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Hitler: A Biography {complete}

de Ian Kershaw

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Sèrie: Kershaw's Hitler (Omnibus abridgment)

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A single-volume edition of a classic biographical work traces Hitler's life and addresses key questions about the nature of Nazi radicalism, the Holocaust, and the factors that enabled European society to permit his atrocities.
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This is the one-volume version of Kershaw’s famous biography. The original two volumes are 1450 pages long with 450 pages of notes. This version has lost all of the footnotes and 600 pages of text. A bibliography of principal primary sources remains. The work did not seem deficient to me in any way, although I suppose I would have to read both versions to know what I missed.

Kershaw attempted to examine Hitler’s power and determine first, how he came to power in an economically developed, culturally advanced country and second, how he was able to exercise that power. In my small non-expert opinion, the work is certainly successful in its detail and depth. Compared to some other biographies I have read, I did not feel that Kershaw was pushing any particular basic or underlying psychological hypothesis. He does explicitly state in the preface that he is a proponent of Max Weber’s concept of charismatic authority asserting that Hitler’s authority was not based on any outstanding personal qualities, but rather on traits that were projected onto him by a following in crisis conditions.

My only criticism of this great work is in the one small area where I have some expertise. When Kershaw is explicitly discussing medical matters, he produces the small inaccuracies that one commonly sees in lay analysis of disease. This was most apparent in discussion of an illness that Hitler had in which he was jaundiced. By themselves, these comments are trivial, but I think there are underlying psychiatric problems among the various actors which might have been more clearly seen by an expert in those matters. I do tend to think that stressing the effect of societal structure, as Kershaw does, over the special characteristics of the leader, although affording valuable insight, may ultimately somewhat obscure things.

It is impossible to read this and probably any biography of Hitler at this time without drawing comparisons to the current administration in the United States. It is clearly de rigeur to always append a comment that no one can be compared to Hitler and that any comparison would be inappropriate. Various possible reasons for this prohibition come to mind: Hitler is such a well-known and extreme example that comparison with him is too easy and diminishes one’s argument (see Godwin’s Law); All people are unique; The idea that history does not or cannot repeat itself; The misery, death, and destruction caused by Hitler are somehow minimized by comparison with any current person or situation; The misery, death, and destruction caused by Hitler have some special quality or meaning associated with a particular religion or ethnicity and this is denigrated by comparison with any person or situation not associated with the same religion or ethnicity. Be this as it may, and without originally intending to, I highlighted my e-book when there were characteristics that were obviously shared by the two personalities. However, as I neared the denouement, I decided that these various shared peculiarities (megalomania; addiction to public adulation; surrounding oneself with sycophants; casting about for scapegoats; demand for loyalty but the inability to show any; having a central underlying fear-based philosophical delusion; complete lack of empathy; obsession with the military, ceremony, and childish ranks and uniforms; dilettante-like lifestyle with the inability to concentrate on a task; rambling thought process and speech patterns; inability to take advice; explosive temper; ability to manipulate others…) are best thought of, at least by me, as characteristics of a particular diagnosable disease or abnormality. Any clinician in the course of their training will notice the behavioral patterns held in common among patients with a particular disease, e.g. chronic pancreatitis, alcoholism, schizophrenia. These patients are all different people and have their distinguishing features, but the similarities can sometimes be striking. Obviously, there are similarities that we all share, this is the basis of much of human activity, of the art and science of medical diagnosis, of any human classification system, and of all of the Sherlock Holmes stories. But in cases where the similarities are associated with a personality disorder of someone in public office and directly linked to widespread damage and destruction of other people and the society itself, they are difficult to ignore. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
The"Great Man" view of history was under challenge before the rise of Hitler. Is history really the product of a few unique individuals or are their actives dictated by the society and culture that surrounds them?

Hitler presented a paradox. How could a civilised nation like Germany fall under the spell of bar room demagogue, and blindly follow him to self-destruction, in the process perpetrating great evils. Yet this is precisely what happened.

Kershaw's account carefully unveils the story of Hitler and how the combination of Hitler and the post-World War 1 Germany proved a lethal combination. ( )
  dunnmj | Mar 10, 2022 |
I never knew how little I knew about WW2 - how it happened and who was attacked when. This book is perfect for understanding this and other things such as more precisely how the anti-semitism built up into the Holocaust. The early life I did know about but the recap was pageturingly interesting.

