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Goebbels: A Biography

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From renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich comes the definitive one-volume biography of Adolf Hitler’s malevolent minister of propaganda. In life, and in the grisly manner of his death, Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler’s most loyal acolytes. By the end, no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public From renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich comes the definitive one-volume biography of Adolf Hitler’s malevolent minister of propaganda. In life, and in the grisly manner of his death, Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler’s most loyal acolytes. By the end, no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public enlightenment and propaganda. But how did this clubfooted son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler’s most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor? In this ground-breaking biography, Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record—and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels’s own diary entries—to provide the answer to that question. Longerich, the first historian to make use of the Goebbels diaries in a biographical work, engages and challenges the self-serving portrait the propaganda chief left behind. Spanning thirty years, the diaries paint 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. Delving into the mind of his subject, Longerich reveals how Goebbels’s lifelong search for a charismatic father figure inexorably led him to Hitler, to whom he ascribed almost godlike powers. This comprehensive biography documents Goebbels’s ascent through the ranks of the Nazi Party, where he became a member of the Führer’s inner circle and launched a brutal campaign of anti-Semitic propaganda. Though endowed with near-dictatorial control of the media—film, radio, press, and the fine arts—Longerich’s Goebbels is a man dogged by insecurities and beset by bureaucratic infighting. He feuds with his bitter rivals Hermann Göring and Alfred Rosenberg, unsuccessfully advocates for a more radical line of “total war,” and is thwarted in his attempt to pursue a separate peace with the Allies during the waning days of World War II. This book also reveals, as never before, Goebbels’s twisted personal life—his mawkish sentimentality, manipulative nature, and voracious sexual appetite. A harrowing look at the life of one of history’s greatest monsters, Goebbels delivers fresh insight into how the Nazi message of hate was conceived, nurtured, and disseminated. This complete portrait of the man behind that message is sure to become a standard for historians and students of the Holocaust for decades to come.


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From renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich comes the definitive one-volume biography of Adolf Hitler’s malevolent minister of propaganda. In life, and in the grisly manner of his death, Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler’s most loyal acolytes. By the end, no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public From renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich comes the definitive one-volume biography of Adolf Hitler’s malevolent minister of propaganda. In life, and in the grisly manner of his death, Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler’s most loyal acolytes. By the end, no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public enlightenment and propaganda. But how did this clubfooted son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler’s most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor? In this ground-breaking biography, Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record—and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels’s own diary entries—to provide the answer to that question. Longerich, the first historian to make use of the Goebbels diaries in a biographical work, engages and challenges the self-serving portrait the propaganda chief left behind. Spanning thirty years, the diaries paint 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. Delving into the mind of his subject, Longerich reveals how Goebbels’s lifelong search for a charismatic father figure inexorably led him to Hitler, to whom he ascribed almost godlike powers. This comprehensive biography documents Goebbels’s ascent through the ranks of the Nazi Party, where he became a member of the Führer’s inner circle and launched a brutal campaign of anti-Semitic propaganda. Though endowed with near-dictatorial control of the media—film, radio, press, and the fine arts—Longerich’s Goebbels is a man dogged by insecurities and beset by bureaucratic infighting. He feuds with his bitter rivals Hermann Göring and Alfred Rosenberg, unsuccessfully advocates for a more radical line of “total war,” and is thwarted in his attempt to pursue a separate peace with the Allies during the waning days of World War II. This book also reveals, as never before, Goebbels’s twisted personal life—his mawkish sentimentality, manipulative nature, and voracious sexual appetite. A harrowing look at the life of one of history’s greatest monsters, Goebbels delivers fresh insight into how the Nazi message of hate was conceived, nurtured, and disseminated. This complete portrait of the man behind that message is sure to become a standard for historians and students of the Holocaust for decades to come.

30 review for Goebbels: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kemper

    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review. This should teach me to pay more attention when I ask for an ARC. I requested this from NetGalley on a whim when I saw the title, and I didn’t realize that I was getting a book that was almost a thousand pages.* I also didn’t consider that a kitten-squisher of a biography about a notorious Nazis wasn’t going to be ideal summer time reading. I’ve done my best to give it a fair review, but any critical comments I I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review. This should teach me to pay more attention when I ask for an ARC. I requested this from NetGalley on a whim when I saw the title, and I didn’t realize that I was getting a book that was almost a thousand pages.* I also didn’t consider that a kitten-squisher of a biography about a notorious Nazis wasn’t going to be ideal summer time reading. I’ve done my best to give it a fair review, but any critical comments I make should probably be taken with a grain of salt by anyone interested in it. Peter Longerich uses Joseph Goebbels’ diary as a guide post from the time when he was a wannabe writer and radical through his rise through the Nazi party to become the chief architect of its propaganda. By contrasting what Goebells claimed in his journals against other documentation Longerich gives us the real history. This portrayal shows that Goebbels was a raging narcissist that achieved the recognition he craved by dedicating himself to Adolf Hitler who Goebbels helped elevate to the supreme leader of Germany. (We all know how well that ended.) By making Hitler into an almost god-like figure, Goebbels could then validate himself as great by earning Hitler’s respect and praise. Hitler’s opinion was so important that Goebbels and his wife Magda (Who it seems Hitler had a bit of a thing for.) made him a de facto father figure that they treated like a member of the family and consulted on domestic decisions. Perhaps what’s most interesting is how Longerich uses what Goebbels claims against other historical documents to show how much Hitler used him like a chump. While Goebbels liked to brag about his close relationship with Hitler and boast about his many accomplishments, the records show that in fact Hitler often kept him out of the loop, ignored his advice, and even occasionally used him as a diversion. If Goebbels had more self-awareness he might have realized that Hitler saw his value as a talented creator of propaganda but didn’t credit him as much more than that, at least until the end of the war left him with few other options. After establishing what he believed about Goebbels' personality, Longerich is content to relay the facts of his life in chronological order while letting quotes from the diary clue us into what Goebbels was thinking and correcting the record with a minimum of commentary aside from occasionally pointing out patterns. This approach gives a remarkably detailed and rich portrait of Goebbels as well as the inner workings of the Nazi party. However, it’s also one of the problems with the book. Everyone has habits and routines. When you read something that covers 20+ years of a person’s life, it’s going to get repetitive no matter what they’re doing even if they’re Nazis perpetrating some of history’s greatest crimes. So whether it’s Goebbels kissing Hitler’s ass or Goebbels having some bureaucratic squabble with another Nazi or Goebbels feuding with his wife or Goebbels launching another anti-Semitic propaganda campaign, there comes a time when the point has been made so it seems like the same thing is being rehashed over and over. In a weird way the strength of the book became one of its irritations for me, but I’m not sure what could have been done about it. It’s tempting to say that it could have used more analysis and less detail, but the details are what eventually give you such an understanding of what made Goebbels tick. It seems unfair to fault Longerich for being too thorough, but in the end that’s almost what it feels like. If you’re looking for a seriously detailed in-depth biography of Joseph Goebbels that also provides a lot of behind the scenes history of the Nazis, then this is the book for you. If you’re in the mood for a lighter pop-history that tells you the basics about Goebbels, you should probably look elsewhere. * About 40% of the book is its bibliography and notes.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hanneke

