• Hitler

  • A Biography
  • By: Ian Kershaw
  • Narrated by: Alan Robertson
  • Length: 46 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (654 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Hailed as the most compelling biography of the German dictator yet written, Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the heart of its subject's immense darkness. From his illegitimate birth in a small Austrian village to his fiery death in a bunker under the Reich chancellery in Berlin, Adolf Hitler left a murky trail, strewn with contradictory tales and overgrown with self-created myths. One truth prevails: the sheer scale of the evils that he unleashed on the world has made him a demonic figure without equal in the 20th century.

Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the character of the bizarre misfit in his 30-year ascent from a Viennese shelter for the indigent to uncontested rule over the German nation that had tried and rejected democracy in the crippling aftermath of World War I. With extraordinary vividness, Kershaw recreates the settings that made Hitler's rise possible: the virulent anti-Semitism of prewar Vienna, the crucible of a war with immense casualties, the toxic nationalism that gripped Bavaria in the 1920s, the undermining of the Weimar Republic by extremists of the Right and the Left, the hysteria that accompanied Hitler's seizure of power in 1933 and then mounted in brutal attacks by his storm troopers on Jews and others condemned as enemies of the Aryan race.

In an account drawing on many previously untapped sources, Hitler metamorphoses from an obscure fantasist, a "drummer" sounding an insistent beat of hatred in Munich beer halls, to the instigator of an infamous failed putsch and, ultimately, to the leadership of a ragtag alliance of right-wing parties fused into a movement that enthralled the German people.

©1998, 2000, 2008 Ian Kershaw (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Hitler

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Excellent Read

I've read a ton of WWII books so I wouldn't say there is much I learned from this book, but it is a great single volume collection and it's very readable. Another reviewer said that you needed to be a historian or something to read this, that is nonsense. While the book is long it moves at a a good pace and to me always remained interesting. I think the early years of any biography are the most difficult to keep interesting but again I think Kershaw did a good job of providing detail but not getting bogged down in detail. Everything is covered and at times I actually wish there was more detail if anything, not less. Again this is a 40-hour long book so there is a good amount of detail, but I never was bored by it.

The reader does an excellent job throughout.

Overall if you're of average intelligence and can stand the length this book will pose no challenges for you. Even though I knew almost everything that was about to happen I still found myself getting wrapped up in the story. This is a historical-biography written in an interesting manner, which is no easy feat. I highly recommend.

20 people found this helpful

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Beautiful book. Bad German pronunciation.

A masterful book. Beautiful reading voice, but ... couldn't the narrator have been taught proper German pronunciation? If one pronounces Lebensraum as Liebensraum it means "loving space", not "living space". Etcetera.

15 people found this helpful

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Excellent

This is an excellent biography of a difficult subject who still remains opaque when one tries to view him as a person. Perhaps that is the ultimate triumph of will.

I have only two slight complaints. The first is my own lack of judgment. I chose to listen to this book instead of the several volume work in the interest if economy. I regret that decision because this version does seem a bit truncated and I fear I missed some details I would have liked. Perhaps this will only be a problem for those who have read extensively in this era if history. I do urge people who love indulging in the details of history to listen to the other books.

The second is the narrarator who overall is excellent. He brutally mispronounces many German words. Naturally, being British, he does it with a savior faire that almost convinces one that he must be correct, but when he constantly says "Liebensraum" instead of "Lebensraum," my ears protest. Surely the producer of the audiobook should have noticed. This is not merely a mispronunciation but the substitution of one word for another and an entirely different concept!

13 people found this helpful

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Superb, well crafted and well narrated.

This is an excellent book on a difficult subject. With so many books on or about this subject it is always difficult to find one that covers it so comprehensively and especially as it is a truncated version of his two volume biography it certainly does not seem so.

Excellent information on Hitler's early life and influences much of which I had not read about before all the way up to his last days in the bunker which is covered with good detail using sources close to the final days in the bunker.

All in all a very good listen.

Highly recommended.

12 people found this helpful

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We get it, he's done bad things

I've been interested in reading an audiobook covering the life of Adolf Hitler, and stumbled across this book. While thorough, it seems to take the negative approach instead of leaving only the facts, using eye-rolling phrases like "crocodile tears" and "but of course, he was lying" (paraphrasing here).

