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Spandau: The Secret Diaries

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  789 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
He served as Hitler's architect, the undisputed master of the German war machine, and the one responsible for conscripted foreign labor in the Third Reich. And, when Albert Speer was captured and sentenced at Nuremberg -- after becoming the only defendant to plead guilty -- he started keeping this secret diary, much of it on toilet paper. After 20 years of imprisonment, he ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published December 31st 2000 by Phoenix (first published January 1st 1975)
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Jon(athan) Nakapalau
I remember reading this book and wondering: you were once put in charge of building a new you are in a prison while Germany slowly rebuilds...was it worth it? Very interesting book from the perspective of a 'cog' in the machinery that almost destroyed the word.
Veni Johanna
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: history enthusiast
Simply one of the most fascinating book I have ever read, for three reasons:

1) Speer's position as one of Hitler's closest confidante is clear in this piece - his recollections on Hitler are wonderfully vivid and personal, mostly in casual settings, stripped from Goebbels' oratory languages. He provides insight on Hitler beyond historical facts and figures, but on the man itself, portraying the Fuhrer truly as a person with strong emotions, fears and flaws. The most interesting Hitler story for
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All WWII history buffs
Shelves: favourites
This book should not be missed by readers who enjoy the history of WWII and its protagonists.

It is the secret diary of Albert Speer, written on scraps of paper, mostly toilet paper, during his 20 year imprisonment in Spandau Prison, following the judgement handed by the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946.

The book was edited and published in 1975 almost ten years after his release, because as he himself acknowledges in the introduction to the diary, he could not bri
Nov 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The single most thought-provoking book I have ever read and re-read. If I am ever asked to recommend a book, this is the one I suggest. While Speer may be less than totally honest in this book, he nonetheless wrestles openly and forthrightly with his guilt, his conscience, his role in history, his time in prison, and more.
This book was actually published in 1976 and after “Inside the Third Reich” (1970) and this had followed his first attempt entitled Erinnerungen ("Recollections") in 1966.

My Opinion: I found parts of this difficult, but at the same time very humanistic. We see Speer, a cultured man tormented in the early days of imprisonment first at Nuremburg, then transferred to Spandau in the summer of 1947 transfixed on all that has occurred to him. Speer became Minister of Armaments and War Production when
Erik Graff
Mar 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Westerners
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
This book is certainly not as fascinating as Speer's Inside the Third Reich. Based on a prison diary, there is a plodding, repetitive cadence throughout, appropriate for the genre one would think. Still, there was quite a bit to intrigue me, fascinated as I am with the souls of political monsters like Speer, his ilk and, sadly, many of the executives of our own criminal government. Flitting throughout, for instance, is the figure of Rudolf Hess, the lst occupant of Spandau. Sometimes coherant, s ...more
Anton Klink
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although Albert Speer wasn't among the absolute innermost circle of Hitler trustees (maybe only Bormann, Göring, Goebbels, Himmler and a few others could be counted among those), he was nevertheless the highest ranking Third Reich official to open up so extensively in a book after the Third Reich collapsed.

Starting out as Hitler's favourite architect and the official architect of the Third Reich, he then moved on to become the Armaments and Munitions Reich Minister and thus enjoyed Hitler's full
J.E. Lowder
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm a WWII junky. And of all the Nazis, Speer is indeed on of the most intriguing. Some hail him as "the good Nazi." Others claim he is a conniving, evil man. After reading Spandau, I personally feel he was writing from an honest heart. I'm not about to put him on a pedestal, or call him "a good Nazi," but he does have some introspective daggers that made me think about my own career and the passive choices one often makes "to become successful." If nothing else, you get an insider's glimpse of ...more
Rob MacCavett
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of Hitler’s top lieutenants tells of being imprisoned for 20 years along with the other Nazi leaders found guilty at the Nuremburg Trial. It’s the story of a once upon a time good guy trying to distance himself from the culpability of Nazi crimes (including his own) and his often pathetic companions in fortress Spandau while carving out some kind of useful life.
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Favorite Nonfiction Read of 2001
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History students, history buffs, World War II buffs
Recommended to Michael by: Serendipity
Shelves: memoirs, politics, fascism
It was somewhat surprising that, after “Inside the Third Reich,” Albert Speer had another books-worth of information to cull from the thousands of scraps of paper he smuggled out of prison during the twenty years he served for crimes against humanity. It’s even more surprising that the book has its merits, although it is much less well-organized and more self-absorbed than the previous one.

This time, rather than try to tell the story of the Nazis once more, Speer simply puts his entries in chro
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Albert Speer was a Nazi. A prominent one for several years. And though he fell somewhat out of favor with Hitler, and straight disobeyed him at the very end, his place in the history of the Third Reich is undeniable. Speer himself would not even deny this. This lack of denial, even during the Nuremberg trials, and Speer's subsequent acceptance of responsibility for his actions and those of the Reich, renouncing Hitler in the process may have kept his prison sentence to a "mere" 20 years.

Those 20
Kaarthik Anebou
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book I would caution is quite dull as a subject per se. But when you get into the details Mr Speer takes us through it is really a lot of information. Imagine your life for 20 years within a perimeter; with additional restrictions imposed on your life style from time to time and not much of a friendly company.

