DER FUEHRER: 1848-1934 by Konrad Heiden

DER FUEHRER: 1848-1934

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The selection of this book by the Book-of-the-Month will stimulate interest and push it into the forefront, not only as an exceedingly important historic document but a book for the general reader. Frankly, I question the probability of a wide public actually reading the whole of its tightly packed 900 pages. But for those who want to reappraise those fatal years, not only in Germany but in Europe when history was piling up the nourishment for the growth of the Nazi power, here is a book they must have. Heiden was assigned -- in 1921 -- the new party as his job for the Frankfurter . He has used not only hitherto unfamiliar first hand source material, but has crystallized his own observations, reassessing them from today's objective. This is not simply biography, though the early chapters trace the known facts of Hitler's antecedents (destroying part of the legend), his youth, his home life, his his experiences up to and through the first World War. Then the growth of the party, its first leaders, Hitler's meeting with men whose names have become infamous; the development of the various facets -- anti-Semitism, and its roots, nationalism. I Found particularly illuminating the clear-out analysis of the changing front, expediency demanding support new of this group, new that, Hitler sensing the quarter in which his fate -- for the moment -- lay, using, discarding, holding only to his thirst for power. Excursions into the historical backgrounds, past and contemporary, into studies of the German mind, into the influences -- social, economic, political -- which erected the , make the book at times tough going, but rewarding. World crisis served Hitler's purpose again and again. The book is enlightening as history; it is sharply incisive in the analysis of Hitler as a man, as a power -- without elittling the fiendish strength of his personality, he makes one see that there are breaks in the armor which may prove his downfall. But -- at the same time -- he involves so many others in the vast scheme of world domination, gangsterism on a huge scale, that a Germany, rotten to the , is revealed. The book ends with the blood purge which Left Hitler absolute dictator of Germany.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1943
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin