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  • Adolf Hitler

  • By: John Toland
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 44 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (157 ratings)

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Adolf Hitler

By: John Toland
Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
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Summary

Based on previously unpublished documents, diaries, notes, photographs, and dramatic interviews with Hitler's colleagues and associates, this is the definitive biography of one of the most despised yet fascinating figures of the 20th century. Painstakingly documented, it is a work that will not soon be forgotten.

©1976 John Toland (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

What listeners say about Adolf Hitler

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good but...

This book is great but spoiled by sticking to the 'Officially Sanctioned Narrative' regarding the six gorrillion.

8 people found this helpful

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only as an audiobook I managed..

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes, overall a very good overview over Hitler, quite long but as audiobook manageable. I doubt that I would have had enough stamina to read it myself

What was one of the most memorable moments of Adolf Hitler?

I preferred the early part where the author attempted to explore Hitler's childhood, youth and development.In later parts Hitler's psychology drifts in the background. I guess the author did not want to speculate too much, but I flt the earlier part was more interesting tas it attempted to explore the influences that may have shaped Hitler's inner world

Any additional comments?

I think audible should revise the questions it gives for the reviews, they are not applicable for non-fiction.I liked the narration very much. Ralph Cosham's voice is well suited for non-fiction, neutral but never boring.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mr
  • 11-02-15

Factual and Flowing account of A Hitler

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes

What other book might you compare Adolf Hitler to, and why?

None to date

What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Long audio, Ralph keeps your listening consistent

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

neither

Any additional comments?

You Really get to know what A Hitler was all about, this was my primary goal in understanding, the boy, the man, the unbelievable leader (getting to power) and the lunatic. I would have like to got to know more on his interaction with Generals, his thought process and strategy on taking on Western and eastern fronts

3 people found this helpful

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Detailed Account of the Life of You Know Who

I was a little bit disappointed at the beginning when I realised that this was written such a long time ago. However after a while, I found it interesting to see the whole story from the different perspective that being written in the 70s gives it. The author was able to get first hand accounts from many of those who were still alive at the time. It seemed to me early on that he was being much fairer to Hitler than I would have been, but really the facts speak for themselves and in the end there is no redeeming him.
For me the most illuminating sections deal with his early life, but it kept my attention all the way to the end and there is a lot of it, so that has to be a positive recommendation.

1 person found this helpful

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Long and informative

This is a lengthy book which I probably wouldn't tackle as a conventional book but found the audio version was easy to listen to in bite size chunks and, for me with an interest in the events of WW11, very informative.
Congratulations to the narrator who stuck at it for 40+ hours with an easy to listen to tone.

1 person found this helpful

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Deeply researched and well presented

What did you like most about Adolf Hitler?

Accounts were presented as quotations from witnesses, very few judgements were made on the evidence but the potential bias in each of the sources was highlighted and I felt implicitly invited to draw my own conclusions

Who was your favorite character and why?

Those involved in the 20th July Plot, brave men but tragically unsuccessful and probably too late to act. Both Anthony Eden and Winston Churchill admirably sounded early warnings as to Hitler's intentions but Eden appears to have preferred to resign than to continue his efforts to wake up the Western Powers, whilst Churchill was in the political wilderness until War began. When Churchill became PM, I had much admiration for his unwillingness to negotiate with the evil Axis regimes, even when it seemed that Britain would be next on the invasion list.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Difficult to enjoy any scene from such a tragic and calamitous subject, I guess the point at which the World finally decides to stand up to Hitler comes as a relief to the reader but, as everyone now appreciates, this stand was made far too late.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Making a new film about the life of Hitler would be unwise in my opinion. Any film would have to be appropriately aligned to highlight the ultimate human cost of his actions, I think "Downfall" did an excellent job of covering the final weeks and I wouldn't attempt to supersede this work.

Any additional comments?