The narrative and anecdotes is what keeps the book interesting - a lot of reflections from the author's past; his boss' mistakes and his. It is a walk down memory lane where he offers a
Thomas A Wiebe
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
These diaries provide a fascinating, hooded glimpse of the "smartest man" in the Nazi leadership, Albert Speer. At least, smart enough to evade the death penalty at the N��rnberg Trials, while running the war effort to produce arms and munitions using millions of slave laborers who were chronically abused, overworked and starved to death. Speer made an appearance of being the only Nazi leader to be conscience-stricken over the systematic murder of Jews, Gypsies and Slavs by Germany. Speer necess ...more
Tony Taylor
Jan 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He served as Hitler's architect, the undisputed master of the German war machine, and the one responsible for conscripted foreign labor in the Third Reich. And, when Albert Speer was captured and sentenced at Nuremberg--after becoming the only defendant to plead guilty--he started keeping this secret diary, much of it on toilet paper. After 20 years of imprisonment, he found 25,000 of the smuggled pages waiting for him, and from those entries he shaped this deeply powerful document. "Albert Spee ...more
carl  theaker
May 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2

Interesting insight from Speer on his stay in prison. Not exciting prose by any
means but words from the horse's mouth so to speak.

Speer's everyday activities reveal the battle with one's mind in prison, that
probably Hess was already on his way to losing. Speer got an atlas from
the prison library and set off to hike around the world in the prison
exercise yard, carefully measuring each kilometer.

Picking up this book for the first time in years I see I have saved newspaper
clippings from the '77
Ed Schofield
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: History buffs
Great stuff. Makes you think. It would seem that a good chum of Adolf Hitler had a conscience. The book is worth a read but I think it must also be read in conjunction with his other work 'Inside the Third Reich' which was written at the same time while he was in Spandau prison. Albert Speer was Minister for Armamments Production in Nazi Germany at the end of the war, was tried at Nuremberg in 1946, found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to 20 years prison. It's clear though that his only crim ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book expresses the feelings and thoughts of Albert Speer while he was incarcerated for 20 years following WWII. Although it does not speak a lot about his time or feelings related to the Nazi regime, it does cause one to rethink the validation of the prosecution of some of the Nazi leadership after the war. If you are looking for something more than just a simple explanation of this period but perhaps insight into the moral and legal rights of prosecuting defeated foes in general than this ...more
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading "Inside the Third Reich" it was only a matter of time for me to read this one as well. The whole story behind Spandau prison is quit fascinating. Imagine a whole jail just for 7 inmates. Here Albert Speer writes his hidden diary covering the 20 years he spent there. A detail account of everyday life, the relationship between them, thoughts and recollections of the Third Reich and the way they tried to keep their sanity. After the release of Speer, only Hess remained alone in the pr ...more
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In this book Speer tries to clear up how a well educated intellectual like him could have gotten caught up in the situation that he did. It soon becomes abundantly clear that his entries are primarily a way of coming to terms with the past.
Say what you like, but Albert Speer was an extraordinary character.
"The Secret Diaries" is a controversial but important book, and (in my opinion) a must read for anyone who is interested in history and the second world war.
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While not necessarily the most exhilarating read, Spandau: The Secret Diaries is a masterful window into the life of a long term prisoner, as well as a fascinating and somewhat surreal look into what it was like to know Hitler personally. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII, modern European/American history, or the psychology of prisoners.
Salvatore DiVita
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Speer gives an in depth perspective of the lives of political prisoners which I found quite interesting. It allowed me to be privy to anecdotal memories of his interactions with Hitler, his haunted misgivings for crossing the line to a position of power and the resulting twenty-year prison term at Spandau.
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Everyone was just following orders - what a horrible excuse for Hitler and the evil he brought to the world. Speer was Hitler's Architect - planning the new Berlin of Hitler's manic dreams. Deluded to the point of madness.- all of them!
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent insider detail on what it was like day to day in the Spandau prison. I found this book amazingly interesting. Incredible that all this text was snuck out page by page over a 20-year span.

Karen Roddy
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Alexandra Agnrud
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Amazingly detailed view into the life of imprisonment of seven hated people. The despair mixed with small glimpses of hope is well described and I found I could hardly put the book down.
Tom Dougherty
Aug 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Speer is lucky he got to write this book. He should have been executed as being head of slave labor in the Third Reich.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
E' sicuramente un libro pesante, non è una classica lettura di piacere per passare un pò di tempo. Il fatto che sia il diario di un gerarca nazista (che al processo di Norimberga si è dichiarato colpevole, l'unico tra tutti gli imputati) non è fondamentale nel libro: ogni tanto richiama alla memoria degli episodi particolari, ma non è un libro sul suo periodo nazista.
Più che altro questo libro, o meglio, questo diario, fa capire le angosce, i problemi e le preoccupazioni di una persona condannat
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
A very tedious book to plow through and read....mostly a disappointment. Very little insight into the inner workings of the Third Reich and even much less so about Adolph Hitler. This book could have been about any 20-year prisoner experience and almost entirely about the day-to-day movement and happenings of prison life i.e. complaints about the prison regulation, the monotony, endless and I do mean endless rants and raves about the garden he tended, his prison relationship with the other Nazi ...more
Nick Black
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it
overall it's too long and too much like a anachronistic blog, but like any foreign blogger with a book deal, it's got its definite moments of wackiness and strange, strange Prussian humor. if you dug Speer's more well-known Life, you'll enjoy this one.
sequel to My Life in the Third Reich
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Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office. As "the Nazi who said sorry", he accepted responsibility at the Nuremberg trials and in his memoirs for crimes of the Nazi regime. His level of ...more
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