If you're interested in listening to an audiobook about Hitler's life, buy the book by John Toland. It's much more subjective and spares you the reverse-propaganda.

8 people found this helpful

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OMG it's 43 hours long

This thrilling work by Ian Kershaw is not for the casual reader. It's not even for the occasional history buff. It's for the serious student of history circa 1900 - 1945. You must be willing to literally devote 2 full days of your life to listening to this excellent work.

Did I mention that it's 43 hours long.

The biggest problem with this work is not the lack of editing, it's the author's use of run on sentences. I dont believe there is a single sentence in this book that is less then six words long. A single paragraph can literally take ten minutes.

Putting the improper use of sentence structure aside, this is an excellent work about Hitler and his lfe. Keep in mind that this is a book about Hitler, and not about military strategy. This book deals with Hitler and the events around him as probably seen thru his eyes. This book deals a lot with Hitler's political reasoning such as his rationale for invading Russia and opening up a two front war. This book also investigates Hitler's opinions of other world leaders of the day and how these impressions ( whether right or wrong ) influenced his decisions. Hitler's hatred for the Jews is given a lot of coverage as a lot of his decisions were rooted in this hatred.

This book is well worth the 1 credit to purchase. It is also well worth the time investment to listen to it.

6 people found this helpful

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I am not a German speaker, but...

...I am sympathetic to reviewers who have singled out the German pronunciation of the narrator as a stumbling block to enjoying this audiobook. However, as a non-German speaker, I am free to enjoy all that is good about this audiobook. The timbre, cadence, and expressivity of the narrator's voice all added greatly to my enjoyment of this audiobook. It would be a shame to miss this simply because of less-than-idiomatic German pronunciation. Here are some reasons why:

Firstly, the book itself is one of the most scholarly biographies of Hitler yet written, and will likely remain so for decades to come.

Secondly, at the time of this writing, there are no other audio versions of this book available.

Thirdly, this book is in English. True, the subject matter is German, but the overwhelming majority of the words in this book are in English. Therefore, the mispronounced German words make up a very small percentage of the total content of this audiobook. So, besides being offended by the mangling of some German words by the narrator, as some German-speaking reviewers are, it is still entirely possible to completely understand and enjoy the content of the book, in so much as one can "enjoy" a book about Hitler's life.

Fourthly, I have enjoyed numerous audiobooks written in English that were narrated by people for whom English was not their first language. This means that some of the words were not pronounced as idiomatically as a native English speaker would. Did it prevent me from enjoying the book? Of course not. My command of English is not so flimsy that I cannot figure out what is being said, even if the pronunciation of some of the words is wrong.

Should the publisher have had a native German speaker check the finished product for correct pronunciation, as some reviewers have suggested? Possibly, but that is probably an expense most audiobook publishers cannot afford. Perhaps for a major celebrity tell-all book, but not for a biography, regardless of how good it is. I have known people who narrate audiobooks. It is not how they earn a living. It doesn't pay enough. It is a sideline. In other words, audiobooks are probably not the sort of big-budget operation that can afford the kind of quality control that would allow for a native German-speaking pronunciation-checker on the payroll. But, that's just a guess on my part.

4 people found this helpful

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Not great if you don't want so much evidence

I stopped listening to this book and returned it after several chapters. I appreciate the author's concern about carefully analyzing evidence, particularly when it is questionable or conflicting. But the analysis of the evidence overwhelms the narrative, at least in the beginning. I don't have the patience to listen to 46 hours of this. Also, the narrator's tone seems arrogant, which I found grating. I am going to try another biography of Hitler.

4 people found this helpful

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simply wonderful

one of those books that makes you realize you knew only of the myth and almost nothing of the man. cannot give enough praise. brilliant

3 people found this helpful

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Pronunciation of German names very bad

Overall, the book is breathtakingly chilling and hard to put down. Fascinating details about this satanic character. The reading is excellent, except for the pronunciation of German names. Even I, whose native tongue is German , had often a hard time understanding what was being referred to.

3 people found this helpful