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1 Burnside Germany- Nazi Germany

This title in other editions

Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl

by

Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The definitive biography of Leni Riefenstahl, the woman best known as "Hitler's filmmaker," one of the most fascinating and controversial personalities of the twentieth century. It is the story of huge talent and huger ambition, one that probes the sometimes blurred borders dividing art and beauty from truth and humanity.

Two of Riefenstahl's films, Olympia and Triumph of the Will, are universally regarded as the greatest and most innovative documentaries ever made, but they are also insidious glorifications of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Now, in this masterful new biography, Steven Bach reveals the truths and lies behind this gifted woman's lifelong self-vindication as an apolitical artist who claimed she knew nothing of the Holocaust and denied her complicity with the criminal regime she both used and sanctified.

The facts and her actions, many unknown until now, bear chilling witness: her passionate enthusiasm for Hitler from her first reading of Mein Kampf; her involvements with Nazi leaders Joseph Goebbels, Martin Bormann, Albert Speer, and Julius Streicher, who advanced her career, and with Hitler, who personally helped finance it; her role as silent eyewitness to wartime atrocities against Jews; and her use of slave labor in the form of concentration camp Gypsies destined for Auschwitz. We see her after the war trying to sell footage to Hollywood under an alias, manipulating a sham "discovery" of the Nuba tribes of Sudan into a career comeback, fighting to disinherit her closest living relatives, and — to the end — unable to express remorse for the millions murdered by the Nazi regime made mythic by her work.

Relying on new sources — including interviews with her colleagues and intimate friends, as well as on previously unknown recordings of Riefenstahl herself — Bach gives us an exceptional work of historical investigation that untangles the past and is also an objective but unsparing appraisal of a woman of spectacular gifts corrupted by ruthless personal ambition.

Review:

"Hitler's favorite filmmaker prettified her own story almost as much as she glorified the ugly reality of the Third Reich, which makes her a natural for biographers with a taste for dish and debunkery. Bach (Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend) excavates, somewhat more fluently, many of the low points covered in Jürgen Trimborn's recent Leni Riefenstahl: A Life: her courting of Nazi sponsorship and admiration for Hitler, her witnessing — later denied — of a massacre of Polish Jews, her deployment of Gypsy slave laborers as extras (many of them died at Auschwitz) and her postwar efforts, through lawsuits and misleading memoirs, to downplay or suppress these facts. Bach also fleshes out more of Riefenstahl's private life, with details about a parade of lovers (one of them, an American decathlonist, apparently tore off Riefenstahl's blouse and kissed her breasts in front of 100,000 spectators at the 1936 Berlin Olympics) and her attempts to get her hands on the inheritance of her niece and nephew. He intersperses perceptive commentary on her masterful propaganda films, while noting that her art 'lulls and deceives' instead of awakening and illuminating. The result is a lively, incisive look at a compelling and somewhat appalling figure who demonstrated that beauty isn't always truth. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Steven Bach's Leni finally presents Riefenstahl as she genuinely was: not as we have seen her so far but as Hitler's self-serving and mendacious p.r. handmaiden. If you haven't thought of 'Nazi artist' as a noxious and corrupting oxymoron, Bach's scrupulous account of a zealously masked life may persuade you otherwise." Cynthia Ozick

Review:

"In this lively, engaging biography of the legendary Leni Riefenstahl, Steven Bach finally separates fact from fiction to give the powerful filmmaker, manipulative narcissist and friend of Hitler her due." Richard Rhodes

Review:

"[P]enetrating and superbly well-written....Riefenstahl loved fairy tales, and, as Bach so perceptively and artistically reveals, she succeeded in living one, however insidious." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"[A] most compelling narrative. Recommended..." Library Journal

Review:

"A sad Faustian story that features the artistic triumphs of a woman who figuratively climbed a roof at Auschwitz to get a closer look at the clouds." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"A fantastic job..." Walter Reichert, Entertainment World

Review:

"Frank, authoritative and dishy...well written and unsparing..." David Walton, The Dallas Morning News

Review:

"Direct, forceful and admirably restrained in rhetoric and hyperbole...a short, sharp, hard jab at the Leni Legend." Duane David, Rocky Mountain News

Review:

"Fascinating...the definitive new biography from Steven Bach should silence any lingering Riefenstahl apologists...Bach bravely sorts through the mountain of falsehoods...carefully researched." Andrea Hoag, Film Comment

Review:

"Briskly readable prose that never lets up...his gossipy page-turner is a riveting account of aesthetic beauty put to the ugliest of ends, and of the brilliant, monstrous woman who survived the Third Reich, but could never outrun the long shadow it cast over her life and career." Nathan Rabin, The A.V. Club

Review:

"Tells a riveting story...impressive detail...written with showbiz glee." The Economist

Review:

"It is difficult to overpraise Bach's efforts...Bach is determined to present [Leni Riefenstahl] coolly, ironically, without loss of his own moral vector. What emerges is a compulsively readable and scrupulously crafted work...an almost novelistically compelling narrative of a life endlessly obfuscated by lies...graceful...nuanced...brilliant." Richard Schickel, The Los Angeles Times

Review:

"First-rate...[a] richly fleshed-out portraiture and social history." Judith Thurman, The New Yorker

Review:

"Energetic...Serves as [a] much needed corrective to all the spin, evasions and distortions of the record purveyed by Riefenstahl." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"Bach makes the vivid and exasperating Riefenstahl come back to life and stand before us to be judged....Meticulous....Bach unearths the buried facts, finds the truth behind the lies." Book World

Book News Annotation:

German director Leni Riefenstahl is at once lauded as one of the great documentary filmmakers of all time and reviled as "Hitler's filmmaker," achieving both reputations for her work on the Nazi propaganda films Triumph of the Will and Olympia. Following World War II, Riefenstahl managed a not unsuccessful effort to reconstruct herself as an apolitical artist unaware of the crimes of the Nazi regime. In this biography of Riefenstahl, Bach (Bennington College and Columbia U.) offers a very different picture, portraying her as an ambitious woman, enamored with Hitler's Mein Kampf and well aware of both her role as a Nazi propagandist and the crimes of the Nazi regime. The biography spends as much time on Leni's early life as a dancer and actress as it does on her activities under the Nazis and her post-war attempts to refashion herself as a "primitivist" studying the Nuba tribe in Sudan and as an underwater photographer. In spite of Riefenstahl's attempt at self-rehabilitation, Bach condemns her as nostalgic and unrepentant for the horrors of the Nazis while not failing to recognize the legacy of her aesthetic achievements.
Annotation 2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

German director Leni Riefenstahl is at once lauded as one of the great documentary filmmakers of all time and reviled as "Hitler's filmmaker," achieving both reputations for her work on the Nazi propaganda films Triumph of the Will and Olympia. Following World War II, Riefenstahl managed a not unsuccessful effort to reconstruct herself as an apolitical artist unaware of the crimes of the Nazi regime. In this biography of Riefenstahl, Bach (Bennington College and Columbia U.) offers a very different picture, portraying her as an ambitious woman, enamored with Hitler's Mein Kampf and well aware of both her role as a Nazi propagandist and the crimes of the Nazi regime. The biography spends as much time on Leni's early life as a dancer and actress as it does on her activities under the Nazis and her post-war attempts to refashion herself as a "primitivist" studying the Nuba tribe in Sudan and as an underwater photographer. In spite of Riefenstahl's attempt at self-rehabilitation, Bach condemns her as nostalgic and unrepentant for the horrors of the Nazis while not failing to recognize the legacy of her aesthetic achievements. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

An exceptional work of historical investigation, Leni is the definitive biography of one of the most fascinating and controversial personalities of the 20th century: Leni Riefenstahl, the woman best known as "Hitler's filmmaker."

About the Author

Steven Bach is the author of two previous biographies, Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend and Dazzler: The Life and Times of Moss Hart. He was in charge of worldwide production for United Artists, where he was involved in such films as Raging Bull, Manhattan, The French Lieutenant's Woman, and Heaven's Gate, about which he wrote the bestseller Final Cut. He teaches at Bennington College and Columbia University and divides his time between New England and Europe.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375404009
Subtitle:
The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl
Author:
Bach, Steven
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts - Movie Directors
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Germany
Subject:
Motion picture producers and directors
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts - General
Subject:
Riefenstahl, Leni
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20070313
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
24 PAGES OF PHOTOGRAPHS
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9.27x6.57x1.39 in. 1.69 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » Nazi Germany

Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.50 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9780375404009 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Hitler's favorite filmmaker prettified her own story almost as much as she glorified the ugly reality of the Third Reich, which makes her a natural for biographers with a taste for dish and debunkery. Bach (Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend) excavates, somewhat more fluently, many of the low points covered in Jürgen Trimborn's recent Leni Riefenstahl: A Life: her courting of Nazi sponsorship and admiration for Hitler, her witnessing — later denied — of a massacre of Polish Jews, her deployment of Gypsy slave laborers as extras (many of them died at Auschwitz) and her postwar efforts, through lawsuits and misleading memoirs, to downplay or suppress these facts. Bach also fleshes out more of Riefenstahl's private life, with details about a parade of lovers (one of them, an American decathlonist, apparently tore off Riefenstahl's blouse and kissed her breasts in front of 100,000 spectators at the 1936 Berlin Olympics) and her attempts to get her hands on the inheritance of her niece and nephew. He intersperses perceptive commentary on her masterful propaganda films, while noting that her art 'lulls and deceives' instead of awakening and illuminating. The result is a lively, incisive look at a compelling and somewhat appalling figure who demonstrated that beauty isn't always truth. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Steven Bach's Leni finally presents Riefenstahl as she genuinely was: not as we have seen her so far but as Hitler's self-serving and mendacious p.r. handmaiden. If you haven't thought of 'Nazi artist' as a noxious and corrupting oxymoron, Bach's scrupulous account of a zealously masked life may persuade you otherwise."
"Review" by , "In this lively, engaging biography of the legendary Leni Riefenstahl, Steven Bach finally separates fact from fiction to give the powerful filmmaker, manipulative narcissist and friend of Hitler her due."
"Review" by , "[P]enetrating and superbly well-written....Riefenstahl loved fairy tales, and, as Bach so perceptively and artistically reveals, she succeeded in living one, however insidious."
"Review" by , "[A] most compelling narrative. Recommended..."
"Review" by , "A sad Faustian story that features the artistic triumphs of a woman who figuratively climbed a roof at Auschwitz to get a closer look at the clouds."
"Review" by , "A fantastic job..."
"Review" by , "Frank, authoritative and dishy...well written and unsparing..."
"Review" by , "Direct, forceful and admirably restrained in rhetoric and hyperbole...a short, sharp, hard jab at the Leni Legend."
"Review" by , "Fascinating...the definitive new biography from Steven Bach should silence any lingering Riefenstahl apologists...Bach bravely sorts through the mountain of falsehoods...carefully researched."
"Review" by , "Briskly readable prose that never lets up...his gossipy page-turner is a riveting account of aesthetic beauty put to the ugliest of ends, and of the brilliant, monstrous woman who survived the Third Reich, but could never outrun the long shadow it cast over her life and career."
"Review" by , "Tells a riveting story...impressive detail...written with showbiz glee."
"Review" by , "It is difficult to overpraise Bach's efforts...Bach is determined to present [Leni Riefenstahl] coolly, ironically, without loss of his own moral vector. What emerges is a compulsively readable and scrupulously crafted work...an almost novelistically compelling narrative of a life endlessly obfuscated by lies...graceful...nuanced...brilliant."
"Review" by , "First-rate...[a] richly fleshed-out portraiture and social history."
"Review" by , "Energetic...Serves as [a] much needed corrective to all the spin, evasions and distortions of the record purveyed by Riefenstahl."
"Review" by , "Bach makes the vivid and exasperating Riefenstahl come back to life and stand before us to be judged....Meticulous....Bach unearths the buried facts, finds the truth behind the lies."
"Synopsis" by , An exceptional work of historical investigation, Leni is the definitive biography of one of the most fascinating and controversial personalities of the 20th century: Leni Riefenstahl, the woman best known as "Hitler's filmmaker."
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