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Eva Braun: Life with Hitler

3.09  ·  Rating details ·  771 ratings  ·  120 reviews
In this groundbreaking biography of Eva Braun, German historian Heike B. Görtemaker delves into the startlingly neglected historical truth about Adolf Hitler’s mistress. More than just the vapid blonde of popular cliché, Eva Braun was a capricious but uncompromising, fiercely loyal companion to Hitler; theirs was a relationship that flew in the face of the Führer’s proclam ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Knopf (first published February 9th 2010)
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3.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  771 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
The title of this book is incredibly misleading. What it should be called instead is, "People who Hung out with Hitler at his Mountain House and May or May Not Have Liked Eva Braun or Known Anything About Her and Hitler." Most of the book is more about the "circle" of people that were constantly around Hitler when he was staying at the Berghof. Most of them wrote memoirs after the war and all of them were interegated by allied troops and that is what most of the imformation is based on. The prob ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Mar 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: librarybooks
‘Who was this woman, actually, and what perspective does she open up onto this “criminal of the century”?’

Eva Anna Paula Braun was born on the 6th of February 1912, married Adolf Hitler on the night of April 28th 1945, and died on the 30th of April 1945. Eva Braun was the second of three daughters of Fritz Braun, a Munich school teacher and Franziska, a former seamstress, and met Hitler in the autumn of 1929. Hitler was apparently so taken with her that he immediately had her investigated to ma
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Eva Braun was a...
classy lady
Crazy bat shit woman who fell for an older man monster who murdered over 5 million people. That's about all I can say.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography, borrowed
German historian Heike B. Görtemaker faced a difficult task writing Eva Braun: Life with Hitler . There is little available by which to evaluate Braun. Any correspondence she had with Hitler has been destroyed or disappeared. The only extant diary consists of 10 entries in the first half of 1935. There are few contemporary descriptions of her. As a result, Görtemaker tries to piece together a picture of Braun through others.

Although Görtemaker relies on and cites a wealth of sources, some of
Hitler is alleged to have said to Albert Speer (Gortemaker's main source) "Lots of women are attracted to me because I am unmarried. That was especially our days of struggle. It's the same as with a movie actor; when he marries he loses a certain something for the women who adore him. Then he is no longer an idol as he was before" (162). This quote seems to sum up their relationship. They loved each other, but as far as politics went, Braun influenced Hitler to a minimal degree. Instead, she was ...more
Carl Rollyson
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Most historians view Eva Braun as an apolitical appendage of Adolf Hitler's paltry private life. And yet, after having shared much of his time with her at the Berghof, his mountain retreat, he chose to marry her on the last day of his life, and she chose to die with him in his Berlin bunker.

Biographers have tried to infer from her proximity to Hitler a fuller picture of her personality. Why did she appeal to this dictator, regarded by the Nazi faithful as their savior, a man who publicly declare
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book doesn't give you anything really new about Eva, but it does give a little bit more of a rounded background and picture of her. The author does bring in alot of characters some we know already (like Hitler and his inner circle) and some you might know so well (like her family members and co-workers). I feel that the author by bringing in others in Eva and Hitler's life, the reader gets a feel for how she reacted, also how some of them reacted and felt about her. I found this especially ...more
Courtney Hierlihy
May 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was a rough book to get through, but I think it’s because of the expectation that I would be reading more about Eva throughout. Most of the book is based on circumstantial sources (which the author is upfront about), but this means the book turns into reading a lot about the people around Hitler and if they ever encountered Eva. I think it’s difficult for anyone to truly know Eva’s life story so I wish the author would have been more upfront about this and titled / framed the book different ...more
Jenny Demonic
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Heike B. Gortemaker prefaces her book by stating that there is little surviving authenticated evidence about Eva Braun, who she was, or her true relationship with Adolf Hitler.

