Hitler: Downfall

By Volker Ullrich

The first part of Ulrich’s biography was carefully nuanced – erring on the side of descriptive, emotive writing to convey the human side of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power – but this second part, Descent (or Downfall), tries to be brutal and, it’s generally agreed, doesn’t have quite the same impact. Covering the maelstrom of events from 1939 to 1945, Ulrich includes detailed, very readable references and lots of archival research, but the focus is on Hitler’s rage and decline as a person. Insightful, but, for military context, you might find other books have more gravitas. However, the copious diary entries from the Fuhrer’s inner circle make this a compelling read, as it shows Hitler was creating one narrative for his countrymen, one for his armed forces, and yet another for the international audience. Excellent as a reference for those collected diary entries alone.

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