I laughed out loud a number of times reading this novel. Bainbridge's humour is devastatingly ironic. The novel follows a twenty three year old Adolf Hitler as he blunders his way through a stay in Liverpool in 1912 with his brother Alois and his Irish wife Bridget. Because of the humour, the reader can at times find themselves with a degree of sympathy for the rather hapless and paranoid Adolf. Whenever that happens, however, Bainbridge hits you again with a subtle turn of irony that lets you feel justifiable contempt for him. In short, this Hitler is a loser -- a future powerful figure cut down to size. Without wanting to give anything away, Bainbridge also explains why Hitler had that odd moustache -- "He [Adolf] resolved to grow a moustache. Never again would he be mistaken for a woman." Very funny, believe me!
This is a wonderful read that will certainly be appreciated by those with an interest in history and a sense of humour about it all.
In, "Young Adolph", the Author imagines a trip he might have taken to visit his brother in Liverpool when he was 23 years of age. To the extent there is humor in the work it is at the expense of her subject who on his best day does not rise above pathetic, and when drunk becomes a raging lunatic. If this sounds familiar it should, as the Hitler of History was so painfully ordinary it is almost beyond belief he did not die on the street during one of his homeless periods.
The Author brings about several events that are not earth shattering until you place them in the context of the Evil that was to be Hitler. Some are relatively minor as when we learn how his ridiculous hairstyle came about. However Ms. Bainbridge also hypothesizes where some of the events and practices that later would shake the world and resonate to today, may have started.
The book is as interesting as many Historical Works I have read about this genocidal maniac, and in some ways it carries with it more impact than scholarly studies of the creature. When portrayed as he has been presented here, the horror he becomes and unleashes on a good portion of the world, is either amazing or terrifying and probably both. An evil genius would be an understandable character, however such an unlikely character that History elevated to one of the great mass murderers of the 20th Century is as far from genius as language allows. And this is what Ms. Bainbridge illustrates so well in this work.