Hitler: Eine Biographie (Allemand) Relié – 1 décembre 1974
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Fest divides Hitler's life into three sections: the first 30 years, aimless and indolent; next, his founding of the Nazi party as a band of ruffians and he discovers his gift for oratory and controlling a crowd, as well as the 1930's where he consolidates his power and cultivates a bourgeois manner to quell English and French suspicions; and third, from 1939 on, when he drops all pretense of civility and returns to his violent roots, impetuous, indolent, tyrannical and fanatical.
The first chapter asks the question, was Hitler a genius? When you read his behavior during World War II, you know he was not at all a genius. He was a criminal who happened to take over most of Europe. When Winston Churchill dubs this "the unnecessary war" in his memoirs, you realize how true that was. The Allies were fighting a genuine madman, ready to destroy Germany as well as himself as he realizes the game is up.
My only reservation is that the book is not very readable. It is dense and requires patience and attention. But that is more than repaid. Among other biographies, the Fest stands out as an important analysis of the madman who almost conquered Europe.
For history buffs that seek to understand history without modern revisionist spin, this is the book for you.