You know, I love Amazon.com. Mostly I love them because if you are patient, like me, than you can find amazing deals on books which years ago would have cost you and arm and a leg. For literally pennies on the dollar I bought John Toland’s masterpiece portrait of Adolf Hitler. Sure it wasn’t in the most spectacular condition but hey, I don’t mind.
Now, since this book is over a thousand pages, and I am a firm believer in giving such lengthy works the proper attention they deserve, I am embarking on one of my “review projects”. Simply put this review project is where I write a review, mostly a condensation of chapter facts, for every few chapters contained within the book.
I do this because I believe that reading a book of this length and detail deserves something more than a simple few pages of a review. Also because it helps me encode facts within my mind which in turn assist me in remembering them (after all, what is the point of reading a biography of this size if you can’t remember anything afterwards?). So the end result in this long series of short reviews which I hope will help you come to understand without the need to read.
With that being said sit back and enjoy the first part to Adolf Hitler!
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Prologues set the stage for any epic and biographies are no different. In his epic standalone entry on the infamous Hitler author John Toland has crafted an introduction which is stunning as it is informative. Careful in his evaluation yet critical in action John skillfully wraps the origins of Hitler’s madness in an easy to digest block.
Set against the backdrop of Germany, the First World War has reached a crescendo: German y has conquered her rivals and advanced to the final showdown against Britain and France. The battles are intense and casualties high. For many draftees the war is a mixture of hate, hatred for the enemy and their own High Command, and desperate longing for victory.
Many soldiers speak of mutiny while others desert. Yet for every such warrior who speaks defeatism there are dozens of others who want nothing more than to fight to the end. Among the patriotic masses is a young corporal named Adolf Hitler.
Twenty-nine years old and blinded, through his own hysteria, by an enemy mustard attack, Hitler is a man of intense dedication to his fatherland. As the author recounts, despite heroically serving promotions are denied to him. Yet he doesn’t care. For fighting the enemy is all he desires, for defeating the enemy will benefit Germany immensely.
Yet his wishes for a strong, triumphant Germany are misplaced. For during the final battle of the war, the battle of Rheims July 15th 1918, Germany is unceremoniously defeated; pushed back through the involvement of the American war effort the German lines melt against the onslaught of newly refreshed British, American, and French troops.
To make matters worse socialists are agitating within the cities. Their anti-war stance has been relentless pushed. Their efforts pay off and eventually the Kaiser is deposed. In the place of autarchy raises a republic and a defeated Germany. Hitler is so distressed he runs to his makeshift home and solemnly cries. This dramatic series of events, and through the help of a doctor which induces hallucinations, leads Hitler to Politics where he is determined to restore Germany to her former greatness. Driven by what he sees as divine grace his fury will know no equal.
Such a setting is described beautifully by John Toland who uses concise words fused with artistry to paint an academic picture of the reviled man and his situation. But a few short pages this prologue already has me itching for more.