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Adolf Hitler

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  3,141 ratings  ·  184 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 wonde…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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Jan 14, 2009 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
Oct 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: worldwar2, biography
(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
Feb 17, 2012 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. ...more
Mikey B.
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Page 306 (my book)

Heinrich Heine, a Jew, [wrote a century before Hitler’s ascension to power in 1933]: “German thunder is truly German; it takes its time. But it will come, and when it crashes it will crash as nothing in history crashed before. The hour will come… A drama will be performed which will make the French Revolution seem like a pretty idyll… Never doubt it; the hour will come.”

This is, at close to 1,000 pages, a thorough examination of the life of Adolf Hitler. It depicts him as a hum
David A
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“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
Erik Graff
Nov 25, 2009 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. Then,
Thar Lun Myat
Mar 09, 2015 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.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even at 1,000+ pages, this book was not a complete biography of Hitler. Superb research and extensive documentation was presented, detailing the events of his life and some of his compatriots, but in the end, I still did not understand the man, nor grasp how he was understood and admired by so many who followed him and believed in his vision.

Hitler obviously had a gift of oratory, but there is little offered here to help understand how that worked. He displayed at least two other character trait
Apr 28, 2013 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
Nov 12, 2008 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
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book and really visualized the lives of these poor Jews who had to go through this time. The Book Adolf Hitler by John Toland is a biography on Adolf Hitler's life. The book started when Hitler was born to a crowd of anti-Semitism believers. He thought being anti-Semitist was right and Hitler thought it was normal to hate Jewish people. This biography really opened my eyes up to the fact that the world is filled up with a bunch of crooks who believe in even more crooked thing ...more
Feb 23, 2008 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
Mar 27, 2008 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
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Truly remarkable. I'd been hard-pressed to find a decent fair biography of this enigmatic man called Adolf Hitler. Without reading them I'd compared dozens of biographies, asking people's opinions, combing through book reviews so as not to experience a disappointment since virtually every biography of Hitler is not less than 700 pages and usually has the word "evil" in its title (which is straight out bias). So this one by Toland has considerably met my expectations.

There is no finger pointing o

Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
I listened to this tome as an audiobook (44H 43M worth) narrated by Ralph Cosham. If you're looking for an objective, non-maniacal chronical of the life of Adolph Hitler, this is it. Toland tells this tale without attempting to editorialize about his subject - he presents an accurate depiction of the facts and events about Hitler from his youth all the way to his final ignominious demise, and lets the reader (listener) draw the obvious conclusions. If you like history without a bent toward revis ...more
David Applegate
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hitler was not just the world's greatest motivational speaker, he was confident, dedicated and calculated. Yet for all his charm, ability and intellect he choose to waste it on revenge over the first world war. The book is a powerful lesson in unchecked power and might give some insight how he came to power and why no authority should be absolute. ...more
Richard Fulgham
Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
I believe you trust Toland. I checked out his sources. He seems to be truthful. Fascinating book! Good read.
Yong Lee
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
A monumental masterpiece. I'm sorry I waited so long to read it. ...more
Christopher Telcontar
Sep 23, 2014 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
Frederic Kerr
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This 1,230 page book seemed shorter, because it was well written. Rather than provide much military, psychological or political analysis, author John Toland just tells the story of Adolf Hitler's life, via first hand accounts from diaries and, in some cases, personal interviews with survivors. The book was published in 1976, when interviewing survivors was still possible. It's like a nouveau roman format: the author's narrative camera moves through the scenes without much commentary.

Readers fami
Jun 05, 2015 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
Sep 21, 2010 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
Jason Young
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
What an incredible piece of writing. It took seven months and about twenty other books, but I'm glad I read this. I had a hard time reading it in public, and had to put it down from time to time, but it's stirring and well told in a way I wouldn't have expected. ...more
Dec 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Everyone should know the workings of a truly evil mind so that it can be recognized and stopped
Mar 12, 2008 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. ...more
Josh McAdams
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Amazing level of details. Reveals a human being and not a caricature or a monster. I'm a huge fan of this author and will try to read all his works. ...more
Timothy Gretler
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book, gave me a new understanding of how Hitler was able to bring a whole nation under his spell. Very thorough research, it really sets the standard in biography.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The single best written, told story of one of the most dispicable, repulsive "humans". The only book you need to read and understand Adolf Hiter, from birth to his cowardice suicide. His climb, creation of the party, SS, SA and SD. Sadly the "final solution" and the extermination of 6 million innocent Jewish men, women and children.

Disturbing as it is eye opening. As a amature history buff, the one underlying factor was how did he convince Germany to become Nazis? How did he convince one of the
Shelley Alongi
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think this book was written when I was 10 years old which would’ve been the same year that I became fascinated by the whole event of the third Reich. I learned about this book many years ago probably through extensive bibliographies or footnotes. I finally picked up the book this year and it felt like a slug. Is that a word? I think it is. I am not discounting the book because I found it really informative. I also found that this book contains many of the facts that I have read over the years ...more
Isabelle Duchaine
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So much of our understanding of history is driven by "Great Man" interpretations:

- Genghis Khan conquered the world;
- Martin Luther had 95 theses;
- Christopher Columbus 'found' America;

And there's a pretty logical reason for that. First of all, it makes it easier to understand history, at least at a basic level, when you're only worried about a couple of dudes in a given place at a time. Secondly, there's so much more of the historical record about powerful individuals and how they lived their l
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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

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