George VI thought him a "damnable villain" and Neville Chamberlain found him not quite a gentleman, but to the rest of the world Adolf Hitler has come to personify modern evil to such an extent that his biographers have always faced an unenviable task. The two most renowned biographies of Hitler--by Joachim C Fest (Hitler
) and by Alan Bullock (Hitler: A Study in Tyranny
)--painted a picture of individual tyranny which, in the words of AJP Taylor, left Hitler guilty and every other German innocent. Decades of scholarship on German society under the Nazis now make that verdict unsafe, and so the modern biographer of Hitler must account both for his terrible mindset and his charismatic appeal. In the second and final volume of his mammoth biography of Hitler, covering the climax of Nazi power, the reclamation of German-speaking Europe, and the horrific unfolding of the final solution in Poland and Russia, Ian Kershaw manages to achieve both these tasks. Following on from Hitler: Hubris 1889-1936
the epic Hitler: Nemesis 1936-1945
takes the reader from the adulation and hysteria of Hitler's electoral victory in 1936 to the obsessive and remote "bunker" mentality which enveloped the Fuhrer as Operation Barbarossa (the attack on Russia in 1942) proved the beginning of the end. Chilling yet objective: a definitive work.--Miles Taylor
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Winner of the Wolfson History Prize, the Bruno Kreisky Prize in Austria for Political Book of the Year, and the inaugural British Academy Book Prize. (Prizes and awards