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Hitler, Vol 2: 1936-1945 Nemesis (Hitler #2)

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  2,943 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The New Yorker declared the first volume of Ian Kershaw's two-volume masterpiece "as close to definitive as anything we are likely to see," and that promise is fulfilled in this stunning second volume. As Nemesis opens, Adolf Hitler has achieved absolute power within Germany and triumphed in his first challenge to the European powers. Idolized by large segments of the popu ...more
Paperback, 1168 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by W.W. Norton & Company (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

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Adolf Hitler is the greatest car-wreck in human history. We cannot not now, nor will we ever, be able to look away. He dominated and shaped an entire century. As a world-historical figure, he has to be near the top of the list in terms of ultimate impact.

He just beats all. His look-at-me-ness is ineffable.

How can you describe Hitler?

He is one part black comedy. A twisted, diminutive figure with an ugly mustache, halitosis, and a bombastically spastic style of speaking that has been ripe for p
Michael Dorosh
It's a great book, but it isn't about Hitler. It is more a social history of the Third Reich, and taken as that, Kershaw does a creditable job. As for revealing Hitler's psyche, decision making processes, or anything of the like, we see very little of that revealed. Many of the important people in the Hitler court are not even discussed, and Eva Braun is a minor character - indeed, she may have been in actual fact, but in a book about his life one would expect to see her given more attention. Th ...more
Czarny Pies
Aug 30, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History buffs
Recommended to Czarny by: Antony Beevor, Norman Davies
Shelves: european-history
One gets the eerie feeling reading the second volume of Ian Kershaw's biography of Hitler "Nemesis" that one is learning nothing new. The man remains exactly as he was at the end of the first volume. Having acquired the means by to pursue his strange goals by becoming Reich Chancellor, he sets out to do so. Neither his initial successes or his ultimate nemesis seem to affect him. His personality and methods do not alter as the horrendous events occur. He remains true to his monstrous self throug ...more
I read this in an effort to understand Hitler, and to understand how so many atrocities could have been committed. How did normal people do the things some of the Nazis did?

Mostly, I finished feeling saddened. The answers to those questions were: they believed in what they were doing. Some because Hitler was persuasive. Others just because they wanted the power and Hitler's government created a space for such men to do whatever they wanted.

I had never understood how widespread euthanasia was. P
An amazing book and a fascinating read but leaves you feeling a strangely hollow at the end. The companion to Kershaw's landmark first volume covering Hitler's rise to power, this book shows how the "hubris" that drove Hitler's successes ultimately turned to "nemesis" that led to the deaths of millions and the eventual downfall of the Nazis. I give the book five stars because of the incredibly thorough, readable and intelligent way it provides a masterful history of what transpired during those ...more
So I only read 650 pages of this 900 pager. The library was after my head after it was over-due for like a decade. Mistake # 1 - I read this book while I was reading others, so it never had my full attention. I also found this one to be a bit more on the military side. Rightly so - the time period encompasses the span of WW2 - but I wanted less tanks more dissection of crazy Hitler. Kershaw is still amazing - the research that must have went into this book is mind boggling. Looking forward to pi ...more
Marik Casmon
1600 pages of Hitler biography. I kept reading faster and faster. The story flowed like a river, albeit a fetid one. The bio focuses almost entirely on Hitler's political career, asserting that Hitler was simply obsessed with politics. I was convinced, as well as fascinated throughout.
Kai Palchikoff
The New Yorker declared the first volume of Ian Kershaw's two-volume masterpiece 'as close to definitive as anything we are likely to see,' and that promise is fulfilled in this stunning second volume. As Nemesis opens, Adolf Hitler has achieved absolute power within Germany and triumphed in his first challenge to the European powers. Idolized by large segments of the population and firmly supported by the Nazi regime, Hitler is poised to subjugate Europe. Nine years later, his vaunted war machi ...more
The second part of the most comprehensive work on the life of the twentieth centuries great monsters. He took the world to war and killed millions of people so very sad. This book gives the most detailed and informative look at this man's life and the damage he did.
Michael Mcclanahan
Great historical narrative of the rise and fall of Hitler during WWII and how his paranoia and lack of trust in anyone led to his demise. Read both volumes, it is worth the read if you are a history buff.
Kershaw concludes his definitive study of Hitler, taken the story from the remilitarization of the Rhineland, which Kershaw identifies as the point where Hitler's power and authority became virtually unquestioned, at least openly, to his suicide in the bunker under Berlin. As with his first volume, Kershaw maintains a balance between Hitler's personality and actions and the attitudes of the German people who supported (or much more rarely, resisted, him). With the outbreak of World War II, Hitle ...more
Quite possibly the best biography of Hitler ever. Even if it should really be classed as a "life and times" rather than a strict biography of just an individual. Indeed, this is a quality which allows the full web of Nazi society to be revealed and partial answers avoided. The world didn't tumble into chaos because of one man mesmerising a country; nor did the war occur because all Germans were die-hard Nazis wanting glory; nor was the war an accident or due to appeasement/not enough appeasement ...more
..... a rough and rookie review of.....

