Knopf | Authors | Steven Bach's Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl

From the desk of....

Leni Riefenstahl, the woman best known as "Hitler's filmmaker," was one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of the 20th century. Now, in a masterful new biography, Steven Bach reveals the truths and lies behind Riefenstahl's self-created mythology. Relying on new sources—including interviews with her colleagues and intimate friends, as well as previously unknown recordings of Riefenstahl herself—Bach gives us an exceptional work of historical investigation that untangles the past and is also an objective but unsparing appraisal of a woman of spectacular gifts corrupted by ruthless personal ambition. The photographs from Leni below, many unknown until now, bear chilling witness to her role as silent eyewitness to wartime atrocities against the Jews at Konskie in Poland, her use of Romany slave labor, and her inexplicable denial of having seen, let alone appeared in, the box office sensation Ways to Strength and Beauty.

"It is difficult to overpraise Bach's efforts...Bach is determined to present [Leni Riefenstahl] coolly, ironically, without loss of his own moral vector. What emerges is a compulsively readable and scrupulously crafted almost novelistically compelling narrative of a life endlessly obfuscated by lies...graceful...nuanced...brilliant." —Richard Schickel, The Los Angeles Times (March 11, 2007)

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