HITLER by Werner Maser


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Do we need another biography of Hitler? It's like asking people to quit listening to Wagner. And, although we've recently had Robert Payne's The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler (KR, p. 238) and Gene Smith's shorter The Horns of the Moon (KR, p. 954) along with the earlier profiles by Bullock, Trevor-Roper, et al., Maser rightly contends that ""Too much in Hitler's life has hitherto been regarded as unascertained or unascertainable."" A German scholar who's specialized in Hitleriana (his Hitler's Mein Kampf: An Analysis is a standard), Maser believes that ""The entire course of Adolf Hitler's life can now be traced without interruption"" -- time, history's skittish ally, has mitigated the Nazi horror and recently ""important witnesses"" (friends, relatives, enemies) have come forward and new documents have been discovered (Hitler's medical records, personal letters -- Maser himself uncovered some primary materials in the attic of a Hitler cousin). The emphasis here, then, is on those areas of the dictator's life previously murky or misunderstood -- for instance, Dr. Maser is able to shed considerable new light on Hitler's intellectual background which strongly suggests that Germany's future leader and destroyer was much more extensively read and culturally developed than heretofore thought. An important contribution to the Hitler literature, this new biography does not materially change our perspective of the man who plunged the world into holocaust, but it does provide essential new clues to the persona.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Harper & Row