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Fuelled by hate, incapable of forming normal human relationships, unwilling to listen to dissenting voices, Adolf Hitler seemed an unlikely leader, and yet he commanded enormous support and was able to exert a powerful influence over those who encountered him. How did Hitler become such an attractive figure to millions of people? That is the question at the core of Hitler’s Charisma.
Acclaimed historian and documentary filmmaker Laurence Rees examines the nature of Hitler’s appeal and reveals the role his supposed “charisma” played in his success. Here is a fascinating social, psychological and historical investigation into the formation of a personality whose determination and vision would at the outset convince a small group of like-minded political and social outcasts but would eventually win over an entire nation and plunge the rest of the world into a cataclysm unlike any that had ever been seen before. Hitler’s Charisma is a natural culmination of twenty years of writing and research on the Third Reich and a remarkable examination of the man and the mind at the heart of it all.
(With 16 pages of black-and-white illustrations)
“Laurence Rees asks, as always, the right questions, and provides excellent answers. Blending oral testimony of contemporaries with documentary evidence, he offers sharp insight into the adulation of Hitler by millions of Germans that underpinned his ‘charismatic rule.’ At the same time, he vividly illustrates the bonds of Germany’s elites with Hitler—bonds which led to world war and genocide, and ensured that the dictator’s power remained unbroken until the end.” —Sir Ian Kershaw, author of Hitler: A Biography
“Offering acerbic insight into Hitler’s ‘charismatic rule,’ this is an arresting account, which asks and answers all the right questions.” —The Telegraph (London)
“A useful vehicle for many of the first-hand accounts from eyewitnesses and participants . . . The book flows briskly and provides some illuminating perspectives along the way.” —The Independent on Sunday (London)
“A fascinating study.” —Antony Beevor, author of The Second World War
“So how did Hitler convince his generals to invade Russia and his subjects to ignore the genocide around them? This readable, fascinating book, a worthy addition to the vast literature surrounding Hitler, has plausible answers.” —Kirkus
“Rees moves easily from the broad themes of German politics and economics to the individual voices of those who supported and opposed Hitler. Incorporating most of the latest scholarship on Hitler, Rees provides valuable insights here into a topic that is not new.” —Library Journal
“Rees's spotlight on charisma forces us to think hard about what it means to persuade, to argue, to reason—or simply to assert one's will.” —The Chronicle of Higher Education