"Inside the Third Reich is a memoir written by Albert Speer, the Nazi Minister of Armaments from 1942 to 1945, serving as Adolf Hitler's main architect before this period. It is considered to be one of the most detailed descriptions of the inner workings and leadership of Nazi Germany but is controversial because of Speer's lack of discussion of Nazi atrocities and questions regarding his degree of awareness or involvement with them."--
Could this memoir be anything else? Should it be? Probably not. I just can't help but feel that Speer's last sacrifice should be to accept alienation, where his memoirs, like his architecture, become lost to that time.
Speer shares what he saw as Hitler's likable traits and as a man who was capable and devoted but later or perhaps reflection in prison Speer felt these traits may have been only superficial. The work Speer did during WWII for the Third Reich was essential for the war machine to function. He claims he did not know that his friend was committing genocide but he willing used the slave labor provided for his factories.
It is mainly a book of the daily routine of the man that shared tea with Hitler and the bureaucracy that was the Third Reich. A bureaucracy that Speer knew how to handle quite well and prospered in. What it took to operate in this government is expressed in detail. The insight on how one could operate in such a regime and be successful in the construction and requisition projects that Speer was involved in. Some may fine these parts too detailed but they give us an insight on the inner workings of the regime.
As in all relationships his view of Hitler changed over time as did his view of the man. But a man is what we are shown through the eyes of the author. Though Speer admits that his country committed war crimes and he took responsibility for his part by accepting the sentence of twenty years he never apologized. As you read I feel he felt though he had a part that he was made a to pay the penalty for those who were either dead or escaped. To his credit at the end of WWII Speer did try and block some of Hitlers policy of total destruction of cities and infrastructure as the Third Reich collapsed around them.
This is a review of the large paperback edition published by Ishi Press. The copyright page states: "Current Printing in June, 2009, Ishi Press in New York and Tokyo". In reality, what you'll receive is a beastly print-on-demand copy printed not in June 2009 but soon after you order it on some cheap digital printer in San Bernardino. This edition is roughly the same size as the 1970 hardback edition, but for some odd reason, this version has a 2-inch bottom margin, and the main text is printed in a much smaller font. Some pages look like bad photocopies. Sort of ironic that the memoirs of an artist like Speer are presented in such an unattractive way.
The smaller Simon and Schuster paperback edition can be had for less than a third of the price of the Ishi Press edition, and I can't imagine that it looks any worse. I suggest buying either it or a good used hardback edition if you can find one.