Young Hitler The making of the Führer

Paul Ham

Book - 2018

A rigorous narrative analysis probes into the childhood, war experiences, and early political career of Adolf Hitler to assess how his defining years affected his rise to power.

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BIOGRAPHY/Hitler, Adolf
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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
New York : Pegasus Books 2018.
Edition
First Pegasus Books hardcover edition
Language
English
Physical Description
308 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (273-290) and index.
ISBN
9781681777474
1681777479
Main Author
Paul Ham (author)
  • Prologue: A little context...
  • "At the time I thought everything should be blown up"
  • "At home I do not remember having heard the word Jew"
  • "I had honoured my father, but my mother I had loved"
  • "The whole academy should be dynamited"
  • "Is this a German?"
  • "I fell down on my knees and thanked Heaven"
  • "I passionately loved soldiering"
  • "Louvain was a heap of rubble"
  • "I was right out in front, ahead of everyone"
  • "You will hear much more about me"
  • "At last my will was undisputed master"
  • "For the last time the Lord's grace smiled on His ungrateful children"
  • "Since the day I stood at my mother's grave, I had not wept"
  • "What was all the pain in my eyes compared to this misery?"
  • "I could speak!"
  • "The movement was on the march"
  • "The world of the woman is the man"
  • "You must fight with me
  • or die with me!"
  • "If fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters had been held under poison gas..."
  • Epilogue: The making of the Führer
  • Appendix: The German National Socialist "25-point programme."
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* When Germany's List Regiment assaulted Allied positions in October 1914, British bullets killed hundreds of the attackers but somehow missed one combat-intoxicated regiment infantryman: Adolf Hitler. In this probing account of Hitler's early life, Ham identifies the Great War as the crucible forging Hitler's passion for vengeance against those he believed had betrayed the German army, especially the Jews. Scrutinizing many of the same life events examined by Thomas Weber in Becoming Hitler (2017), Ham shares Weber's perspective on a young Hitler deploying fiendish oratory to preach racial hatred while convincing German listeners of his own heroic stature as an evangelist of Aryan superiority. But Ham differs from Weber in regarding WWI as truly decisive in galvanizing the mental outlook of this missionary of ethnic malice. Moreover, Ham concludes that only the traumatizing effects of that war on the German people as a whole can account for their willingness to embrace an uneducated demagogue as their national savior. As he marvels at the impotence of Hitler's critics to stop his ascent, Ham worries about the rise of populist demagogues in the twenty-first-century world, and he summons his readers to the imperative task of fighting their influence. A biographical inquiry of disquieting contemporary relevance. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this serviceable but not comprehensive analysis, journalist and historian Ham argues that Adolf Hitler's experiences in WWI "acted like a forge for his character, hammering his embittered mind into a vengeful political machine." Ham describes Hitler's WWI service as fundamentally different from that of the ordinary soldier: he was a message-runner. It was an elite job—involving periodic episodes of high risk and demanding great alertness and self-reliance, followed by ample time for self-contemplation and self-cultivation—that evaporated with the armistice. Ham presents a post-defeat Hitler devastated and drifting, turning to politics out of opportunism and desperation. In expressing his personal fury and frustration, Ham argues, Hitler found success replicating his wartime experience: calling on the qualities necessary to get a message through and bring back the reply. His situational awareness made him both a loudspeaker and an echo chamber for those Germans dislocated and brutalized by the Great War and its consequences, correspondingly susceptible to a rhetoric of hatred. This is a useful general-audience perspective on Hitler as more drummer than leader. Agent: Helen Edwards, Transworld Publishing. (June) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A rigorous narrative analysis by the author of Hiroshima Nagasaki probes into the childhood, war experiences and early political career of Adolf Hitler to assess how his defining years affected his rise to power.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A rigorous narrative analysis probes into the childhood, war experiences, and early political career of Adolf Hitler to assess how his defining years affected his rise to power.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

By looking deeply into the Führer's childhood, war experiences, and early political career, this rigorous narrative seeks to answer this question: How did the early, defining years of Hitler's life affect his rise to power?When Adolf Hitler went to war in 1914, he was just 25 years old. It was a time he would later call the 'most stupendous experience of my life."That war ended with Hitler in a hospital bed, temporarily blinded by mustard gas. The world he eventually opened his newly healed eyes to was new and it was terrible: Germany had been defeated, the Kaiser had fled, and the army had been resolutely humbled.Hitler never accepted these facts. Out of his fury rose a white-hot hatred, an unquenchable thirst for revenge against the 'criminals' who had signed the armistice, the socialists he accused of stabbing the army in the back, and, most violently, the Jews'a direct threat to the master race of his imagination'on whose shoulders he would pile all of Germany's woes.By peeling back the layers of Hitler's childhood, his war record, and his early political career, Paul Ham's Young Hitler seeks the man behind the myth. More broadly, Paul Ham seeks to answer the question: Was Hitler's rise to power an extreme example of a recurring type of demagogue'a politician who will do and say anything to seize power; who thrives on chaos; and who personifies, in his words and in his actions, the darkest prejudices of humankind?

Review by Publisher Summary 4

By looking deeply into the Führer's childhood, war experiences, and early political career, this rigorous narrative seeks to answer this question: How did the early, defining years of Hitler's life affect his rise to power?When Adolf Hitler went to war in 1914, he was just 25 years old. It was a time he would later call the 'most stupendous experience of my life."That war ended with Hitler in a hospital bed, temporarily blinded by mustard gas. The world he eventually opened his newly healed eyes to was new and it was terrible: Germany had been defeated, the Kaiser had fled, and the army had been resolutely humbled.Hitler never accepted these facts. Out of his fury rose a white-hot hatred, an unquenchable thirst for revenge against the 'criminals' who had signed the armistice, the socialists he accused of stabbing the army in the back, and, most violently, the Jews'a direct threat to the master race of his imagination'on whose shoulders he would pile all of Germany's woes.By peeling back the layers of Hitler's childhood, his war record, and his early political career, Paul Ham's Young Hitler seeks the man behind the myth. More broadly, Paul Ham seeks to answer the question: Was Hitler's rise to power an extreme example of a recurring type of demagogue'a politician who will do and say anything to seize power; who thrives on chaos; and who personifies, in his words and in his actions, the darkest prejudices of humankind?

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Young Hitler: The Making of the Führer

Review by Publisher Summary 6

By looking deeply into the Führer's childhood, war experiences, and early political career, this rigorous narrative seeks to answer this question: How did the early, defining years of Hitler’s life affect his rise to power?