"This is no neo-Nazi apologia for the horrors of the Third Reich. It is an earnest effort to interpret Hitler's personal evolution and place his actions within his personal and political context.... In trying to fathom the 'real' Hitler, Stolfi may be on a fool's errand, but this provocative work is at least worthy of discussion."
Countless books, including five major biographies, have been devoted to the subject of Adolf Hitler. Yet, despite the mass of tantalizing detail uncovered over six decades, the man at the center of so much study and evil circumstance remains elusive. For some he was evil personified, a diabolical tyrant driven by a lust for power; for others he was a banal demagogue, an opportunist with talent for propaganda and speech-making but little more than an empty vessel embodying the disappointments of a defeated Germany. Though we know many facts about Hitler, no coherent picture of his character or personality emerges. Instead, we are left with a cardboard cutout of an evil dictator whom in the end no one can really explain.
In this new biography of Hitler, historian R.H.S. Stolfi reinterprets the known facts about the Nazi fuehrer to construct a convincing, realistic portrait of the man. In place of the hollow shell whom others have made into an icon of evil, Stolfi sees a complex, nuanced personality. He tells the story of Hitler, starting with the dreamy youth who showed talent for architectural design but who struggled academically and floundered without direction. The Hitler of later youth is then depicted as a patriot who risked his life on the front lines during World War I, was wounded by shrapnel and war gas, and was impressively decorated for valor. In Stolfi’s interpretation, Hitler came out of the war a respected veteran driven by dark fury over the deaths of two million fellow soldiers and convinced he had a calling to save the Germans from historical oblivion.
The author sees Hitler as a young man who would consciously transform himself into a self-proclaimed messiah, a savior who would be called by providence to make new Germans capable of defending themselves against a French-imposed punitive peace. On another level, Stolfi reinterprets Hitler as the creator of a quasi-mystical political movement based on his revelation that the Germans were under attack by a Jewish-inspired Marxian Socialism of global dimensions. As such Hitler would set Germany on a course intended to achieve historical permanence for the state and personal immortality for its providentially inspired leader. Finally, Stolfi ranks Hitler's successes from 1919 through 1941 as achievements so astonishing that he must be characterized, along with Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon, as one of Hegel’s impossibly rare world historical personalities.
Without in any way glorifying its subject, this unique revision of Hitler biography brings us closer to understanding a pivotal personality in the history of mankind.
520 pages (photos)
Hardcover (6 x 9): $27
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
R. H. S. Stolfi (Monterey, CA), professor emeritus at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, and a retired colonel in the US Marine Corps Reserve, is the author of German Panzers on the Offensive: Russia-North Africa, 1941-1942; Hitler’s Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted; and NATO under Attack.