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Hitler 1936 To 1945 Nemesis [Paperback]

Ian Kershaw
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 12 2012
The New Yorker declared the first volume of Ian Kershaw's two-volume masterpiece "as close to definitive as anything we are likely to see," and that promise is fulfilled in this stunning second volume. As Nemesis opens, Adolf Hitler has achieved absolute power within Germany and triumphed in his first challenge to the European powers. Idolized by large segments of the population and firmly supported by the Nazi regime, Hitler is poised to subjugate Europe. Nine years later, his vaunted war machine destroyed, Allied forces sweeping across Germany, Hitler will end his life with a pistol shot to his head. "[M]ore probing, more judicious, more authoritative in its rich detail...more commanding in its mastery of the horrific narrative." Milton J. Rosenberg, Chicago Tribune"

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George VI thought him a "damnable villain," and Neville Chamberlain found him not quite a gentleman; but, to the rest of the world, Adolf Hitler has come to personify modern evil to such an extent that his biographers always have faced an unenviable task. The two more renowned biographies of Hitler--by Joachim C. Fest ( Hitler) and by Alan Bullock ( Hitler: A Study in Tyranny)--painted a picture of individual tyranny which, in the words of A.J.P. Taylor, left Hitler guilty and every other German innocent. Decades of scholarship on German society under the Nazis have made that verdict look dubious; so, the modern biographer of Hitler must account both for his terrible mindset and his charismatic appeal. In the second and final volume of his mammoth biography of Hitler--which covers the climax of Nazi power, the reclamation of German-speaking Europe, and the horrific unfolding of the final solution in Poland and Russia--Ian Kershaw manages to achieve both of these tasks. Continuing where Hitler: Hubris 1889-1936 left off, the epic Hitler: Nemesis 1937-1945 takes the reader from the adulation and hysteria of Hitler's electoral victory in 1936 to the obsessive and remote "bunker" mentality that enveloped the Führer as Operation Barbarossa (the attack on Russia in 1942) proved the beginning of the end. Chilling, yet objective. A definitive work. --Miles Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

