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Hitler

The Memoir of a Nazi Insider Who Turned Against the Führer

An In-Depth Look into the Inner Workings of the Third Reich as Told by Hitler's Foreign Press Secretary

Of American and German parentage, Ernst Hanfstaengl graduated from Harvard and ran the family business in New York for a dozen years before returning to Germany in 1921. By chance he heard a then little-known Adolf Hitler speaking in a Munich beer hall and, mesmerized by his extraordinary oratorical power, was convinced the man would some day come to power. As Hitler’s fanatical theories and ideas hardened, however, he surrounded himself with rabid extremists such as Goering, Hess, and Goebbels, and Hanfstaengl became estranged from him.

But with the Nazi’s major unexpected political triumph in 1930, Hitler became a national figure, and he invited Hanfstaengl to be his foreign press secretary. It is from this unique insider’s position that the author provides a vivid, intimate view of Hitler—with his neuroses, repressions, and growing megalomania—over the next several years. In 1937, four years after Hitler came to power, relations between Hanfstaengl and the Nazis had deteriorated to such a degree that he was forced to flee for his life, escaping to Switzerland. Here is a portrait of Hitler as you’ve rarely seen him.

"The revelations in . . . Hanfstaengl's classic memoir will enrich the reader's understanding of Hitler, the twentieth-century Napoleon. . . . With all his quirks, [Hanfstaengl] was one of the few who ever stood up to the Führer and then lived to write about it in fascinating detail." —John Toland, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Adolph Hitler: The Definitive Biography and The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, from the "Introduction"