Knowing this, why Gortemaker chose to name the book after a character who is mentioned less than a quarter of the total length of text is surprising. The book is very well researched and there is no denying the historian is familiar with everyone surrounding her stated subject. Sadly, in the area of Braun, the book is lac
Gregory Klages
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Görtemaker takes on an aspect of the Nazi regime that has rarely been investigated: given Hitler's (and the majority of the Nazi hierarchy's) stance on the proper comportment and role of women in the regime, how was it that Hitler (and his entourage) maintained his relationship with a single young woman who never bore children, who smoked and drank, and who seems in many respects, the exact opposite of the ideal Aryan woman?

Görtemaker is treading on territory where she has few peers. There have
Nov 18, 2011 rated it liked it
This book does not really focus on Eva Braun so much as it does Life with Hitler. I recall a remark made by Albert Speer - 'The future historian will be very disappointed with Eva Braun - she is no Cleopatra or Marie Antoinette'. Yet the author tries their best.

The author does make very interesting analyses of Hitler's inner circle, tearing apart some myths and presenting alternative views. But unfortunately, most of the important witnesses have passed away, and there is difficulty with treading
Aug 26, 2012 added it
Shelves: memoir-bio
For all of you history geeks out there. The author attempts to sort through the many questions and myths associated with Hitler's longtime girlfriend, Eva Braun, while also exploring the bigger picture of women's roles within the top brass of the Third Reich. How much did these women, the secretaries, spouses, and relatives, who supposedly had no part in making policy, know exactly? Were they influential? And why was Braun kept hidden from the public eye for nearly seventeen years? A fascinating ...more
Katie Kearney
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book is mostly speculation. And doesn't really know anything that we did not already know about Eva. It was a fast read. But not full of information.
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Because this book was borrowed from the library and has a long list of holds, I had to read it rather quickly; only finishing early this morning. The book appears to have been ruthlessly researched, but the author's constant questioning of the same motivations became a little annoying. It seems as if she asked the question of whether Eva was a collaborator nearly every chapter and then came up with her own speculative answers while deriding those who'd come to their own conclusions in similar wa ...more
Zoe Hall
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
'The aura of an invincible "Führer" had been shattered'.

Until a few months ago I had never really heard of Eva Braun. The most I knew from history lessons in school was that she committed suicide along with her husband: Adolf Hitler. I watched a documentary on television about Eva and decided to delve deeper into the life of a woman who married one of the most notorious men in modern history, the day before their double suicide.

This book is an exceptional read and I found it particularly inte
Nicolas Bateman
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: wwii, learn
A book that could have been interesting in many aspects, but that seems to have troubles hiding its definitive lack of information about its topic. While it would have been perfectly reasonable to change the title to something like "Hitler, his Inner Circle, and Eva Braun", the reader feels here as if cheated on the content.
Most of what the writer has to say about the topic is that "nobody definitely knows what happened at such and such point of Eva's life" or that "The account of that person s
Sean-patrick Burke
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2013
To quote The Zombies, "she's not there." This isn't the authors fault: it's due to a combination of secrecy, differences in opinion, and the sudden and destructive downfall of the Third Reich. This book feels very thin, and will be only of interest to people interested in every single scrap of information regarding this most unfortunate time in world history. Out of the entire text, I'd say the most interesting thing I learned was that Hitler's private train was called, of all things, Amerika. S ...more
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Hitler's relationship with Eva Braun was deliberately kept secret so as to promote the image of himself that Hitler wanted. As a result almost all of what we know of her is based on unreliable postwar interviews with people who had reasons to distort what they said. This makes writing a "biography" almost impossible. What Heike Bortemaker has done instead is to give us thoroughly researched and judicious portrait of the intimate circle around Hitler, including Eva Braun. This is not a book for e ...more
Oct 20, 2013 rated it liked it
For a book about Eva Braun, there was remarkably little said about Eva Braun. I realize that female historical figures are almost always harder to illuminate due to their nearly invisible presence in the public sphere, but the author did a poor job of qualifying her subject matter in that way before luring you into her book and then turning around and droning endlessly on about all the men surrounding Hitler. I also did not agree with the author's categorical dismissal of some historical evidenc ...more
Diane Wachter
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
About Eva Braun, Hitler's mistress and 1-day wife, and her determination to be loyal to him "to the end". Much of the book cannot be substantiated because they were either third person accounts, hear-say and rumors, or they were used to affect the outcome of the judgments of the witnesses during the post-war trials. The book was more about all the people around Hitler, not just Eva Braun, and about their respective influences on him, as well as his influence on them! I found it interesting, but ...more
Feb 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Eva Braun was a very, very boring person. In fact, considering when and where she lived, it's actually impressive that she managed to remain so completely vapid. As a result, this book is more about other people than Eva Braun herself, and it's not all that interesting. I don't blame the author since she clearly did a lot of research and the writing is good. But it's just not possible to write even a couple hundred pages about Eva Braun, no matter how good of a researcher and writer the author m ...more
Alise (Read Write Repeat)
Read my full thoughts over at a Read.Write.Repeat.

