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Publisher's Summary

From the author of Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 - a riveting account of the dictator's final years, when he got the war he wanted but his leadership led to catastrophe for his nation, the world, and himself

In the summer of 1939 Hitler was at the zenith of his power. The Nazis had consolidated political control in Germany, and a series of foreign-policy coups had restored Germany to the status of a major world power. He now embarked on realizing his lifelong ambition: to provide the German people with the resources they needed to flourish and to exterminate those who stood in the way. Yet despite a series of stunning initial triumphs, Hitler's decision to invade the Soviet Union in 1941 turned the tide for good.

Now, Volker Ullrich offers fascinating new insight into Hitler's character and personality, vividly portraying the insecurity, obsession with minutiae, and narcissistic penchant for gambling that led Hitler to overrule his subordinates and then blame them for his failures; and, ultimately, when he realized the war was not winnable, to embark on the annihilation of Germany itself in order to punish the people who he believed had failed to hand him victory. This is a masterful account of a spectacular downfall, and an essential addition to our understanding of Hitler and the Second World War.

©2018 Volker Ullrich and Jefferson Chase (P)2021 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about Hitler

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Had to return because of narration

I listened to the first book in this biography and it was excellent. For whatever reason the changed the narrator for the second book and I couldn't listen to this one.

12 people found this helpful

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Excellent and insightful history

A very thorough and timely biography of Hitler, incorporating current scholarship and reflection on earlier similar works. A must-read for anyone who still thinks that the Holocaust was an aberration caused by a madman, and also for anyone who still doubts that the US could ever go down the same road to authoritarianism. My only complaint: The narrator's inability to pronounce foreign words and place names is really annoying for anyone who knows how to pronounce them. He also consistently mispronounced a couple of English words!

8 people found this helpful

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Don Hagen vs Sean Runnette: A Story

Hitler Downfall isn't as interesting or enjoyable as Hitler Ascent. Don Hagen was a great influence on a great book, keeping me interested on every word. While Downfall was a labor to get through, spending less on the daily travels and descriptions, as was done in the first Hitler by Volker Ullrich. The second book gets into the military descriptions, which aren't the author's strengths, as describing Hitlers experiences with Eva Braun and his henchmen, hanging out in Hofbraus and eating pastry in local shops were very interesting. The second book should have done the same as the first book. Much of the enjoyment with Acent was the voice of Don Hagen. The voice of Don Hagen was like listening to your favorite uncle talk about his life vs listening to some boring preacher, Sean Runnette pontificates when he reads this book. He seems distance, like he isn't enjoying the book or care about the listener. We need more Don Hagens and no Sean Runnettes.

7 people found this helpful

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Thorough and highly detailed, but still a story

I like how thorough and fact-laden this volume and it’s preceding one were. I learned a lot about Hitler, the Nazis, but also World War 2. I’d recommend this book to anyone wanting a deep dive into the regime and it’s downfall.

1 person found this helpful

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Growing up in Nürnberg

I was born 19 years after WW II in Nurnberg Germany.
My mother and grandparents are from Nurnberg, my father an American soldier who met my mother in Germany.
As kids we would always play at Zepplin Field and in the underground bunkers across from our grandparents home.

I’ve always been interested in learning about Nazi Germany even as a young person. We grew up with all the structures and people who lived through this time in history.
It was hard not to imagine what it must have been like during that time.

The book was fascinating in its entirety. I was impressed by the back stories and personal insights the author was able to interface with the main story or subject matter. This truly gave relevance to what it was actually like and what the people were truly thinking behind the scenes.

Anyone remotely interested in WW II in Europe will have a much better understanding after divulging the brilliant work that this author has compiled.

Vielen dank!

Tony Mayse

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent

My undergrad degree is in history, and I’ve read almost all the major works on Hitler. However, about 10 years ago, I took a break from studying the Nazi leaders, becoming more interested in how ordinary people went along with the Nazis and how they adapted. Ullrich’s two volume biography broke that. This was not a happy few weeks for me though. I found myself deeply moved and melancholy from the subject matter. Ullrich does an amazing job of sewing together threads and episodes that form a tapestry of evil. The unnecessary suffering of the European continent is depressing. It is obvious that the Holocaust never would have happened without Hitler, and his leadership style and extreme rhetoric created a level of mania that created the monstrosity that was the Third Reich. Yet Hitler was pathetically human at the same time. Hitler was so un compelling; sleeping late, droning on and on in conversations, suffering temper tantrums, that it’s angering that he ever achieved power. The parallels to US politics today, and the immediate past President, couldn’t be clearer. Likewise, the nearly all powerful presidency created by our 18th century governing structure and the power of elite conservative interests have significant parallels with Weimar Germany. There are lessons in this book for today that we fail to heed at our peril. Some criticize the readers, which are different between volume 1 and 2, but I liked both very much. They seem respectively perfect for the periods of time they covered. All in all an excellent work.

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Filled Gaps

Some new material unearthed here and an interesting perspective. Excellent narrator, only a few mistakes.

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Incredible history telling

This work sheds light on the naked truth of a madman’s quest for self destruction .

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An Excellent History

The definitive biography of the world’s most evil person. A must read for anyone wanting an insight into one of the most enigmatic figures of the 20th century, and how fascism can take hold of even the most well-educated countries.

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Amazing

One of the best books on Hitler. I loved it and tge narrator was superb