Synopses & Reviews
"A valuable service . . . serious, entertaining, provocative and distinctive." --Cleveland Plain Dealer
In the fifty years since his suicide amid the ruins of Berlin, Adolf Hitler has been the subject of more biographies than any comparable figure of our time--and at the center of a crucial historical debate over the nature of evil and moral responsibility in the twentieth century. In this brilliant and original book, the historian John Lukacs climbs above the fray to produce a definitive "history of a history: the history of the evolution of our understanding of Hitler's life and our debates about its meaning."
Like an expert attorney, Lukacs puts the biographies on trial, identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and hidden agendas. And through their intersecting and conflicting accounts, he addresses the enduring enigmas surrounding the demiurge of the Third Reich. Was Hitler a revolutionary or a reactionary? How successful was he as a statesman and a strategist? What was his primary motive for the extermination of the Jews? The Hitler of History answers these questions as fully as any modern work can hope to, with an intellectual boldness that makes it absolutely essential to any understanding of the post-Hitler world.
"Lukacs is a shrewd historian and an engaging writer . . . a sharp and sober portrait." --Philadelphia Inquirer
In the fifty years since his suicide amid the ruins of Berlin, Adolf Hitler has generated intense scholarly debates and some of the fiercest moral confrontations of our time. Now the historian John Lukacs produces a brilliant and original "history of a history: the history of the evolution of our knowledge of Hitler, apparent as that is in the writings of his many biographers".
Expertly assessing the vast outpouring of Hitler studies, Lukacs not only unveils their authors' biases but manages to penetrate the most enduring enigmas surrounding Hitler. Was he a revolutionary or a reactionary? How successful was he as a statesman and a strategist? What was his primary motive for launching the Holocaust? The Hitler of History answers these questions with a depth of vision that makes it absolutely essential reading.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -271) and index.
About the Author
John Lukacs was born in Hungary and came to the United States in 1946. Now emeritus, he has been a visiting professor at various universities. The recipient of the 1991 Ingersoll Prize, he is the author of eighteen other books. He and his wife live in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
From the Hardcover edition.