Learning about more about Braun only peaked my interest. There is so much we do not know, and will never know, about this woman. She is a historical enigma whose true motivations, beliefs, and knowledge of Hitler's actions will never be fully known. Gortemaker works well with the information available, but there are just so many missing pieces.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I came to this book with a very realistic expectation of it: that is, that most of what it presents about Eva Braun is either fragmented or speculative. Therefore I wasn't disappointed as others have been, and I found that this book was engrossing and informative, as the author is indeed very knowledgable and establishes a better background for speculations than I had before.
Nov 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Only the conclusion discusses any sort of history about Eva Braun. Sure, it was a secret affair, and she was just as delusional as hitler, but the book rarely discusses her life. It mostly centers on other nazi officials and their relationship with hitler. Was the book not properly translated? It has received a fail!
Karenbike Patterson
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Little remained after WWII of what Braun wrote herself so her life is sketchy in areas. She was introduced to Hitler in the early 1930s at his photographer's office. Their relationship seemed to outsiders to platonic for many years. She was not included in social functions until the late 1930's. Then it was apparent that they were lovers and she was in charge of his household. Their life was glamorous at the height of his power, Eva was given money and houses for herself and her family. He said ...more
Ishmael Soledad
It is a difficult task writing a biography of a person who leaves hardly any trace of their time on earth, however Ms Gortemaker does a sterling job here. Who and what was Eva Braun are questions that may never be fully answered yet in this book a clear if incomplete picture arises. In some ways a difficult read, the translation failing - as most do - to bring across the flow and tenor of the original German, it is nevertheless a fascinating insight in to her world and that of Hitler's inner cir ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
I give this book 2 stars, not for lack of scholarship or attention to detail, but because the author is trying to paint a portrait of a woman without any materials with which to do so. Sadly, it seems that what we really know about Ava Braun can scarcely fill out a scholarly paper, let alone an entire book. While certainly informative, there are simply too many question marks left by the end. Retooled, this could be a fairly general work about Hitler’s inner circle, in particular the women with ...more
James Tidd
Many people think that there are not many good honest biographies on Eva Braun. This is an exception. Görtemaker is exceptional in writing about her. She sheds light on the true side of Braun, the lady who tried to commit suicide twice just so that Hitler will look after her.

Quoting from various other biographies of Braun and other biographies of other people in the enclosed circle of people that Hitler could trust, Görtemaker lays aside the other biographies and tells her own convincing biogra
Mary Farrington
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This book, while interesting, felt more like a sluggish attempt to catalog all of the personal relationships Hitler might have had during his political career. There is a decided lack of evidence for Braun's personality, mindset, feelings, etc. Despite this, the book tries to understand her role in Hitler's life. It is a decent attempt, but it only has a handful of memorable comments to make. Unfortunately for anyone who paid attention to the title, most of those centre around everyone near Hitl ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Although this was a well written and researched book, it didn’t really accomplish what it set out to do. The majority of the book is spent on different people’s relationships with Hitler. To be fair, there doesn’t seem to be much left (letters, diaries, etc) from Eva herself and the remaining accounts of her are unreliable. So why try to write a book dedicated to her? It would have been better if the book had just been about all the people closest to Hitler, which would have included her.
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