Albert Speer is the great Enigma of Nazi Germany. Before he was thirty he had become Hitler's architect. Soon he was building the new Reich's Chancellory and had transformed the Nuremberg rallies with his cathedrals of light' and gift for stage management. In 1942 Hitler appointed him his Armaments Minister and Speer quadrupled German arms ...
Albert Speer is the great Enigma of Nazi Germany. Before he was thirty he had become Hitler's architect. Soon he was building the new Reich's Chancellory and had transformed the Nuremberg rallies with his cathedrals of light' and gift for stage management. In 1942 Hitler appointed him his Armaments Minister and Speer quadrupled German arms production, keeping the German Army in the field and prolonging the war. Joachim Fest examines all the phases of Speer's life and work. Precisely because of Speer's contradictions, Fest sees him as representative of the mood and susceptibilities of the German people of the time. In this brilliant and persuasive book Fest argues that Albert Speer's life helps to explain how Germany broke with its traditions in 1933 and descended so far into crime and barbarism. This book is a crowning achievement for the writer who pioneered a new school of biographical writing in the 1960s with his Face of the Third Reich and his masterly Hitler biography, which has become a classic.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-06-10 The German architect who later became armaments minister, Albert Speer has long been considered an "artist" among Nazi wartime officials as he apparently considered himself, holding himself apart from what he saw as the more vulgar politicians currying Hitler's favor, a favor he already held. A leading German historian who worked closely with Speer in editing his memoirs, Fest (Hitler) brings a profound knowledge of his subject as he focuses on the contradictions in Speer's personality and life. "It remains a mystery," Fest writes, "how such a rational character could develop the nave faith that was a prerequisite for belonging to Hitler's inner circle." Speer was a talented man with few of the personality quirks found among others in the Nazi hierarchy for instance, he had an unremarkable childhood as the son of a liberal German family. But as Fest shows, Speer embodied many traits of the German people. Like thousands of others, Speer was seduced by Hitler's charisma in fact, the two had a close friendship that, according to Fest, was erotic but probably not carnal and by the Nazi project to create order out of chaos. Fest leaves unanswered whether Speer was just reading the tea leaves and preparing his postwar defense when he opposed Nazi policies in Hitler's final months, but he successfully walks the tightrope between delving inside Speer's mind and keeping a distance from him. As a result, he sheds much light on one of the more intriguing Nazi officials. 87 b&w photos. (Sept.) Forecast: This has the imprimatur of the History and Military Book Clubs, and of the Economist, which named it a best book of the year. Major review coverage should spur sales. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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