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Valkyrie: The Plot to Kill Hitler

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  552 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
Along with his brother Georg, Philipp von Boeselager joined a group of conspirators in a plot to kill Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. In 'Valkyrie' he shares the story of his audacious attempt to influence the course of history.
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Weidenfeld and Nicolsen (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,025)
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Janet
Jun 13, 2009 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Probably the single most important book I’ve read so far this year. Not because it was fascinating, or well-written, or had lots of gory details, but because it made me think. I got a “Germans bad, Nazis worse, be glad they lost” version of WW2 in my history classes. We never (to my knowledge) looked past the Nazi party to see the “real” Germany. After I read von Boeselager’s work, I realized that first of all, not all Germans were Nazis. And second, the vast majority of Germans weren’t even awa ...more
Mansuriah Hassan
This is a memoir of Philipp von Boeselager, who is the last surviving member of the 1944 Bomb Plot to assassinate Hitler. It seem to me to be ghost written.

The plot is just a relatively simple memoir illuminating a faction of the German Wehrmacht and one influential militaristic family. It becomes readily clear that Philipp's role was very much an external one, so he doesn't have much to say that is of general interest. I felt that the plot to kill Hitler is barely mentioned in the book. The me
...more
Horia Bura
This is not another book about the plot to kill Hitler, known as Operation Valkyrie. It's much more than that; this book is the testimony of one of the millions of soldiers who took part in the greatest war humankind has ever known, a soldier who was wounded five times, including shot twice, a Wehrmacht officer who puts aside any cowardice or desire to play innocent by recognizing that even since 1942 he had heard of cold-blooded crimes against minorities such as gypsies and Hebrews. And that, m ...more
Michael Gerald
Apr 14, 2013 Michael Gerald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
During the Second World War, amid the conflagration, death, and destruction, there were a few German soldiers who had the guts to stand up to Hitler and tried their best to resist and put an end to his and his minions' abomination.

Philipp von Boeselager and his brother, Georg, were two such men. Both were officers in the Wehrmacht (the German army). They were upright, competent officers and devout Catholics who were revolted by the Nazis' atrocities against so-called undesirables, including Cath
...more
Suzanne Stroh
Jun 11, 2014 Suzanne Stroh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, top-shelf, wwii
A tale of moral courage that had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Could not put it down.

This is the gripping memoir of a young, dutiful German cavalry officer on the eastern front in World War II. Raised in privilege with a military heritage, educated in military academies and religious institutions, he is the model soldier. But war holds no glamor. First disillusioned, and then outraged, he feels torn between his duty to his freezing, starving men and their horses...and his duty
...more
Jen Jenson
Jan 20, 2012 Jen Jenson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommend. Wow, this had not been what I had expected at all, although I'm not 100% sure what I had expected. It was a good read. The story line flowed very well. Although the author was German, the english grammer was fantastic. I have read a handful of accounts of world war two and heard first hand stories from my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother of their experiences in the war. Normally you get accounts such as Anne Frank, or American Soldiers (such as my grandfather), ...more
Robert
May 13, 2009 Robert rated it really liked it
What a brilliant book.

A fascinating personal story by the last surviving Valkyrie plotter, Philipp Von Boeselager.

What motivated him, and a surprising number of other senior German officers, to try and kill Hitler - again and again from 1942 onwards? A surprising mix of an aristocratic dislike for the Nazis, deep religious feeling particularly Catholic, shock at the brutal and unlawful activities of the SS and SD behind the lines. Boeselager describes his own turning point, when he realised tha
...more
Katie
May 10, 2014 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Umm...I think I would have liked this book more if it had a more accurate title; as it was, I came away feeling completely misled. About 95% of the narrative recounts the author's and his brother's experience in the war as German military men. There is hardly any in-depth detail about the actual plot(s) to kill Hitler and they're really only mentioned in passing. It was interesting, though, to hear about the separatist mentality between the military and the Nazis. I'd always assumed that the two ...more
Abby Jones
Jun 17, 2015 Abby Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book from the perspective of the story I'm writing, because I have a character who is on the "wrong" side of the war and decides to stay because of his men. Philip Boeselager was in the cavalry in WW2 under the command of his brother part of the time and also part of the plot to assassinate Hitler. He didn't flee the country. He didn't abandon his men. But he also didn't stand by while horrible things where happening.

