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"A valuable service . . . serious, entertaining, provocative and distinctive." --Cleveland Plain Dealer
In the fifty years since his suicide amid the ruins of Berlin, Adolf Hitler has been the subject of more biographies than any comparable figure of our time--and at the center of a crucial historical debate over the nature of evil and moral responsibility in the twentieth century. In this brilliant and original book, the historian John Lukacs climbs above the fray to produce a definitive "history of a history: the history of the evolution of our understanding of Hitler's life and our debates about its meaning."
Like an expert attorney, Lukacs puts the biographies on trial, identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and hidden agendas. And through their intersecting and conflicting accounts, he addresses the enduring enigmas surrounding the demiurge of the Third Reich. Was Hitler a revolutionary or a reactionary? How successful was he as a statesman and a strategist? What was his primary motive for the extermination of the Jews? The Hitler of History answers these questions as fully as any modern work can hope to, with an intellectual boldness that makes it absolutely essential to any understanding of the post-Hitler world.
"Lukacs is a shrewd historian and an engaging writer . . . a sharp and sober portrait." --Philadelphia Inquirer
"Lukacs is a cultivated historian of conservative values and liberal intellect. I was immediately caught up by his intelligent evaluation of more than a half century of biography. Lukas's own views are subtle but full of common sense; he clears away old misconceptions, exposes apologists, and produces his own convincing portrait."
--Charles S. Maier, Director of the Center for European Studies, Harvard University