There have been many comments about Ralph Cosham's narration being "dull" but I would counter this by saying that the tone is sobering and that this is appropriate - the very last thing I would want to hear would be a narration of Hitler's life story presented with razzmatazz and glamour in the name of entertainment. On the other hand there were ocassions where Ralph Cosham inserted an "aaa" sound before some words in a British Upper Class style that caused confusion under some circumstances where it sounded like singular "a" and I expected a noun to follow. In my opinion this quirk of dialect should have been avoided or edited out. Paradoxically, I have heard Ralph Cosham narrate some Sherlock Holmes stories and this time the British Upper Class style actually added to the story and gave it more authenticity but not appropriate here!

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent

Loved every minute of this audiobook. The narration was brilliant. Highly recommended. A A A

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Detailed and well read

An full detailed account of Hitler's Life, dispelling some myths as well as going into detail on some of the lesser known aspects. Very well done.

1 person found this helpful

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Whips Kerahaw’s efforts!

Wow where to begin in such a massive undertaking. Not only does this read like a thriller from the outset but it takes you far beyond the journey of a mad man bent on demolishing everything and everyone around him. A true maniac that slowly slips out of reality and builds madness as an ideology.

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Quite good but narrator not good

I found the book a very good overview, with a fair bit of detail in places and quite interesting.

The narrator rather spoiled it though. It was an odd sort of strangulated droning. He slurred quite a lot of words so badly that I had to rewind to listen again many times. Sometimes 3 or 4 times to decipher the word that was not properly pronounced. It sounded like his mouth froze at times: it was as if he didn’t move his mouth and lips enough to form the word.
The tone gave the impression of a slightly superior but rather bored narrator.
He improved after a break and as time went on deteriorated again.

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  • Mark
  • 25-11-14

Strange Person

What can you say about a man who had this much impact on history? How could a person rise from such humble beginnings to mesmerize and captivate a nation, instilling god-like devotion in his followers and inspiring them to wage war on the rest of the world?

This book provides some of the answers, but the true inner Hitler will always remain something of a mystery. He had an unusual early life: He was born in Austria, not Germany. His father was illegitimate and his grandfather may have been Jewish, no one knows for sure. In early adulthood he aspired to be an artist, but he struggled greatly to make a successful career out of this. His failure resulted in him living, for a time, on the streets, in dire poverty. At this stage there were no obvious signs that he was a monster: He loved and cared greatly for his mother and was heartbroken when she died. Strangely, he greatly respected the Jewish doctor who treated her for cancer.

In World War One, he miraculously survived four years of trench warfare as a lowly corporal. Germany’s defeat was very painful for him, but he enjoyed and revelled in warfare more than any other activity. From this time onwards he was motivated by two main passions: the rise of Germany and the destruction of the Jews. In order to bring this about he needed to rise to power, and to acquire this power he used his extraordinary talent for oration. He was a brilliant speaker. Despite his unremarkable appearance and diminutive stature, he captivated his audiences wherever he went.

He used this talent to harness the German people's patriotism, their fear of communism and their anti-Semitism, persuading them to go to war to create a new German Empire. His method of waging war, ‘blitzkrieg’, was innovative and immensely successful. This military success continued for a while, but it nurtured an unrealistic optimism in Hitler. As the tide of war started to turn, when the USSR and USA joined the fight against Germany, he continued attacking, against overwhelming enemy forces, in the mistaken belief that he could repeat his early successes. This approach, which incurred massive loss of life, continued right to Hitler’s end. In his final few days, even as he could hear Russian artillery fire from his bunker in Berlin, he was ordering counterattacks in the deluded belief that the war could still be won. Finally, when he realized that the war was lost, he committed suicide to avoid the humiliation of capture by the Russians.

Why did he hate Jews and treat them so abominably? I didn't find an answer in this book. The Jews have been persecuted throughout history, so antipathy towards them is not particularly rare, but the extent of Hitler's hatred of the Jews and the appalling cruelty he perpetrated upon them was exceptional and truly shocking. Clearly, he used anti-Semitism as a means of motivating others to fight for his cause, but why he wanted to go as far as to commit genocide is unclear. There doesn't seem to have been an incident in his life where he was badly treated by Jews, so it is hard to identify how this came about.