At the conclusion of Kershaw's Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris (1999), the Rhineland had been remilitarized, domestic opposition crushed, and Jews virtually outlawed. What the genuinely popular leader of Germany would do with his unchallenged power, the world knows and recoils from. The historian's duty, superbly discharged by Kershaw, is to analyze how and why Hitler was able to ignite a world war, commit the most heinous crime in history, and throw his country into the abyss of total destruction. He didn't do it alone. Although Hitler's twin goals of expelling Jews and acquiring "living space" for other Germans were hardly secret, "achieving" them did not proceed according to a blueprint, as near as Kershaw can ascertain. However long Hitler had cherished launching an all-out war against the Jews and against Soviet Russia, as he did in 1941, it was only conceivable as reality following a tortuous series of events of increasing radicality, in both foreign and domestic politics. At each point, whether haranguing a mass audience or a small meeting of military officers, the demagogue had to and did persuade his listeners that his course of action was the only one possible. Acquiescence to aggression and genocide was further abetted by the narcotic effect of the "Hitler myth," the propagandized image of the infallible leader as national savior, which produced a force for radicalization parallel to Hitler's personal murderous fanaticism; the motto of the time called it "working towards the Fuhrer." Underlings in competition with each other would do what they thought Hitler wanted, as occurred with aspects of organizing the Final Solution. Kershaw's narrative connecting this analysis gives outstanding evidence that he commands and understands the source material, producing this magisterial scholarship that will endure for decades. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Ian Kershaw, an English historian and academic, has written the second volume of his biography of the Nazi Dictator. Unfortunately, it is hard to see what this book adds to our knowledge of Hitler that was not already presented in previous accounts by Bullock, Toland, Fest, Keegan and Flood. Kershaw's account relies heavily on Josef Goebbel's diary and the post-war accounts of other close Hitler cronies; unfortunately their self-serving and self-deceptive views do not clarify Hitler, they obscure him.
However the biggest flaw of this account is the subtle but pervasive bias throughout. Kershaw states up front that he detests Hitler but is obviously fascinated by his career. Later, Kershaw concludes that Hitler was "an ill-educated beerhall demagogue and racist bigot". While true, it is an incomplete description. Yet for Kershaw it is enough and he uses this account to paint a portrait of Hitler almost as a self-destructive fool who was incapable of seeing reality. Not only Hitler, but the Third Reich, the Whermacht itself, most of the generals and even the German people seem pretty incapable and fatalistic here.
Nowhere is Kershaw's account more biased than in his account of wartime operations. German successes are minimized, the campaigns in Poland, France, Norway and the Balkans get one page or less each. Kershaw attempts to chide the German Navy by stating that the cruiser Blucher was sunk "by a single shell from an ancient coastal battery". In fact, the cruiser was hit by two 11", thirteen 6", thirty 57mm shells and two torpedoes and despite this loss, the Germans still took Oslo. On the other hand, Allied disasters are totally ignored.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new July 2 2004
By A Customer
I read this book hoping for some greater enlightenment about Adolf Hitler, his life, and times. There is nothing new in this book that has not been covered in about a hundred others biographies. I will not go so far as to say this is a "bad" book. That it is certainly not. However, if you are already well read regarding Adolf Hilter you will find nothing new in these pages.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hitler 1936-1945 June 23 2004
This book is not only the definitive biography of Hitler but also an excellent history text of this time period. Few, if any books on Hitler are readable--this one will keep your interest from the first page to the last. The documentation is beyond belief--over 200 pages of footnotes--this is truly the "Bible" on Hitler. Read it--you won't regret it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars "When You Lose, You Lose Alone" May 21 2004
By lb136
The Fall:
In this second of two volumes, historian Ian Kershaw shows how Hitler after his initial stunning successes in the 1930s finally over-reached himself, became responsible for the deaths of millions of people, and eventually destroyed a country, his movement, and himself.
Again, as in the first volume, the prose is workmanlike, without emotion or flash. The annotations are extensive. The story is cautionary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars spellbinding biography of a madman Sept. 21 2002
I've read many a book about World War II, but this is one of the very best. Kershaw's first volume ("Hubris") was an outright biography, with the beginnings of the Nazi era in Germany, and that was interesting enough.
"Nemesis" is on another level altogether. (You can tell that the author is British. No American historian or biographer would dare to put such titles on his books: Hubris is the pride that destroys, and Nemesis is the fate that destroys the proud.) It is at once the story of a man and the nation he led to ruin, a short history of the war and especially the calamitous Eastern Front, and a study of how the Houlocaust came to be.
I can't recommend this book too highly. Buy it and read it, if you have any hope of understanding the most monstrous regime of the 20th century, if not the entire history of mankind. Then, when you're done, go back and read the first volume.
-- Dan Ford
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis Sept. 17 2002
By A Customer
In this riveting account, drawing on many previously untapped sources--including Joseph Goebbel's diaries, recently discovered in Moscow--& incorporating numerous contemporaneous accounts of Nazi Germany, Ian Kershaw reveals a leader fanatically, ruinously convinced that he alone has the genius to conduct a war while his henchmen maintain the totalitarian state created in his name. As Nemesis opens, Adolf Hitler has achieved absolute power within Germany & triumphed in his first challenge to the European powers. Idolized by large segments of the population & firmly supported by four pillars of the Nazi regime--the Party, the armed forces, the industrial cartels, & the civil service--Hitler is poised to subjugate Europe. Nine years later, his vaunted war machine destroyed, Allied forces sweeping across Germany, Hitler will end his life with a pistol shot to his head. Kershaw's Hitler will be the final word on the most demonic figure of the twentieth century.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Drier than a Martini - Whats the Hype? July 15 2002
I expected much more. Dry and tedious, Mr. Kershaw pacts each page with wave after wave of flat, colorless data. Nothing new, and certainly no personality - but then that woud require creativity and daring - something histroians dare not undertake with repect to the subject of NAZI Germany. Lots of boring, lifeless information.
Would like to see David McCullough tackle his subject...a la his "John Adams".
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive book about Hitler
This review is about both "Hubris" and "Nemesis" as no sane person would attempt reading the second without reading the first.
This book has it all. Read more
Published on June 29 2002 by David Ekstrand
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hitler biography for this generation.
Was he great? asked Joachim Fest in his own Hitler biography. Fest allowed Hitler a 'botched greatness', a sort of monstrous parody of what we expect greatness to be. Read more
Published on March 12 2002 by Toby Joyce
5.0 out of 5 stars Springtime for Hitler 2
The two part Ian Kershaw's biography of Adolph Hitler are separate but equal portions of the life of Adolph Hitler, not the most popular, attractive or marketable of personages to... Read more
Published on March 7 2002 by allan bachman
5.0 out of 5 stars "Working towards the Fuehrer" and the "Final Solution"
I found the book as one of the most significant works on National Socialism that has appeared in the last decade. Read more
Published on March 7 2002 by Prof. Otto Dov Kulka, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Biography to Date....Period!
Ian Kershaw's "Hitler" is the best biography on Hitler...period! Is it perfect? No. The first volume was more personal and probably a little better than the second. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
This is a wonderful biography of Hitler. Very detailed-perhaps too much for some-it reads fairly easily and each section can be read alone. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2002 by Andy Williamson
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent combination of institutionalism and biography
The key to getting the most out of this book is to understand that it further develops the themes identified in the first book. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2002 by Dozy Dad
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