kershaw and William Shirer stand alone.

Read, though, writes a wonderful book. Very rich on the profiles of the leading Nazis that surrounded Hitler, then meshes them together to show how they created Nazi Germany and how they destroyed it in perfect biographical form.

If you want to become and expert on Nazi Germany but don't want to invest money or time, get a l
Aug 06, 2011 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I picked this up when I started Larson's In the Garden of Beasts.

It's a solid academic treatment of the subject and very informative. It really details the personalities of Hitler's lieutenants and helps one understand what kind of mindsets they had in the era of Nazi Germany.
Jan 22, 2012 Damián rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excelente relato que prologa desde la prisión en Nuremberg de los pocos cabecillas nazis atrapados tras la guerra y empieza desde el servicio de Hitler en la primera guerra mundial hasta su caida. Relata no solo datos biográficos e históricos de Hitler sino las maquinaciones, celos, envidias, juegos de poder y trampas de sus seguidores para ver quien se quedaba con parte del Tercer Reich cuando Hitler ya no estuviera.
Jun 18, 2012 Blake rated it it was amazing
An amazing understanding of how Hitler would never have become HITLER without the right setting created through the harsh restriction placed on Germany after WW1 and a very specific group of ambition men who were captivated and entranced in Hitlers carisma and believes that had been cultivated throughout his entire life.
Rick McNeely
Dec 18, 2008 Rick McNeely rated it it was amazing
Best work of its kind in decades. Not for the faint of heart, this is a fascinating history of the political machinations behind the Thousand Year Reich. The unintended parallels to the Bush-Cheney Era will make the well-informed queasy. First rate history.
Jan 15, 2011 Isabel rated it did not like it
Too many battles and too many details about stuff I didn't want to know about. I really wanted to hear more about their lives and not necessarily about their miliary feats. I guess that is a major part of what they were,but it was hard for me to finish it.
Joe Paulk
Mar 30, 2008 Joe Paulk rated it liked it
Shelves: have-read
Informative, but perhaps the author tried for too large a scope while leaving other things out. Their actual interactions with Hitler was not as well explored as the title would perhaps hint at.
Rick Hautala
Jan 15, 2011 Rick Hautala rated it it was amazing
It took me a while to read this massive book, but it was absolutely worth it. Fascinating (especially if you like rolling over logs and looking at squiggly bugs ... like Himmler ...)
A collection of biographies of several prominent figures of Nazi Germany. Gives a grudging admiration to Goering, and treats most the others as scum. Very interesting.
Oct 10, 2013 Bo added it
Very good book about Hitler's inner circle. I am fascinated by how respectable they come across while being monsters along the way. baffling.
Jun 17, 2009 Rachael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is, quite simply, flippin' fantastic! One of the best historical reference books I have ever read!
Diana Kullman
Lots of information over the 923 pages....
Katharine Holden
Aug 11, 2013 Katharine Holden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, full of detail.
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Anthony "Tony" Read (born 21 April 1935) is a British script editor, television writer and author. He was principally active in British television from the 1960s to the mid-1980s, although he occasionally contributed to televised productions until 1999. Starting in the 1980s, he launched a second career as a print author, concentrating largely on World War II histories. Since 2004 he has regularly ...more
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