Volume 2 of the absolute best biography of the Nazi leader.

This volume puts us in the passenger seat for the ride with Hitler as he bullies and out wits the leaders of the European countries where he seeks his "lebensraum" in the east and conquers the European countries in the west. All the while "evacuating" Jews and any others that he considers "Untermenschen". The enslavement of Poles, extermination of Jews, Sinta & Roma, Soviet PW's,through the bu
Mentiría si dijera que ha resultado ser una biografía fácil de leer. La primera parte, la que abarca la vida de Hitler desde su nacimiento hasta el año 1936, casi acabó con mi paciencia. Por dos motivos. Por la textura de sus páginas, similares a las de una Biblia, que a su vez provocaba que me encontrara en una espiral acompañada de un chiflado egocéntrico cuyas ínfulas parecían no tener fin. Cuando la terminé estaba tan cansada del dictador que me tomé unos meses de descanso.

Al empezar la segu
This book, along with volume 1, is amazing piece of work--exhaustive and at times exhausting, but for the most part eminently readable. The opening paragraph, from volume 1, is indicative of Kershaw's talent: "The first of many good strokes of fortune for Adolf Hitler took place thirteen years before he was born. In 1876, the man who was to become his father changed his name from Alois Schicklgruber to Alois Hitler....Certainly, 'Heil Schicklgruber' would have sounded an unlikely salutation to a ...more
Ian Kershaw chose well when he picked the titles "Hubris" and "Nemesis" for his two volume biography of Adolf Hitler. Thanks to the impact of Greek myths on the way we in the West see the world, it seems in retrospect inevitable that the seemingly impossible rise of this "ill-educated beer hall demagogue and racist bigot" requires an equally shattering and spectacular collapse. Hitler was, as shown in the biography, a sucker for such imagery, refusing to consider any fate for himself or his peop ...more
Paul Eccles
The conclusion of this epic biography of Hitler (1600 pages in total!), was just as gripping as the first half. More of a general history of the 3rd reich, with some vignettes of the man. It taught me a few things: There is no doubt that Hitler was the one who ordered the Jews to be murdered - despite the lack of documentation to "prove" that he did. Read this book and it's incontrovertible.

