Two Frogs

Der Fuehrer: Hitler's Rise to Power.

by Konrad Heiden
Date Reviewed: June 17, 2004

Thick, thick, thick history. This is not an overview or a primer, and is not for casual observers of history. This is thoroughly detailed, and covers the period from the earliest known origins of Hitler’s family, through the bloody “purge” of June 30, 1934. As the concentration camps had not, up to that point, been discovered to be extermination camps, that aspect of Nazi Germany isn’t covered, although the beginnings of Jewish persecution are certainly well-known. The book is well-written, if a little dull and tedious at points. It is a serious work of history, and intended for serious consumers of that history. I have to admit, some of the sources seem a bit dubious. Most notably, the author frequently quotes passages from Goebbels’ diary. This, allegedly, in a text first published in 1944 by a man who fled Germany in 1934. Seems to me unlikely that he swiped Goebbels’ diary on his way out, but no explanation is given as for how he comes by his sources, and there is no bibliography. Still, the book is a fascinating read of the rise of Hitler from an out-of-work Austrian immigrant who lived in a homeless shelter, to the man who commanded an entire nation to its most gruesome and shameful period in history.

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