Told by the last living member of Operation Valkyrie, thi
...more
Adam
Mar 29, 2014 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
Written by the last surviving member of the group of German officers responsible for the now famous Valkyrie conspiracy to kill Hitler, this book serves as the effective autobiography for Boselager. It chronicles his experience with the rise of Hitler, the onset of WWII, and finally his part in the German resistance movement. Overall, I enjoyed my experience of listening to this book. Boselager used a clear, detail oriented style of writing that served his story well. Such a style served me well ...more
Nicki
Feb 08, 2014 Nicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History entusiastic personal. True stories.
This book is about the failed attempt of the assassination of Hitler, operation Valkyrie. Or so I thought when I brought this book at Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany.

It turned out to be mainly about the military duties of Philipp and Georg von Boesselager over their WWII careers. The book is very much a description of military life for the two brothers who served in the Cavalry Brigade on mainly the Eastern Front, trying to take Russia during the latter part of WWII. Both men were involved
...more
Matt Mendenhall
This book did not live up to my expectations. While Von Boeselager lived an interesting life, as evidenced by being the last survivor of those who plotted the assassination of Hitler, the book in which he tells his story falls flat. Instead of focusing in on the plot and failed attempts, the book largely focuses on his time, and the time of his older brother, during WWII. The failed attempts are treated as mere afterthoughts to the war action each brother saw.
Norhan K kamal
Nov 11, 2014 Norhan K kamal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title here was misleading, this was not a story about the plot to kill Hitler, this was an autobiography of a soldier & his brother during Second World War, who were both involved in operation Valkyrie. However, I'm glad to have read this, it gave me a completely different perspective for Germany's army during hitler's reign. All I've read before about the massacres against Jews & gypsies by Hitler never explained what the soldiers felt then & whether they supported him or went a ...more
Dawn
Jul 08, 2015 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book because it really brings a personal feel to the German side of World War II. Philipp had a small but necessary part in the conspiracy just like each contributor did. He and Georg did wonderful as a team to help with the design. I would recommend this book to other people.
Joseph Scavone
Book was not really about the Valkyrie plot and I'm sure it was titled that due to the movie with Tom Cruise. What the book was actually about is an officer's account of the war. Von Boeselager was from high society in Germany which does provide a unique viewpoint. He was on the periphery of the "Valkyrie" plot, but he was so removed that he was never implicated. I came away with the opinion that Von Boeselager loved his country, and was a brave and admirable officer in the German army. Much of ...more
Bill Fuhry
Quick read. History is written by the winners, so we don't get this point of view too often. An interesting look at the Nazi war machine and its shortsighted, violent leadership as told by decorated officers who genuinely considered themselves German patriots.

The stories about the Russians on the eastern front is one most have heard before. Cruel. Savage. And absolutely overwhelming in number of bodies thrown at the Germans, who found themselves sandwiched between the Soviet masses and a Berlin
...more
Rachel
Feb 23, 2014 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short book (only 170 pages) opened my eyes to the difference between the German Army and the SS during the Second World War. I was not particularly interested in all the descriptions of military manoeuvres, but I was intrigued to learn about what had brought the conspirators to the point where they wanted to assassinate Hitler. Von Boeselager explains how he and his brother were not members of the Nazi party; they were fighting for their country that they loved and they were horrified to le ...more
dejah_thoris
I liked it but it's not my favorite WW2 memoir. Not sure if was the audiobook format or just the writing but it felt a little dry. The main story is definitely worth reading but the author also goes on some tangents too. Though he does remind you after the first one that the war was still raging, so it's not like his team could just drop their mission to secretly kill Hitler, which is a valid counterargument to those individuals who wonder why they didn't pursue the assassination more aggressive ...more
Clement Ting
The plot was rather dull but that could be perhaps I was putting too much hope that it would be as good as the movie, and having the plot revolve around Stauffenberg.

Instead, this book touches about 80% on how Philipp and his brother, Georg went to war with the Russians, and from time to time mentioned VERY briefly on how much dislike they, and a few other conspirators here and there, found of Hitlers dealings towards war criminals and Jews. Then the next 10% was about the plot to kill Hitler,
...more
Ismael Galvan
Nov 18, 2014 Ismael Galvan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot to kill Hitler told by the last surviving member, how could anyone pass this one up? Part of me was expecting, hoping for the greatest historical account of modern time. What could be bigger than almost killing the evilest man who ever lived?

In this regard, the book highly disappointed me. I didn't find someone eager to share their story; it was the complete opposite. Like many war veterans, Phillip Von Boeselager is eager to forget. He would have happy to slip unceremoniously through l
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Janette
Mar 22, 2011 Janette rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I HATED this book. I thought I was going to read about the plot to kill Hitler and got a report on the heroic deeds of the German army (particularly two brothers). The more I read the more I got pissed. I did not want to hear how great a strategist our enemy was!! Every victory for them was killing our fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands and those of our allies.