The many myths surrounding Hitler and the 3rd reich as well as the details are very well examined and exp
The second part of the two volume set of Ian Kershaw's biography of Adolf Hitler. This deals with the time period of 1936-1945. The year he led Germany into war and invaded and conquered many of the European countries and led to the defeat of Germany in 1945 in which he committed suicide in an underground bunker in Berlin.
Omar Leal
Thoroughly interesting biography about Hitler from his early life, through his last days in the bunker. Suffice it to say, not a lot of sh*ts and giggles, but I did appreciate the way the author attempted to present as unbiased a recounting as possible. Obviously Hitler is someone that it is hard to be on the fence about but the author does a good job of separating the events as they occurred and his own commentary on the events themselves. Overall the most important idea he presents is the idea ...more
Kersaw's range of knowledge, depth of research, and ability to synthesize is a gift to anyone interested in the topic. He conjures the subject is all his repulsiveness but keeps the story moving forward clearly and compellingly.
Terrence Crimmins
A blow by blow description of Hitler's all or nothing gamble that almost destroyed the country he valued so much.
Katharine Holden
Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis is an excellent work of true historical research and overview. I recommend it highly. Volume 2 of Kershaw's history of Hitler and his times is as good as the first volume. This is not a book of melodramatic speculations. I was fascinated by Kershaw's analysis of the phrase "working towards the Fuhrer and his goals," and similar phrases which he found many times in the written documentation by decision-makers who lacked specific, detailed directions from Hitler. It's an ...more
Eli Kale
I used this very in-depth and detailed book by Ian Kershaw for my undergraduate thesis, and it did not leave me short on information. The author does a fantastic job of bringing the past to life, making it understandable for contemporary readers. The narrative never really gets long-winded because many facts, figures, and other interesting things pepper the text. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in WW2 history, but more so interested in history of the Third Reich and of Hitler.
Spoiler alert: Hitler dies in the end.
Andrew Attaway
See my remarks on volume one.
Jeroen Berndsen
Hèt standaardwerk over Hitler, samen met deel 1 (1889-1945 Vergelding), alle historici zijn het er bijna over eens.[return][return]Als je twijfelt zoek maar eens op internet, niets dan lof, dit is de meest complete biografie die er is. Natuurlijk mag dat ook wel met in totaal meer dan 2000 bladzijden, maar dan heb je ook wat. Wil je je daar niet doorheen 'worstelen' raad ik Bullock, Maser, Haffner of Fest aan. Voor een historiografische kijk: John Lukacs' Hiler of History.
Jason Townsend
While this book was an amazing technical achievement, and it's author beyond knowledgeable, it was a very difficult read.

not only was it technical but the descriptions of atrocities committed by Germany and of war itself were difficult to get through.

that said I highly recommend both volumes of this work to anyone interested in the history of world war 2 and or the nazi regime in particular.
James Huston
I don't think I ever expected to read 1700 pages of biography of Adolph Hitler, but I'm glad I did. First, I love a well written biography, and this is as well written as you could hope to find on Hitler. Second, I needed to truly understand HItler, or try, for the novel I am just completing. There was no better way that Kershaw's two volume report. Highly recommended.
David Bird
For me, Kershaw's most important achievement lies in creating a plausible model of how Hitler's power was exercised, how the dictator could be at one level responsible, at another removed, and how individuals internalized their own sense of 'working toward the Fuehrer.' Hitler is necessary, but not sufficient, for the crimes in his name.
I read this and Vol 1 back to back and am glad to have this endurance test over no matter how informative the book was about Hitler and his character (or lack of) as well as the most informative book I've read about Nazi Germany. I'd suggest both volumes for anyone willing to dedicate the time for 2000 pages of reading to the subject.
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Professor Sir Ian Kershaw is a British historian, noted for his biographies of Adolf Hitler.
Ian Kershaw studied at Liverpool (BA) and Oxford (D. Phil). He was a lecturer first in medieval, then in modern, history at the University of Manchester. In 1983-4 he was Visiting Professor of Modern History at the Ruhr University in Bochum, West Germany. From 1987 to 1989 he was Professor of Modern Histor
More about Ian Kershaw...

Other Books in the Series

Hitler (2 books)
  • Hitler, Vol 1: 1889-1936 Hubris
Hitler, Vol 1: 1889-1936 Hubris Hitler The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany 1944-45 Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World, 1940-1941 The Hitler Myth: Image and Reality in the Third Reich

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