Adolf Hitler was an unlikely leader - fuelled by hate, incapable of forming normal human relationships, unwilling to debate political issues - and yet he commanded enormous support. So how was it possible that Hitler became such an attractive figure to millions of people? That is the important question at the core of Laurence Rees’ new book.
The Holocaust, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the outbreak of the Second World War - all these cataclysmic events and more can be laid at Hitler’s door. Hitler was a war criminal arguably without precedent in the history of the world. Yet, as many who knew him confirm, Hitler was still able to exert a powerful influence over the people who encountered him.
In this fascinating book to accompany his new BBC series, the acclaimed historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees examines the nature of Hitler’s appeal, and reveals the role Hitler’s supposed ‘charisma’ played in his success. Rees’ previous work has explored the inner workings of the Nazi state in The Nazis: A Warning from History and the crimes they committed in Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution. The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler is a natural culmination of 20 years of writing and research on the Third Reich, and a remarkable examination of the man and the mind at the heart of it all.
©2012 Laurence Rees (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks
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"Excellent in every way"
This is a book both for beginners and for those who have already read a reasonable amount of WWII and Nazi history. As well as being a portrait of Hitler, it provides an overview of the main events of Germany history from WWI until May 1945. Laurence Rees' clever tactic of using Hitler's charisma as the central theme provides a different perspective from the usual biographical and war history works. In examining Hitler's rising popularity, Rees reveals much about the man and offers several inter-connected explanations for Hitler's ability to draw people in and to convert doubters to his point of view. He also devotes some time to people who did not fall under Hitler's spell and those who plotted to kill him. Rees goes on to document the decline of Hitler's power to influence as the direction of the war turns and Germany moves ever closer to defeat. The book is well written and Rees' central argument is well presented. Michael Jayston is a very competent narrator and his voice and presentation are perfect for the material.
"Gripping and chilling."
I was transfixed listening to this description of one of the most evil personalities in history. It was particularly interesting to have diary notes and personal observations of Hitler's closest staff describing his dark manipulation of millions, yet his inability to relate easily to smaller groups.
The potted history of how Hitler rose from virtual obscurity at a time when the German people needed to restore hope and pride after WWI. How one major event in world history led to the next. He was a maniacal no body who had the ability to persuade millions, then murder millions. I found the comments by some of those who met him expressing their dismay and horror at the thought of Hitler making it to the top, very disturbing and prophetic.
The narration was superb. Michael Jayston brought it to life, as if he was actually there.
No. There is too much to absorb. I will probably listen to it again soon.
"Excellent history of the leader of the third reich"
An excellent account of the dark personal history of the most infamous man in history. Gripping and very interesting account of how this truly awful man had the german people in his hand for so long despite the turn in the war, read very well by Michael Jayston. The only negative is the relentless hatred of the man can be hard to listen to sometimes, for he was a truly awful awful man. Fans of history should give this a listen, great stuff.
"A convincing case for Hitler's personal influence"
I think Laurence Rees has enough material for a cracking essay on the nature and influence of Hitler's charisma, but not quite enough for a whole book. Instead Mr Rees gives a fairly complete account of the rise and fall of Hitler, with special attention to the influence of Hitler's personality and speeches. Rees makes quite a convincing case for the critical importance of Hitler - not just as a dictator operating via terror, but a persuasive politician and leader. Hitler's charisma was a function of the time and situation, and how well he read the mind of the mann on the Munich omnibus. It didn't work on everyone even then, and it could only work with an audience primed to respond. He fed (and fed on) a feeling of indignation and being disrespected, but actually promised very little (politically speaking). He created a feeling of unity among German peoples by conjuring up an enemy, few enough in number not to worry the majority. He was consistent and genuine in his obsessions. He was canny and cunning in bringing people along with him, step by step.
The narration is superb. Somehow Michael Jayston manages to impersonate the speakers without resorting to silly accents. William Shirer has an American lilt without it being an impersonation, and Hitler's quotes are not done with an German accent (which would be unforgivable in my book) but they come over with a certain intonation that seems Germanic none-the-less. Just how a non-fiction book should be read. The stopping places co-incide with the chapters, which is again how it should be (but often isn't).
A fascinating account of how Hitler lead a nation into a World War. Really spiked my interest in an area I have not previously read much about.
"Cometh the hour, cometh the man..."
Authoritatively and excellently narrated by Michael Jayston the book shines a light in assisting us toward an understanding of the potent mixture of madness, chaos, opportunism and delusion that supported the rise to power, of this extraordinary or perhaps very ordinary little man and why he became the embodiment of a national psyche to the detriment of all.
A horrifying, tragic, cautionary and haunting tale concisely and clearly put across.
"What would the Fuhrer want us to do?"
My best selection on audible to date.
"Why did they follow him?"
This is a wonderful audiobook, which attempts to explain what made people follow what to us is a complete mad man, it is easy to listen too, wonderfully read and has taught me a lot about Nazi Germany and some of the reasons why so many followed Hitler to the very end in many ways blindly.
This book is fascinating and frightening, incredibly relevant within the political climate of today. Wonderful narration, Jayston is a calming voice that helps you soak in the information.
"Interesting way to look at Hitler"
The book starts well and is interesting but soon becomes a brief history of WW2.
The narrator is good and does good accents for quotes.
A thoroughly gripping, detailed, and informative piece of work, narrated superbly to great effect!
The best audio book I've listened to in a long time, giving great insight into Hitler's evil genius for manipulation of the masses and of individuals.
"A great educational read."
An excellent listen / read for anyone with a general interest, but particularly useful to students studying Nazi Germany from GCSE through to degree level.
Enjoyable seems an odd description of my experience of this book. I hesitated before purchasing it as I was unsure if the subject matter would be too uncomfortable. However, I found the book to be compulsive listening. My only interest in this period of history came from secondary school, but I found this book has reignited an interest in the Second World War and the lessons we can take from it.
The pace of the book and the balanced approach gave an insight into the characters and what drove them to succeed for a time with such a terrifying regime
I enjoyed the whole book, and did not find any aspects of it boring, I wish history could be taught like this in schools
How one person given the right environment and supported by like minded individuals can cause such suffering to so many
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