He was a small player in the plot to kill Hitler if you can even call him a player, he supplied explosives. He was not informed of any
...more
Rebecca
Jun 09, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gripping and interesting insight into the life of a German soldier during the Second World War, touching on the plots to kill Hitler, and how Boeselager's experiences growing up serving in the German Amy influenced him to take this course of action.

It is not a blow-by-blow account of the assassination attempts like in history books, it is one man's journey, his love of his country and his hatred of those who served evil. Perhaps, then, the title is a tad misleading. It is a book that should b
...more
Mallory
Jun 24, 2012 Mallory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is a brief, factual accounting of an event in World War II, one that was ultimately unsuccessful but gives great enlightenment to how divisive Hitler's rule over Germany was. Operation Valkyrie was the last of a number of plots by German officers to assassinate Hitler and effect a coup. Reading Philipp von Boeselager's first-hand experiences is an eye-opening look into the mindset of these soldiers, how they felt about Hitler and how they perceived the war. They took great risks in attempti ...more
Jerome
May 12, 2012 Jerome rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, but relatively little specifically limited to Valkyrie is discussed. What makes the book so worthwhile for those interested in the period are several considerations. First, since the book is somewhat of an autobiography by von Boeselager we gain an invaluable perspective into how some old line German noble families felt about Hitler and the Nazi leadership, but also why despite these adverse feelings the Boeselager family nonetheless sacrificed two dead sons and nearly lost a third ...more
Kat
Dec 28, 2012 Kat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with one of the reviews on this book: yes, this was immensely interesting, but as there were a lot of military terminology and jargon, so I couldn't fully understand this book.

Moreover, the author made the conspiracy sound as if it's now a well known fact. Maybe it is, but I know nothing of it.

An example would be, there is a part where he explains about the escape or retreat, and then says that, "that even would then lead to what everyone knows," and then branch off to talk about somethi
...more
Don Weidinger
Aug 13, 2014 Don Weidinger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1923-26 executions 1934 Jesuit school virtuous pursuit then state demanded choice of religion or state, 37remove crucifix from schools, effort to be successful need to be compartmentalized, German resistance movement dared to risk everything including own life, 7.20.44 within months of inevitable 5.1.45 notice of Hdeath 5.8surrender, Russian land grab, 04 event commemorating French resistance, 3 things stay awake to political conscience respond to call know when to say no.
Rick Skwiot

“I had not become an officer in order to shoot the head of state like a dog,” writes Philipp Freiher von Boeselager in “Valkyrie.” Nonetheless, the aristocratic and fearless cavalry officer, in league with his brother and others, plots to do exactly that. This memoir by the then last living plotter gives a nuanced look at the officers’ struggles under Hitler and a chilling glimpse of life and death on the eastern front. But what struck me most was the impossible balancing act he and many other o
...more
Marc
Feb 25, 2016 Marc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had known that the officer corps of the German Army did not get like Hitler, but did not realize how much they despised him and the other Nazis. While Boeselager's account is a little sef-serving, there is no doubt that he and the others who tried to assasinate Hitler were dedicated officers and sickened by what they saw and heard of the SS atrocities. A very sobering and fascinating story.
Jivana Drenth
Dec 28, 2014 Jivana Drenth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Great book!

It's always nice to know the other sides of the story and not to judge too hastily by seeing through only one perspective, more even when we're merely spectators.

The descriptions were so profound that I could actually see myself in the battlefield. I really liked how honorable the soldiers of the Operation were, to die for a cause and for a friend. That doesn't happen anymore, it seems. There's this lack of "follow your principles" in most human beings.

This opened my eyes wider and wi
...more
Patrick
This is the Valkyrie story told from one of the plotters. He was not directly involved with the bomb plot, was given the duty to help with security in Berlin after the coup attempt. It is very interesting to hear the point of view of a German officer who was true to the army, but not a Nazi. He portrayed that the army was true to Germany and many were religious and ethical men. While the Nazis were amoral monsters.
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Operation Valkyrie 2 4 Jun 22, 2013 03:39PM  
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2843559
Last surviving member of the 20th July 1944 conspiracy to blow up Adolf Hitler.

Von Boeselager was to order his troops in Eastern-Europe to retreat to Berlin and to take over crucial parts of the city.

Also von Boeselager was involved in an earlier attempt in 1943, when he planned to shoot Himmler and Hitler. But when Himmler left Hitler`s company, the risk was to big that Himmler would succeed Hitl
...more
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