Listening, for 44 hours, to the story of the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler was certainly interesting, although there are certain feelings of guilt and self-accusations of morbid fascination associated with it! I wasn’t able to completely solve the puzzle of what formed this man’s character and how he succeeded so spectacularly, but I did gain some valuable insights into his life and times. If you are interested in history, this book is definitely worth listening to.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Henson
  • 09-10-14

Absolutely fascinating, in depth and jarring.

Where does Adolf Hitler rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best audio books I've listened to.

What other book might you compare Adolf Hitler to and why?

This is a brilliant companion piece to "A World Undone" by GJ Meyer [a chronicle of WWI] and "No Simple Victory" by Norman Davies [WWII] in that it gives you an in depth look at how the world got from the First World War to the Second and even supports the premise that both were actually parts of a single World War.

Which scene was your favorite?

Obviously well researched, one of the most jarring statements made in the book was that if Hitler had died in the mid 30s, he would most likely have been remembered as a truly great leader and savior of the German people.

Any additional comments?

Toland goes to great pains to avoid passing judgment on Hitler, Nazis, and so on. And to an astonishing degree, he is successful. The book is vivid, thorough, and detailed. And yet, somehow the 40-some hours have flown by.

32 people found this helpful

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  • Teresa
  • 27-02-15

About as good as it gets.

As an old history major, I can appreciate how difficult and depressing a subject this is. Toland not only writes very well, interspersing the narrative with interesting quotes and anecdotes, but manages to write very objectively. He succeeds in giving an understanding of what happened and to an extent, why, leaving partisan rancor to others.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Tim Browning
  • 13-06-15

Well read and interesting documentary

Performance was very good, and this documentary of a truly remarkable if not stilted man gives a fair reflection of how a strong enough personality can make and break a nation.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-05-15

Excellent

A very well thought out exposition of the private life of one of history's most loathed tyrants, presented in a calm, thoughtful tone that manages to convey Toland's (almost) perfect impartiality while still holding the interest of the reader. A fascinating listen.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Easton Reader
  • 01-04-15

One of the most riveting biographies

This superbly written biography uses details the way an artist uses a brush to create a vivid image of Hitler and the reactions of those around him.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dr
  • 25-02-15

Good Read

An interesting and accurate account revealing some detail on lessor known events, interesting insight into Hitler's manner towards secretaries etc.

4 people found this helpful

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  • An Amazon customer
  • 26-05-16

The best Hitler biography out there

Hitler is a figure that is problematic for many historians, because it's not always easy to write about his life from an unbiased perspective. John Toland says in the introduction that he tried to write this book as if Hitler lived a thousand years ago, to try to remove bias as much as possible. I have to say that he largely succeeded.

No matter what your position towards the life and works of the great German dictator is, this book will provide lots of facts and obscure insights about the life of Hitler. There are details about his conversations with his intimate circles, his relationship with Eva Braun, his obsesive love for the German people, and above all, a very clear description of the thoughts and actions during the times before becoming chancellor, as well as his years as Führer and at the war that destroyed his dreams.

Even though there are small obligated mentions of the holocaust, the book is worth listening for all the other information it contains, it is both scholarly and very entertaining.

Ralph Cosham narrative is also superb.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-11-15

snuffy narraror

just a horrible narrator. I ould not listen to more than one hour. shame.

3 people found this helpful

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  • SAMA
  • 16-07-15

A close look at the most influential villain of modern history

This book explores the story of Adolf Hitler from his early years to his end, acknowledging his sins but not making him into a quasi-cartoon villain like some other books about him seem to love to do. Overall, this is a story of a man who let his anger and indignation take him down a dark path full of death and destruction. A difficult listen, but a necessary one if you want to know the man behind the hate.

2 people found this helpful