WHO FINANCED HITLER: The Secret Funding of Hitler's Rise to Power 1919-1933 by James & Suzanne Pool Pool

WHO FINANCED HITLER: The Secret Funding of Hitler's Rise to Power 1919-1933

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This brother and sister team of graduate students has produced a book that hits bottom in historical scholarship. Starting with an important subject, they have committed every conceivable crime against it (including sometimes ignoring it altogether) with an air of unshakeable obtuseness. Symptomatically, their hundreds of footnotes are weirdly unsynchronized. The most well-known facts--Wagner's anti-Semitism, for example--are copiously supported, while where one would expect massive documentation--at the assertion that Henry Ford contributed to the Nazis, or that Edward VIII was forced to abdicate because of his pro-Nazi sympathies--there is either none, or simply a page number from a highly questionable published source. Books like Hitler's Secret Conversations and other memoirs by ex-Nazis shed much light on the period, but would any self-respecting historian depend totally upon them for matters of fact? And any argument that is attempted is nearly impossible to unravel precisely because the authors have nothing substantial to go on. In places the book is unnecessarily detailed--the first sections discuss the most minute contributions of 20 to 100 marks to the Nazis--but in the broad sweep the authors quickly lose sight of their theme and launch into the familiar discussion of Hitler's rise, so that a second-rate rehash emerges where the reader had the right to expect something new. Finally, their lack of ideas is underlined by their tedious, clumsy writing. For all its five hundred pages this is a lazy book, aimed more at exploiting a market than at discovering historical truth.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Dial