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Adolf Hitler

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,063 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian John Toland’s classic, definitive biography of Adolf Hitler remains the most thorough, readable, accessible, and, as much as possible, objective account of the life of a man whose evil effect on the world in the twentieth century will always be felt.

Toland’s research provided one of the final opportunities for a historian to conduct persona
Paperback, 1120 pages
Published December 1st 1991 by Anchor (first published 1976)
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Adam Gossman The Weimar Republic Sourcebook by Anton Kaes. It's a wonderful anthology of pre-WWII post-WWI writings! These two volumes by Toland I am finding…moreThe Weimar Republic Sourcebook by Anton Kaes. It's a wonderful anthology of pre-WWII post-WWI writings! These two volumes by Toland I am finding wonderful in it's scope. Also, don't forget the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer, famed journalist of the day. (less)

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May 12, 2009 Kate rated it it was amazing
At 1,035 pages, they weren't screwing around when they decided to call this book "the definitive biography." I can pretty much tell you what Hitler ate for breakfast everyday between 1933 and 1945 (for instance, on April 30th, 1945 he ate a bullet).

A few months back, I picked up a biography of Diana Mitford, wife of Sir Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, and close friend of Adolf Hitler. In its entirety, the book was relatively dull, but I was captivated by Mitford's cha
Paul Bryant
Aug 31, 2010 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing
Shelves: worldwar2
(updated with further nasty comment)

Hitler was the world's greatest motivational speaker. You go to one of his meetings and he gives you astonishing dreams, and he gives you permissions. Next day, you see an old Jew in the street. Last week, you wanted to give him a kick. Today, you actually do that, right there, and he falls over. But a policeman was watching you the whole time. Sheiss! Now you're in for it. You look up from the Jew and meet his eyes. He laughs briefly and shrugs, and walks on.
Lewis Weinstein
Sep 29, 2015 Lewis Weinstein rated it it was amazing
This is one of the very best accounts of the Nazi period. I have now read the sections covering 1932-33 which tell the story of Hitler's rise to the Chancellorship, including who helped him and why.
Apr 28, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: World War II Buffs, History students, History buffs
Recommended to Michael by: Serendipity
Although it's not perfect, I've rated this book five stars because it has served so long as my "go-to" reference on Hitler. Toland avoids a lot of the mistakes of popular treatments of Hitler’s life by being very careful about his sources, and making use of (and cross-referencing) interviews with surviving witnesses on a large scale. Particularly in terms of reconstructing Hitler’s early life, he presents a far more convincing narrative than Alan Bullock had, although of course the uncertainty o ...more
Erik Graff
Jan 01, 2013 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WWII fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
My first substantial adult reading experience at age ten was Shirer's Rise & Fall of the Third Reich. Dad had served in both theatres--indeed, almost everyone's father had served in WWII or Korea in our government-assisted community in Lake County, Illinois. The War, wars in general, were very much on my mind, on our minds, during childhoods endured through the centennial years of our own civil war.

The Cold War was of primary concern. Like everyone else, I feared the Russians and Chinese. Th
David A
Jun 22, 2012 David A rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-ii
“Adolf Hitler” (Ballantine Books, 1st September 1986 edition) by John Toland is probably my favourite history biography. It is a masterful detailed and absorbing account of the life of the most evil figure of modern world history. I read it 25 years ago when I was a 14 year old school boy, having been given an assignment to do for history class. When I came across it in our school library, and I spent the next few weeks reading it. Every spare minute I got I dived back in and was engrossed until ...more
Nov 12, 2008 Dpwarzyn rated it it was amazing
Dismissed by some historians, Toland produces here the most objective biography of Hitler imaginable. Rooted on the solid ground of interviews with former Nazis living in hiding and unaccessible to other historians, makes a case for sour grapes.

Further, most people are very comfortable condemning Hitler as the devil, or some such reincarnation. However, if you want to meet the man, experience what he experienced, see him as he saw himself, then this is the book for you.

