Peter Longerich
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Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler's most loyal acolytes. But how did this club-footed son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler's malevolent minister of propaganda, most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor? This book provides answer to that question.
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Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler's most loyal acolytes. But how did this club-footed son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler's malevolent minister of propaganda, most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor? In this definitive one-volume biography, renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record - and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels' own diary entries - to answer that question. Longerich paints a chilling picture of a man driven by a narcissistic desire for recognition who found the personal affirmation he craved within the virulently racist National Socialist movement - and whose lifelong search for a charismatic father figure inexorably led him to Hitler. This comprehensive biography documents Goebbels' ascent through the ranks of the Nazi Party, where he became a member of the Fuhrer's inner circle and launched a brutal campaign of anti-Semitic propaganda. Goebbels delivers fresh and important insight into how the Nazi message of hate was conceived, nurtured, and disseminated, and shreds the myth of Goebbels' own genius for propaganda. It also reveals a man dogged by insecurities and - though endowed with near-dictatorial control of the media - beset by bureaucratic infighting. And, as never before, Longerich exposes Goebbels' twisted personal life - his mawkish sentimentality, manipulative nature, and voracious sexual appetite. This complete portrait of the man behind Hitler's message is sure to become a standard for historians and students of the Holocaust for decades to come.

Customer reviews

A Mastepiece of a BiographyReview by Paul
Goebbels – A masterpiece Biography

Goebbels by Professor Peter Longerich is a masterpiece biography with outstand research that over seven hundred pages covers all aspects of Joseph Goebbels. This biography delves in to the dark heart of Goebbels and shines a light upon aspects of his life that we think we know with excellent scholarship and we find out how important Goebbels was within the Third Reich.

Using Goebbels own diaries which he started in 1925, as he was then a failed novelist and playwright to when he died in the Hitler bunker in April 1945. Goebbels had originally struck a deal to publish his dairies and even though some were published in 1948, most were carried off to Moscow and was not published fully until 2008.

There have always been rumours that somehow Goebbels how the club footed propagandist had a very healthy love life and not just with his wife, Magda. He was also a midget lothario who was a narcissist with a profound need for attention and admiration, something he used to attract many women within the Reich. But the narcissistic tendencies of Goebbels also tended to overstate how important he actually was, though he was conceited and very insecure. Especially in respects to whether Hitler was having an affair with Magda, one thing is certain that Hitler often had to act as the marriage guide counsellor to the pair.

Chapter ten which deals with the years between 1933 and 1939 is interesting is that we are able to see how that the once free press of Germany fell under Goebbels’ censorship and control in the growing dictatorship. What Longerich does well is that he teases out the role Goebbels played in the Holocaust in the use of the anti-Semitic propaganda and the agitation that he encouraged. We also learn that he uses the ability to whip up anti-Semitic feelings across the country as a way to always get back in to Hitler’s good books.

We also get the confirmation that Goebbels was left out of the loop in the conduct of the war that Germany was raging, but this gave him time and space to hone his skills as the first ‘spin doctor’. Something that we do learn is that unlike other leading Nazis Goebbels did not have a power base independent of Hitler, except towards the end of the war when he was urging Hitler to fend off the challenges to his authority.

What we do learn through the dairies and Longerich’s writing that Goebbels had no redeeming qualities other than being a calculated liar who never once took a brave decision in his career or life. Even his suicide is not as grand as he would have liked especially as he knows the Russians are closing in, he asks for a soldier to shoot him as he does not think the poison will kill him.

This is an excellent biography that opens up the lurid world that Goebbels lived and operated in, there is no admiration for the man, which is understandable, but the facts are laid bare and we can see Goebbels for what he was. A narcissist who had a constant need to be desired and admired, who exaggerated his own importance a man who should have hung at Nuremberg.

(Posted on 14/06/2015)

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Product details

Additional Info

ISBN 9781847920317
Publisher Bodley Head Adults
Format Hardback
Publication date 7 May 2015

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