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Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris (Hitler, #1)
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Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris (Hitler #1)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  3,211 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
From his illegitimate birth in a small Austrian village to his fiery death in a bunker under the Reich chancellery in Berlin, Adolf Hitler left a murky trail, strewn with contradictory tales & overgrown with self-created myths. One truth prevails: the sheer scale of the evils that he unleashed on the world has made him a demonic figure without equal in this century. Ke ...more
Paperback, 912 pages
Published April 12th 2000 by W.W. Norton & Company (first published 1998)
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Jochen Träm Honestly, the very detailed description of, well, pretty much everything is in my perspective one of the major selling points of Kershaw's work. YMMV.
Tom Allen I have not read Kershaw's book yet, but I am likewise a newcomer to reading about this period of history. I just read Evans' Third Reich in Power (the…moreI have not read Kershaw's book yet, but I am likewise a newcomer to reading about this period of history. I just read Evans' Third Reich in Power (the second book in his trilogy) and can offer some thoughts. Evans seems to try to describe how the Nazis affected every aspect of life during their rule. He begins by describing the courts and the law under the Nazis, then discusses art, education, religion, the economy, etc. He winds up the book with a section titled" Road to War". While I found myself questioning how representative the narrative accounts were as presented throughout the book, each section seemed to provide a reasonable conclusion about how the Nazis ruled Germany. The bottom line seems to be that the Nazis essentially dominated every aspect of life. Their nationalistic goals had support among the populace but their methods were nothing short of insane, dictatorial, and perverse in achieving the restoration of the German spirit. Evans' TRIP leads to the conclusion that F.A. Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" (written in the wake of World War 2) was a pretty fair assessment of what happens when government becomes too powerful and too centralized.(less)

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Nov 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Claude Lanzmann, who directed the famous Holocaust documentary Shoah, once said that any attempt to explain Hitler is an "obscenity." This, of course, has not stopped a generation of authors from attempting to do just that.

Of course, Lanzmann's statement is fatuous bluster. More to the point, there isn't a historical topic on earth that is out-of-bounds. And for good reason. Neglecting Hitler's story makes him into something more than he was. He wasn't the antichrist; he wasn't some sort of mon
Lewis Weinstein
UPDATE 4/25/16 ...

The balance of the book is as good as the beginning. A superb overview of the Hitler years through 1936. Kershaw is both factual and opinionated, which I find refreshing.

UPDATE 3/22/14 ...

I have now read the chapters concerning the early months of the Hitler regime, during which Hitler destroyed all opposition and established Nazi control over all public and private organizations. It is frightening how easily and how quickly this transformation took place. It is also evident th
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The first of a two-volume biography, Kershaw has given us a magisterial study of Hitler which far surpasses Fest's effort of the 1970s, good as that was. Kershaw has taken good advantage of the work which has been done since then, displaying an impressive range of research from which he draws conclusions that are cogently argued. He looks not only at the man himself, but also at the conditions which gave rise to him, placing him in context—not depicting him as an inhuman monster, but showing the ...more
Sep 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-military
Kershaw's book is the best I have encountered at helping the reader to understand how someone like Hitler was able to become the supreme ruler of Germany. The book starts out as an excellent biography of Hitler's early years, but in the mid-1920s it changes into more of a sociological history of Germany between the wars: why the Weimar Republic failed, what average Germans cared about, and what it was about Hitler's message that resonated with the people and why. Hitler himself is such a cipher ...more
P.J. Sullivan
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history

This book gives a good account of Hitler's highly improbable rise to power, but does not resolve the question of why Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor. It says that Hindenburg initially refused, until ex-chancellor Franz von Papen convinced him that Hitler would be harmless as chancellor. He could be safely contained, said von Papen, "boxed in" by conservatives in the cabinet and by Hindenburg himself. It was thought that political responsibilities would tame the Nazis. That is Kershaw's v
Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)
Heavy going in places and short on his personal life, but a very detailed account of each part of Hitler's development. Fascinating are the opportunities to stop his rise and the perfect storm of the economy, Versailles and a contemporary German appetite for authority that delivers him to power. It's terrible, and compelling.
Frank Stein
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
As many know, Adolf Hitler was a failed artist. What this book brings out, however, is that he retained the habits of a fin-de-siecle bohemian for his entire life. When this son of an martinent middle-class Austrian customs official first moved to Vienna, he refused to work for his keep. He relied on loans from an aunt, later a small orphans pension, and periodic sponging off friends. He spent much his meager funds attending the opera (usually Wagner), and most of his time declaiming monologues ...more
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You have to realize what you are getting into when you pick up this book. It's the first volume of a two-volume biography of Hitler, so you already know it's going to be unpleasant. In addition, however, it's extremely detailed, and you get a lot of names and places that you are unfamiliar with thrown at you. I think what would have been useful was a glossary of names and German words used in the book. At one point, the author starts using the word "Lander" (with an umlaut). I had no idea what t ...more
Apr 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kershaw is at first sight an odd choice to write a biography because as a structuralist he is more inclined to look towards power structures, organizations etc to explain historical events rather than the "great man" approach to history.

However, what at fist sight would appear to be a disadvantage turns out to be of major benefit. We get both a detailed account of Hitler's life, but also a very sure footed and insightful explanation of German political history from the end of the First World War
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm struggling to recall reading a better biography than Ian Kershaw's first volume on Hitler. This book skillfully places Hitler into the context of his time and place, stripping away the myths promulgated by his subject, his subject's admirers and contemporary enemies, and by those who've stumbled in their attempts to understand how an unemployable, draft dodging crank succeeded in convincing a nation in crisis to place itself under his care. Never before has Hitler's rise seemed so chancy, so ...more
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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...

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