GOEBBELS by David Irving


Mastermind of the Third Reich
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 A ponderous, tedious, and scurrilously misleading biography of a major Nazi leader--by a fellow traveler, if not a card-carrying member, of the movement of Holocaust denial. With access to some 75,000 pages of Goebbels's diaries, which had long been spirited away in Soviet archives, British author Irving (Gîring: A Biography, 1989; Hitler's War, 1977; etc.) had the unprecedented opportunity to gain insight into the mind of Hitler's minister of propaganda. Instead, Irving inundates the reader with the personal foibles (including amorous liaisons and a love for cars) of a rather mediocre intellect and with a blizzard of details that, along some selective omissions, obscure the truth rather than shed light on it. Some of the details insinuate that the Jews brought on themselves such events as Kristallnacht; others seek to rehabilitate Hitler's reputation. Whatever happened to the Jews in WW II (and Irving doesn't state clearly what did happen) was the doing of Goebbels and Hitler's other henchmen. ``Goebbels was the motor, goading his reluctant FÅhrer into ever more radical actions against the Jews.'' And: ``Neither the broad German public nor their FÅhrer shared his [Goebbels's] satanic antisemitism.'' (For a different view of the German people, see a genuinely revisionist piece of history, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners, p. 195.) Irving lectures for the Institute for Historical Review, a center of Holocaust denial in this country, and has been banned from entering Germany and Canada, among other countries, because of his Holocaust denial. But here Irving is more cunning than to blatantly state that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. He simply says that the death camp was ``the most brutal of all Himmler's slave-labor camps and the one with the highest mortality rate''--glossing over the corpses and the memory of 6,000,000 dead. These twisted interpretations of the leader of the Third Reich and his crimes do not deserve to be called history. (Military History Book Club main selection)

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14211-0
Page count: 640pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996


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