Toland employs a device
Thar Lun Myat
Mar 09, 2015 Thar Lun Myat rated it it was amazing
This book was about a life of a stubborn and cruel man, Adolf Hitler. He started to make his dreams come true. He made the most destructive war in history all because Germany lost one war before he became the fuhrer.
Mar 18, 2008 Arminius rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I can not believe that there is a better book available that covers the second most written about man in human history –Adolph Hitler. His chronicled life shows not only his evil prejudices but also his normal side. Toland gives plausible reasons for Hitler’s anti-Semitism. He exposes lies spread about Hitler such as his refusal to shake Jesse Owens hand after Owens’ Olympic victory. Very good and surprisingly funny anecdotes are incorporated such as Hitler’s crazy cousin spreading pamphlets cla ...more
Richard Fulgham
Nov 18, 2008 Richard Fulgham rated it really liked it
I believe you trust Toland. I checked out his sources. He seems to be truthful. Fascinating book! Good read.
Nov 17, 2010 Matt rated it it was amazing
Toland's extensive biography of Hitler is, in a word, unbelievable. No aspect of the guy's life goes untouched and it is told in a very easy-to-read fashion.

The book focuses solely on Hitler, so if you wanted an overview of the Holocaust in general you won't find it in here. In fact, during the war the book focuses more on war tactics and strategy than the humanitarian crisis in the Third Reich. It sheds some light on Himmler, but given that the Fuhrer essentially told Himmler how to take care o
Mar 27, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: historical bio readers
If you ever wanted to read 900 pages about one of the most evil, if not the most evil person ever to live, this is the book for you. This book goes into painstaking detail about the lives of his parents and grandparents, his childhood, young adulthood as a struggling artist and in the German army, and his rise in the National Socialist (Nazi) party in Germany, and how he began to amass control of Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc. What I liked about this book is that it is so incredi ...more
Jan 05, 2014 Stinger rated it liked it
Shelves: history, biography
How does one positively rate a biography on the most hated person of the 20th century? If the story is narrated like a novel and contains fruitful lessons, it is possible. And this is the case with John Toland's work on Adolf Hitler. I must admit, it was not a carelessly light read. While the story is easily engaging, I felt the heaviness its historic implications upon the Jewish people (among other targeted populations) as I read. The benefit of studying the man behind the infamous name is lear ...more
Przemek Skwiercz
Nov 03, 2014 Przemek Skwiercz rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-e-books
Bardzo dobrze napisana ksiazka. Mimo ponad tysiaca stron druku nie ma nudnych fragmentow. Nie jestesmy rowniez zasypywani danymi statystycznymi. Widzimy A.H. jako osobe a nie monumentalna postac historyczna. Moim zdaniem ta biografia jest lepsza niz klasyczne juz "Studium tyrani". Niestety widac ze ksiazka powstala w latach 70-tych i powiela wiele mitow (po Bullock'u) jak np. czesciowo zydowskie korzenia A.H. Osoby zainteresowane wspolczesnym stanem wiedzy o A.H. powinny siegnac po ksiazki Werne ...more
Yong Lee
Jul 26, 2015 Yong Lee rated it really liked it
A monumental masterpiece. I'm sorry I waited so long to read it.
Dec 01, 2015 Mike rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, horrifying, and illuminating. While this book is a beast at 900 big pages, somehow it doesn't feel overly long or unnecessarily detailed, perhaps because nearly everything that Toland discusses is relevant in illustrating how Adolf Hitler became the "HITLER" that we all despise. While I could have used a bit more context on the overall state of Germany after WWI and how that contributed to the rise of Hitler's National Socialist party, I thought that this book did an incredible job ...more
Jun 05, 2015 judy rated it it was amazing
I'm just a teeny bit uncomfortable giving this five stars because--of all reasons--it was too complete and too easy to read (all 1000+ pages) Still, the cast of characters around Hitler was not that large. Many of them lived to tell their tales. Also, Hitler wasn't secretive around his top lieutenants. In other words, there could be several witnesses to a conversation. Toland's interview list is impressive. I love Rise and Fall of the Third Reich but this is something very different. It attempts ...more
May 03, 2015 Adam rated it really liked it
Thorough and not hysterical.

Too much is written about Hitler that supposes he was some kind of one balled, demoniac, lunatic.

This book never shies away from the facts of the holocaust and Hitler's complete personal, and over-riding guilt for it; but at the same time records that he was capable of acting with honour, could be kind to his office staff and was not a paedophile or a Satanist or raving madman.

It records that he lost control of his reason and grip on reality on the end, that he made
Apr 01, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
This is a heroic undertaking. Probably for reasons of available archival material, the book transitions from fascinating character study of Hitler-as-youth to much drier account of Hitler-as-Macchiavellian-schemer.