This is a summary of a 2 volume exposition. When I say ‘summary’ it’s over one thousand pages and took me a month to read. But if you are reading for academic purposes, you might be better off with the full version as this one has few reference citations. I also felt that his thesis of Hitler’s power following Weber’s charismatic authority wasn’t really demonstrated although very well argued in the introduction. ( )
  mumoftheanimals | Apr 22, 2021 |
Fabuloso! Obra bem fundamentada, apresenta mesmo fontes contraditórias para o mesmo evento, fazendo o autor de juiz; livro completo pois abrange não só a vida de Hitler, mas também todos os aspectos do nazismo determinados ou influenciados pelo Fuhrer. Para além destas primeiras apreciações superlativas, a obra surpreende ainda pela riqueza literária e pelo interesse que suscita ao leitor, interesse que vai aumentando à medida que o livro se próxima do fim. Esta obra devia ser relida e trelida se a sua dimensão não fosse um desincentivo para um eventual regresso.
Hitler era um sonhar inofensivo como tantos outros sonhadores. Porém, apesar do que dizem os poetas, nem todos os sonhos são bons. Todos quantos se deixaram seduzir pelos sonhos de Hitler e lhe proporcionaram as condições para materializar tais sonhos, deram por si a viver um pesadelo inimaginável e não havia como acordar e acabar o pesadelo. Para todos os outros, que não eram alemães, o sonho de Hitler foi apenas um pesadelo e um inferno.
Os judeus e o comunismo eram no ideário nazi a encarnação do diabo e do mal. Tal como o cristianismo nunca justificou racionalmente porque é que o diabo era mau, porque queria a perdição da humanidade, também a ideologia nazi nunca logrou explicar racionalmente como e porquê eram os judeus e o comunismo a grande ameaça para a Alemanha. Onde falhava a razão entrava a propaganda que apelando para o lugar-comum, para o preconceito e para o ódio, culpava os judeus e os comunistas por tudo quanto de mal aconteceu à Alemanha, a começar pela derrota em Novembro de 1918. Esta é uma lição que os eleitores dos “chegas” deste mundo deviam aprender: não se faz política com base em preconceitos mas sim em conceitos, pois a governação que se baseia no ódio e na diferença não traz consigo nada de bom.
A crise civilizacional e a regressão de valores que o autor descreve no final do epílogo, mostra que os líderes nazis não eram homens superiores, mas sim arruaceiros de rua que passaram a usar gravata, que faziam da lealdade incondicional a maior virtude, tal como uma máfia de criminosos. Esta lealdade só existia num sentido: da base para a cúpula. Hitler, por exemplo, não era leal a ninguém. Ao longo da sua vida traiu quase todos os seus principais servidores: Rohm, Halder, Zeitzeler, Guderian, Rundsedt, Goring, Himler, etc. Estranho é que encontrasse sempre alguém disponível para ocupar o lugar deixado vago, quando a única certeza era ter o mesmo destino do antecessor.
Recorrentemente coloca-se em dúvida que Hitler soubesse da existência dos campos da morte. Esta obra mostra que tal prática está em concordância com as ideias de Hitler expressas não só no Mein Kumpf, mas também em vários discursos ao longo da década de 30. O autor refere também que Hitler deu pouquíssimas ordens por escrito fora da esfera militar. A execução das suas determinações era feita pelos subordinados que interpretavam os desejos do Fuhrer e agiam em conformidade, naquilo que o autor designou por “trabalho em prol do Fuhrer”. Fica também patente nesta obra que nada de relevante se fazia no III Reich sem a autorização de Hitler. Por tudo isto não é possível absolver Hitler do genocídio, tanto mais que esse crime era a concretização da sua profecia de 1939 à qual tantas vezes se referiu posteriormente. Nesta profecia Hitler declarara que se a “judiaria internacional causasse uma nova guerra na Europa, seria a raça judaica que seria exterminada”.
A Alemanha perdeu a guerra em primeiro lugar devido à intromissão de Hitler na esfera militar. Ainda bem que foi assim. Deste modo ficou provado que o povo alemão e, sobretudo, a elite militar mereceu o destino que teve, porque nunca tiveram coragem de evitar a derrota. Hitler tinha razão numa coisa: o povo alemão não o merecia! Porém, como não tiveram coragem de enfrentar Hitler e evitar a derrota final, tendo seguido o seu pastor em direcção ao colapso absoluto, o povo alemão acabou por ser digno de Hitler e de merecer o destino que teve. ( )
  CMBras | Mar 7, 2021 |
A masterpiece!

An intriguing book detailing the life of one of the biggest war criminal of the history of humanity. Highly recommended! ( )
  DPinSvezia | Nov 9, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Kershaw, Ianautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Dauzat, Pierre-EmmanuelTraductionautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Fluger, LenaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Rekiaro, IlkkaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Soares, Pedro MaiaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Que les deux volumes de ma biographie, Hitler, 1889-1936 : Hubris et Hitler, 1936-1945 : Némésis, publiés respectivement en 1998 et 2000, aient été si bien accueillis dans leur version originale comme dans les nombreux pays ou des traductions ont paru a été pour moi la source d’une immense satisfaction. L’accueil chaleureux reçu en Allemagne a été particulièrement gratifiant.
Réfléchir sur Hitler

La dictature hitlérienne a valeur de paradigme pour le XXe siècle. [...]
Fantaisie et échec


Le premier des nombreux coups de chance de Hitler eut lieu treize ans avant sa naissance. [...]
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One-volume abridgement of Kershaw's biography. Please don't combine with either part, or complete editions!
Contains the following chapters: Fantasy and failure --
Drop-out --
Elation and embitterment --
The beerhall agitator --
The 'drummer' --
Emergence of the leader --
Mastery over the movement --
Breakthrough --
Levered into power --
The making of the dictator --
Securing total power --
Working towards the Führer --
Ceaseless radicalization --
The drive for expansion --
Marks of a genocidal mentality --
Going for broke --
Licensing barbarism --
Zenith of power --
Designing a 'war of annihilation' --
Showdown --
Fulfilling the 'prophecy' --
Last big throw of the dice --
Beleaguered --
Hoping for miracles --
Luck of the devil --
No way out --
Into the abyss --
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Referències a aquesta obra en fonts externes.

Wikipedia en anglès (70)

Abdication of Wilhelm II

Adolf Eichmann

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler's bodyguard

Adolf Hitler's Munich apartment

Government of Nazi Germany

Gustav Ritter von Kahr

Hans Krebs (Wehrmacht general)

Hans Lammers

Hans Ritter von Seisser

Heinrich Hoffmann (photographer)

Nuremberg Laws

Otto Günsche

Otto von Lossow

Peter Högl

Politischer Arbeiter-Zirkel

Positive Christianity

A single-volume edition of a classic biographical work traces Hitler's life and addresses key questions about the nature of Nazi radicalism, the Holocaust, and the factors that enabled European society to permit his atrocities.

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