Review by Choice Review
Who was Adolf Hitler? What events helped to shape his worldview and his views on Jews? These and other questions have perplexed scholars for decades as they have struggled to provide answers. Weber entered the fray with Hitler's First War (2010) by challenging Hitler's self-narrative in Mein Kampf, arguing that Hitler's anti-Semitism was not shaped by his war experiences. Weber (Univ. of Aberdeen, Scotland) pointed to the fact that Hitler's superior officer in the List Regiment, Hugo Gutmann, who recommended Hitler for the Iron Cross, was Jewish. This and other inconsistencies in Hitler's autobiography led Weber to question exactly when Hitler's ideas emerged. The author continues with his skeptical approach to Hitler's vita in this work, which examines the years 1919-23 and describes them as Hitler's political awakening and education. Weber questions Hitler's self-portrayal with contravening accounts presented by others who knew him, and points to the announcement of the onerous terms of the Versailles Treaty as the genesis and growing radicalization of his views. While one cannot concur with all of Weber's speculations, it is clear that Hitler's self-narrative cannot be taken at face value any longer. For that, Weber deserved kudos. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All public and academic levels/libraries. --Romuald K. Byczkiewicz, Central Connecticut State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* What influences forged the world-shaking demagogue Adolf Hitler? Biographers misled by the dictator's own lies long supposed his political character emerged during his early years in Austria. Later scholars still misled by Hitler's fabrications have pointed to the formative influence of an angry private's travails in WWI and its aftermath. But when Weber looks at the Hitler who returned to Munich in 1918, he sees only an aimless drifter. Carefully tracking his life from 1918 to 1926, Weber documents the transformation that turned this rudderless opportunist into a fiery orator enjoying the support of millions who hailed him as a political genius, even a messiah. To a surprising degree, this metamorphosis depended on Hitler's success in hiding his real and belated political awakening behind a heroic personal mythology. Much of that mythology appeared in 1925-26 in Mein Kampf, but so, too, did an ominous political agenda: Hitler promised the world he would secure Germany's future by ridding the country of Jews and by securing Lebensraum in Eastern Europe. This probing study concludes with the definitive maturation of a true Nazi leader, fully committed to a political vision that would kill millions in the Holocaust and millions more in world war. An unflinching inquiry.--Christensen, Bryce Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Similar to Hitler's First War (2010), Weber's (history, Univ. of Aberdeen) latest argues that historians should not assume that any of Adolf Hitler's autobiographical statements, whether they appear in Mein Kampf or elsewhere, contain any iota of truth. The author argues that when World War I ended, Hitler was not a traumatized war veteran whose ideology could be considered to be Nazism in a nascent form. Instead, the author asserts that in 1918, Hitler was a political opportunist-almost an empty vessel-who engaged with postwar Bavarian political culture and eventually crafted an image of himself as a self-made genius with a destiny to save Germany from a Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy. Weber mines contemporaneous sources to re-create the physical milieu, including the city of Munich, along with the intellectual movements that fed Hitler's evolving political identity as he transformed from a relatively apolitical loner to a right-wing demigod. By 1926, Hitler had assimilated, and genuinely believed, racialist and anti-Semitic ideas. VERDICT While the details can become cumbersome at times, creating a narrative that is sometimes difficult to follow, this comprehensive work should become the standard text on Hitler and the origins of the Nazi party.-Frederic Krome, Univ. of Cincinnati Clermont Coll. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.