The rise of the Nazi party -- never inevitable and genuinely improbably as the outset -- is fascinating given contemporary anti-Immigration politics in Germany. Much more than the "inflation then Nazis" account rendered in high school textbooks, tracking Hitler's movements allows us t
Cloie Kim
What I thought about this book is that it is quite neutral. Which is a good thing, I've found out. To write without feeling getting in the way, is a feat. Especially considering it's Hitler, people don't tend to like him all that much. Either way, Mr. Toland described Hitler's early life beautifully. I say early life, because I haven't finished the book yet. I went to as far as his army days, before a dreaded enemy of mine came along. Politics. As such I don't have much of a review, but I really ...more
May 29, 2015 Muhamed rated it really liked it
"All is lost, hopelessly lost"

It wasn't until the last days of April 1945 that Adolf Hitler realised that fact, or at least publicly admitted it, It took him 12 years as a chancellor and as the "Fuhrer" of the German people, it took him over 60 million dead person to realise that the world won't coexist with National Socialism.

Through reading this book which brings the life of Hitler in detailed story like book, one analyse the reasons that caused the defeat of Germany in WWII, is it the stubbor
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Early (1976) comprehensive and definitive biography of Hitler. Well done but so depressing in content and import that I can't rate it a classic.

Hitler appears more human, more pathetic, and more culpable for his behavior and his results. Toland leaves no doubt as he marshals the documentary evidence that the "final solution" to the 'Jewish problem" (total annihilation) was not a side-tracking of the Hitler (and Party , and German nation, there was no distinction as he moved into power) plan.

It s
Dec 15, 2008 Sammy rated it really liked it
This book gives a detailed history of Adolf Hitler like no other book I have read. It discusses in depth his dislike for Jewish Zionists, and how he didn't hate the Jews just for the sake of hating. It is lengthy, but it certainly disproves the current myth of Hitler as a mindless buthcer propogated by the Zionist-Western press.
Mar 12, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
Good book for someone interested in WWII but for anyone else it's too long to suffer through. I loved it though.
Brian Durfee
Jun 16, 2014 Brian Durfee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At well over 1000 pgs, completely amazing (not the man, Hitler, but this book). I was totally engrossed in this bio--as if I was reading an actual novel/thriller. Having been to Germany and Austria, and having visited some of the terrain and sights and locations, I felt immersed in this bio from the opening scenes. Plus this was written and published some years back, the author able to interview hundreds of folks who actually knew Hitler (that in itself makes this the definitive Hitler history o ...more
Dec 24, 2007 Christina rated it really liked it
Everyone should know the workings of a truly evil mind so that it can be recognized and stopped
David Shinabarger
Dec 10, 2014 David Shinabarger rated it it was amazing
First of all, this gives great detail into Hitler's personal life, as well as the greater political actions of WWII.

Second, and best of all, it is written very creatively and many of the scenes read like you are reading a fictional action account. The scene of Skorzeny rescuing Mussolini comes to mind, as well as Hitler's end with colleagues in the bunker.

While a very long book, for anyone interested in learning about Germany before and during WWII, as well as about Hitler himself, this is the
Dec 16, 2015 Shera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an incredibly detailed look at Hitler's entire life. I found it easy to read and very interesting - as it refreshed a lot of history in my mind and clarified events that can be misconstrued by the many conspiracy theories surrounding Nazi Germany. It's written as a history and remains above emotionally influencing the reader with the atrocities being reported... which made the whole situation even more dark to me. This kind of presentation is how we understand current events around ...more
Dec 16, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is superb biography, published in 1976, some 30 years after Hitler's death and based on massive research and superior writing by this Pulitzer Prize-winning author. There are such personal items as Hitler being a vegetarian, having a photographic memory, and being the central architect of the Jewish "Final Solution" using "some methods inspired by the US subjugation of the American Indian." (Does that mean forced relocation?)

Fortunately I have the 2nd instead of the 1st volume of this massi
Christopher Telcontar
Dec 06, 2014 Christopher Telcontar rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2
There are any number of serious, well researched Hitler bios in print, and there are several that are middling or downright awful. This is the third full length bio of Hitler that I've tackled, and I find it the most appealing, the others being Bullock's Study In Tyranny and Kershaw's two volume Hitler. Bullock's is a bit dated now, I think, and he did not have the depth of current research now available on the Third Reich, while Kershaw's, while excellent in many respects, is for me too narrowl ...more
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John Willard Toland (June 29, 1912 in La Crosse, Wisconsin - January 4, 2004 in Danbury, Connecticut) was an American author and historian. He is best known for his biography of Adolf Hitler.[1]

Toland tried to write history as a straightforward narrative, with minimal analysis or judgment. This method may have stemmed from his original goal of becoming a playwright. In the summers between his coll
More about John Willard Toland...

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