Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 by Volker Ullrich
A landmark biography that gives us an unprecedented understanding of the man who has become the personification of evil.
Volker Ullrich draws on previously unseen papers and recent scholarly research to shed new light on the man behind the public persona: from Hitler’s childhood and his failures as a young man in Vienna to his First World War experience and his rise as a far-right party leader. Ullrich deftly captures Hitler’s intelligence, intuitive grasp of politics, and skill at oratory as well as his megalomania, deep insecurity, and repulsive worldview. He gives us a vivid portrait of the postwar Germany Hitler stepped into–humiliated by defeat, wracked by political crisis, starved by economic depression–but the author’s unique gift is to elucidate how Hitler used his ruthlessness and political acuity to shape the Nazi party and lead it to power. The world has long tried to grasp how Hitler was possible. By focusing on how he experienced his world, formed his political beliefs, and wielded power, this riveting biography brings us closer than ever to the answer.