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From one of Germany’s leading young historians, the first comprehensive biography of Eva Braun, Hitler’s devoted mistress, finally wife, and the hidden First Lady of the Third Reich.
In this groundbreaking biography of Eva Braun, German historian Heike Görtemaker reveals Hitler’s mistress as more than just a vapid blonde whose concerns never extended beyond her vanity table. Twenty-three years his junior, Braun first met Hitler when she took a position as an assistant to his personal photographer. Capricious, but uncompromising and fiercely loyal—she married Hitler two days before committing suicide with him in Berlin in 1945—her identity was kept secret by the Third Reich until the final days of the war. Through exhaustive research, newly discovered documentation, and anecdotal accounts, Görtemaker turns preconceptions about Eva Braun and Hitler on their head, and builds a portrait of the little-known Hitler far from the public eye.
“Easily the best biography of Eva Braun so far written.”—The Daily Beast
“Hitler could not have wished for a better girlfriend. . . . A highly readable and consistent portrait of an ordinary woman who was, without a doubt, utterly devoted to the man history has seen as ‘evil incarnate.’” —The New York Times
“Heike B. Görtemaker seeks answers from a close reading of memoirs and postwar interrogations of Germans who knew them, ranging from senior Nazi figures to Hitler’s military adjutants and secretaries. The result, Eva Braun: Life With Hitler, is less gossip than a serious study of personal relationships and power at Nazi Germany’s pinnacle. . . . The book deserves a broad readership, taking us as it does behind the scenes of history’s most criminal regime.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Ms. Görtemaker finally gives Braun her place in the dark history of the Third Reich.” —Wall Street Journal
“[A] careful reading of Görtemaker’s riveting account of the characters surrounding Hitler reveals that he spent more time with Eva Braun—especially after 1935—than he did with even the highest ranking Nazis, such as Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler. Braun may not have influenced Nazi policies, but thanks to Görtemaker’s groundbreaking work, it is now clear how Braun catered to Hitler, fostering his reliance on cronies and lackeys and reinforcing his tendency to shut himself off from the awful reality of what was happening to Germany and to the world.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Employing a detective’s skill and a journalist’s flair. . . . Görtemaker reconstructs the life of Eva Braun from the petty bourgeois household of her schoolteacher father to the inner circle of the Nazi overlord.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“Solidly researched, sophisticated, and well-written biography.” —Library Journal
“Although it is difficult, if not impossible, to whip up any sympathy for or to empathize with one of history’s most notorious mistresses, Görtemaker does provide a more nuanced view of this marginalized woman by examining the pivotal role she played in Hitler’s life and within his inner circle. . . . This breakout biography is a solid contribution to the ever-increasing body of Third Reich literature and scholarship.” —Booklist
“A perceptive account of a woman loyal and complaisant to the end.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“An utterly compelling portrayal of the weird hidden life of the dictator. . . . An instructively intimate peek at a man who, like some black star, destroyed all those he touched. Eva was only one of millions of his victims—but a willing one.” —The Telegraph (UK)
“A comprehensive biography . . . Görtemaker turns on their heads the preconceptions about Hitler and Eva.” —Daily Mail (UK)
“The first scientifically researched biography to correct the image of the dumb blonde at the side of the mass murderer.” —Der Spiegel (Germany)
“This meticulously-researched and documented biography is far more than the story of Eva Braun . . . Görtemaker has sifted through photographs, diaries, letters, interviews, and previous research to provide a wider perspective on not only Eva, but also many others in Hitler’s circle. . . . Fascinating reading.” —Historical Novels Review
“Braun emerges as bright but vapid, energetic but soulless. As thorough and clear a look of a monster’s lover as we are likely to get.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Having painstakingly reviewed the archives for references to Eva Braun’s relationship with Hitler, Görtemaker presents a portrait of an engaged and engaging young woman, fervently supportive of National Socialism and one of the few members of Hitler’s inner circle to never lose his trust or fall out of affection. . . . This telling sheds more light on the central question of the narrative of Eva Braun: ‘Did she share the political positions and basic worldview of her lover or was she merely a tragic slave who nonetheless profited from Hitler’s power?’” —Publishers Weekly