Adolf Hitler

by John Toland

Hardcover, 1976




Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1976. 2 vol.


This comprehensive biography of Adolf Hitler is based in part on more than one hundred and fifty interviews with people directly involved in his life.

Media reviews

There have been biographies of Adolf Hitler and histories of the Nazi era almost without number; the clue to John Toland's success in telling us more than we knew before about Hitler is the astonishing number of personal interviews—over 150 and most of them taped—that he managed to obtain.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Richard7920
Even for one who thinks that he or she already knows everything there is to know about Hitler, this book remains a fascinating biography. One quickly recognizes the crisp and illuminating style of John Toland, who is both a good writer and a good "read. The story of Adolf Hitler unfolds from an obscure Austrian birth to that afternoon fifty-six years later, when the limp bodies of both Der Fuhrer and his wife of one day were doused with gasoline and torched by his faithful servants. The time span between these two dates provides a dynamic backdrop against which the reader sees the rise of an extraordinary person. What stands this book apart from the many volumes written about Hitler since 1945, is the source material. Published in 1976, after more than twenty years of research and interviews with many of Hitler's relatives, friends, and associates--both inside and outside of the Third Reich, this book provides a lot of little-known information about Hitler and gives a rare glimpse of the personal traits and quirks of one of history's most ruthless monsters. The biography provides an excellent "Glossary" that identifies and defines a number of German terms as well as terms specific to the Nazi Party. Also included is a "Table of Ranks," giving the German Army ranks and their equivalent ranks in the SS and the Nazi Party (NSDAP). Outstanding work.… (more)
LibraryThing member talifer
hitler was not a monster; he was a man who did monstrous things. it's easy to dismiss him out of hand, but a study of this man's life is a study of someone who has taken hold of a vision for the future and will go to any lengths to achieve it, no matter the cost. and despite promises the world made, it happens again and again...because that's a part of human nature.… (more)
LibraryThing member marshapetry
Incredible book, highly recommend for anyone interested in WWII. Excellent narrator too. Easy to read, too, not full of psycho-analytical jargon - author does comment on some theories of behavior but it's usually to either justify or deny someone else's theory of Hitler's behavior. The author pretty much tells the story of Hitler rather than the story of "why" Hitler did what he did; this makes the story all that much better because it doesn't try to claim any theories and then line up the evidence to the theory. It *mostly* just tells Hitler's story from childhood to death. One thing I particularly liked is that the book explained the violent and outrageous events going on before the war that made Hitler seem like more of an acceptable choice to lead. Certainly many people were aware how dangerous he was but this book also shows why many people thought Hitler could save Germany and so chose to accept him as "mein Fuhrer".

This is one long audiobook - it's kinda "all hitler, all the time" - but well worth the read if you like WWII info. Very engaging.
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LibraryThing member keylawk
This is the biography of a person who thought about himself ALL the time. All through his childhood and youth, this was not a characteristic that anyone could love. It may have thwarted love, all through his development. But how is his rise to power explained? And why is he SO LOVED even today?

It really began for him, in the Army. Every unit of soldiers had its "training" cadre. Soldiers have to learn how to use their weapons, first aid, communications. These "technical" courses were prestigious and the best soldiers would teach others. At some point in the First World War, they began teaching "propaganda" in the field. The Wehrmacht has always understood the importance of "morale" - called by the French esprit d'corp. But in Hitler's unit at least, this was not a prestigious unit to teach. No one really wanted to be the morale instructor.

Hitler, however, discovered his chance to stand in front of the group and "arouse their feelings". Under color of boosting the spirits of his fellow soldiers, he would depart from the patriotic and nascent nationalist directives, to blame their troubles on others. Blame-shifting is always emotionally liberating. Jews were a convenient scape-goat, and he was fond of targeting gypsies and homosexuals as well. And the better he got at this--and his oratory became increasingly histrionic--the more the officers shifted this segment of training which they did not find attactive or rewarding, to him.

Although Hitler never accomplished anything else, in the years of service as the propaganda instructor, it is clear that he honed an oratorical style, and an instinct for grabbing the mob's attention. He would tear up, he would beseech and bellow, shriek and pound at his bosom. Years of practicing this in front of small groups of bored soldiers who were unclear about the meaning in their lives. This maniac gave them meaning. He became the Absolute, the guide for everyone, the Fuhrer.

The perfect role for a man for whom "it" was all about.
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LibraryThing member elleayess
Although it is a good book, I find the book on Hitler by Ian Kershaw much better and accurate. Definitely worth the read if you can get through both volumes.
LibraryThing member bookcoll
One of the most difinitive biographies about Hitler that I have read. Toland is an even-handed researcher.
LibraryThing member netoll
My father's book. He fought in WWII, landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, Purple Heart....always had a great interest in the WWII European theater. His love of reading passed on to me. He did not talk about his experiences in the war until later in his life. I also developed my love of reading through my father.
LibraryThing member dc694
This book is really long, over 1200 pages. But it gives a great, in depth look at the life of Hitler. I would recommend it to anybody interested in reading about him, he is really interesting to read about. Also shows a lot about what was going on in German politics and government from his rise and fall.
LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
All the facts are here, and Hitler is portrayed as aware of the Holocaust. So Mr. Toland is a competent stylist, and the book is readable.
LibraryThing member BiblioLorenzoLodi
Toland’s research provided one of the final opportunities for a historian to conduct personal interviews with over two hundred individuals intimately associated with Hitler. At a certain distance yet still with access to many of the people who enabled and who opposed the führer and his Third Reich, Toland strove to treat this life as if Hitler lived and died a hundred years before instead of within his own memory. From childhood and obscurity to his desperate end, Adolf Hitler emerges as, in Toland’s words, “far more complex and contradictory . . . obsessed by his dream of cleansing Europe Jews . . . a hybrid of Prometheus and Lucifer.”… (more)
LibraryThing member GlennBell
This is a detailed work by John Toland. I read volume one, which is 526 pages. It is interesting to learn the series of events and people involved in the rise of Adolph Hilter to power in Germany. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants a true understanding of Adolph Hitler. It is rather long and includes details that may not be of interest to all readers.… (more)
LibraryThing member tetchechury
This is a very hard read. Very slow, but chalk full of information on the life of the worlds biggest madman.


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