In this masterful account of Adolf Hitler's life, eminent biographer A.N. Wilson pulls back the curtain to reveal the man behind the myth, shining a piercing light on one of the most reviled figures in modern history.
Hitler maintained that his life was characterized by "struggle" from its very beginning -- but as Wilson explains, Hitler actually grew up in middle-class comfort, feckless, romantic, and unmotivated. Hitler only found direction in the wake of World War I, when he left his sheltered post as an office boy and reentered a Germany desperate for hope and terrified by the specter of international communism. Fourteen years later, having exploited his countrymen's vulnerabilities and his own prodigious strengths as an orator, Hitler became chancellor of the German nation. He would go on to save his country from economic ruin, only to destroy it -- and an entire people -- in his quest for world domination. Hitler's brief time in power was a improbable as it was calamitous, and his story is ultimately a cautionary tale. In a modern era enamored with progress and rationality, it is often the darkest elements of society that prove the most seductive.
Despite Hitler's colossal role in world history, he remains mythologized and, as a result, misunderstood. In Hitler, Wilson limns this perplexing figure with great verve and acuity, showing that it was Hitler's frightening normalcy -- not some otherwordly evilness -- that makes him truly terrifying.