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Hitler A Study In Tyranny [Paperback]

Alan Bullock
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1991 Penguin History
This book covers the whole of Hitler's life, from his obscure beginnings through his advance to supreme absolute power and then his final decline and suicide in the bunker as Russian shells fell around him. Bullock divides the narrative into three main sections. The first deals with Hitler's early life, his rise to party leader in the years following the First World War, and his gaining of the Chancellorship in 1933. The second part describes how he consolidated his position and extended his power once he was in office. The third and final part is about his actions in the Second World War.

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About the Author

Alan Bullock, Baron Bullock, was born in 1914. He studied at Oxford University and served as a research assistant to Winston Churchill while writing his A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. He was a history fellow at New College, Oxford, helped found St Catherine's College, Oxford, and was Vice-Chancellor for the university. A renowned modern historian, Bullock was made a life peer in 1976. He died in 2004.

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Adolf Hitler was born at half past six on the evening of 20 April 1889, in the Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn in the small town of Braunau on the River Inn which forms the frontier between Austria and Bavaria. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Straight Forward, Comprehensive Study Oct. 4 2001
In "Hitler: A Study in Tyranny," Alan Bullock stated that, as an author, he has no axe to grind. He adhered to that statement. Bullock offered a very balanced and plausible account of Hitler's life atempting to understand the dictator not as a demon but as a human being.
Readers interested in tantalizing controversy will be disappointed with this book. Bullock chose not to assert blame for such things as the Reichstag fire. Bullock dismissed the popular claim that Hitler changed his name from Schicklgruber (man, I got tired of my teachers reiterating that bit of misinformation) and the myth that Hitler resorted to astrology in decision-making. As for Geli Raubel, Bullock finds her best to be left as "a mystery." Bullock took a conservative stance in his analysis focusing only on the known fact's about Hitler's life.
Bullock offers a thorough study of Hitler's days in Vienna before the First World War and the ways in which this experience formed his political views. Hitler is presented not as the originator of future Nazi principles but as a product of the anti-rational, anti-intellectual, and anti-Semetic ideas that had been circulating in Europe for the previous hundred years. His understanding of propaganda, oratory skills, and pratical exposure to street politics helped Hitler gain a following. Ultimately, it was Hitler's determination that prompted him to turn down enticing offers of political position by Franz von Papen and Bruening that were less than what he sought: the Chancellory. During the Second World War, Hitler's "warlord" image was transformed: "the human being disappears, absorbed into the historical figure of the Fuehrer." Bullock also pointed out that this devotion to power led eventually to Hitler's downfall.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good in its time now a little dated Aug. 22 2001
The unabridged version was the first major work dealing with Hitler in the English speaking world. As such it was widely read for years and made compulsory for many university students.
Hitler is not that difficult a person to write a biography of. This can be contrasted with figures such as Stalin who was able to control the materials about his life and manufacture a range of untruths. The defeat of Germany and the discrediting of Nazism meant that little was hidden.
Despite that there are some things which have occurred since this book came out which date it a little. Kershaws recent book on Hitler is thus superior simply because of this but Bullocks work is by no means badly dated.
These are to some extent a matter of emphasis but they include.
(a) Hitler seems to have falsified some aspects of his background. He exaggerated his poverty in Mein Kampf which was the source of Bullers material. (b) Hitlers rise to power depended more on the circumstances around him rather than his own actions. Hitler seemed to be rather lazy (c) During his last years Hitler spent most of his time with military personal. They portrayed him as a man who was the archetypal mad dictator. A good deal of this seems to have been made up to shield military leaders from their own actions.
Despite that Bullers work is readable and comprehensive
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Having read several books about the Nazis, I was interested in picking this title up for a couple of reasons. First of all, in William L. Shirer's book "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," Mr. Shirer made a couple of references to Alan Bullock. And second, I couldn't pass up a book written by another of the "Bullock" type (ha ha).
I've got to say this was one of the better written books I've read that concerned the Nazis. He gave detail about the different players in the Nazi Regime (Goring, Goebbels, Himmler, etc) which was nice to finally put some historical information to the infamous people. His vocabulary was sometimes written in simple-man terms, which makes this a good read for people who don't know much about the "Thousand Year Reich."
Another thing Bullock did so well was spanning all of the history of the Third Reich equally throughout the book. Although the ending wasn't quite so extensively written as the beginning or middle, I still felt it was satisfactory.
In conclusion, "Hitler: A Study in Tyranny" is a great book for both beginners that are learning about the Third Reich and people who already know information about the Nazis.
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I'll be brief here because this is more of a warning than an admonition. Alan Bullock's Hitler: A Study Of Tyranny was, at the time of its release (let's cast all the way back into the 50's for that) quite imposing in its achievement: a lengthy, scholarly tome appraising Hitler, and for awhile the best Hitler biography out there (though I personally hold Konrad Heiden's 1944 (! ) The Fuhrer in high esteem, as do almost all modern Hitler biographers, who pay tribute to his impressive perceptiveness).
Now, however, this work has dated very badly, especially in its remarkably unsatisfactory portrait of the psychology of Hitler himself. To say, as Bullock does in this history, that Hitler was basically without an ideology is to make a mockery of his disturbing weltanschauung and to commit an enormous gaffe in apprehending his basic character. That's one of the most noticeable issues, but there are many lesser ones involving sourcing issues, mixed-up chronologies, and a simple lack of information (at this point, the Nazi archives were only just being sifted through).
I don't mean to impugn Bullock as a historian or a writer - his prose is perhaps less engaging that Joachim Fest's masterful style, but certainly never parochial or pedantic, and his historical errors and misjudgments are to be blamed more on a lack of information at the time than any laziness on his part - but this is NOT the place to go for a Hitler biography. Instead, go to Joachim Fest's Hitler (written in 1972, but still perhaps the single best long-form study of Hitler available, despite a lack of focus on the Holocaust), or Ian Kershaw's new series of works, the second of which should be due sometime soon.
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Most recent customer reviews
I first read this book the best part of fifty years ago.

It stands up remarkably well, even when read with a subsequent background of many books about World War II,... Read more
Published 20 months ago by John W. Chuckman
5.0 out of 5 stars Indespensible to Any Serious Study of World War II
No study of World War II is complete without an understanding of the man most responsible for its origin and its course, Adoph Hitler. Read more
Published on April 6 2012 by James Gallen
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding for its time
Contemporary readers may not be as impressed with this biography as they ought to be, as it has been so influential that its conclusions have been widely adopted by subsequent... Read more
Published on July 12 2000 by Jussi Bjorling
4.0 out of 5 stars Just the Facts
This is the basic book that the "WWII" industry has standardized in the field. It provides a great deal of factual information, moving beyond esoteric analyses of... Read more
Published on June 21 1999 by carries_bulldog@usa.net
4.0 out of 5 stars Accurate depiction of Hitler
I studied this book in high school; this is a history book.
This is by no means a complete depiction of Hitler's life and generally focuses on historical events rather than... Read more
Published on Dec 11 1998 by Conrad Hoss
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent biography on Hitler by a British author.
A well researched book. I would have given it a higher mark but the anti-nazi comes out a little too strong from this author. Read more
Published on May 28 1998 by B. Magnus (tiamat88@hotmail.com)
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