    In my never-ending, perhaps obsessive, quest to understand what was going on in the minds of Hitler and the people in close proximity to him, I tackled this 900+ pages biography of one of Hitler’s most devoted associates, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels lived just at the right time to develop into the man of fearsome influence who he succeeded to become after much loathsome scheming and character destroying of anyone who stood in his way. Goebbels possessed a deeply narcissistic personality and purely In my never-ending, perhaps obsessive, quest to understand what was going on in the minds of Hitler and the people in close proximity to him, I tackled this 900+ pages biography of one of Hitler’s most devoted associates, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels lived just at the right time to develop into the man of fearsome influence who he succeeded to become after much loathsome scheming and character destroying of anyone who stood in his way. Goebbels possessed a deeply narcissistic personality and purely by extreme willpower rose from failed writer - someone in despair - to the top nazi propaganda minister and he was about the only high rank nazi who Hitler felt comfortable enough with to join on an occasional holiday outing or go boating in the weekend. It is clear that biographer Peter Longerich had set himself some strict fundamental principles for his biography of Goebbels. He restricts himself solely to describing Goebbels’ life, his wife Magda and their children, his relationship with Hitler and Hitler’s innermost circle. Thus, you get informed what transpired in extenso with Goebbels and his immediate associaties on almost a daily basis from 1928 through the last days in the bunker in April 1945. And this is exactly what felt unnatural and too restricted to me, as hardly any mention is made what happened outside the intrigues and propaganda activities of himself and his immediate associates. Even earth shattering events like the invasion of Czecho-Slovakia or Poland, as well as the invasion of Belgium and the Netherlands (no mention of the total burning of Rotterdam at all!) and later France are only mentioned in a paragraph or two. There is, for example, no mention throughout the biography of the actual transportation of Jewish people to the concentration camps and what happened there. Goebbels is only preoccupied to install as much anti-semitic hatred as he can. It is clear that he is just worried that his severe anti-semitic speeches are not taken seriously enough. Throughout the biography, I got the impression that Goebbels was even more anti-semitic than Hitler. Moreover, he had strong antibourgeois prejudices and in that way was more radical than Hitler. It was pretty surprising to note that Hitler even stopped him sometimes from pursuing ever more severe measures, not only towards the Jews but to discontented people as well. There is no doubt that he was successful with his ever increasing endeavours to install anti-semitic sentiments within the population. Especially the people of Berlin were initially not interested in the subject, but his propaganda campaigns gradually had the impact he desired. I thought reading 707 pages of Goebbels’ life story plus 253 pages of Sources and Notes (there are references to note nrs. about every second sentence!) would have added to my knowledge of Hitler and his closest circle. I must say I did acquire some more precise information, but still I never got any wiser as to distinguishing features in the person of Hitler other than the realization that he clearly loved to keep his closest associates in the dark about important things. For example, Goebbels was never advised about imminent invasions or other earth scattering events and was consequently often greatly taken by surprise because he was the propaganda minister and should have been prepared to address the nation. Hitler proved to be greatly disillusional in the end, firmly believing he could still win the war even though the Russians were already at the city limits of Berlin. It was only in the bunker that Joseph Goebbels started to doubt Hitler’s omnipotence. It is certainly a sign of his great devotion to Hitler that he and his wife Magda remained with Hitler until the end.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cold War Conversations Podcast

    Longerich has set the bar high for anyone to surpass this volume. Peter Longerich is a German professor of history. He is regarded by fellow historians as one of the leading German authorities on the Holocaust. Benefiting from the 1997 discovery of the microfilmed diaries in a Russian archive of Longerich’s work on Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister is a master class in biography. In immense detail he covers the rise of Goebbels from journalist and wannabe playwright to Reich Chancellor Longerich has set the bar high for anyone to surpass this volume. Peter Longerich is a German professor of history. He is regarded by fellow historians as one of the leading German authorities on the Holocaust. Benefiting from the 1997 discovery of the microfilmed diaries in a Russian archive of Longerich’s work on Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister is a master class in biography. In immense detail he covers the rise of Goebbels from journalist and wannabe playwright to Reich Chancellor for a day following Hitler’s suicide. Surprisingly despite his club foot, polio-weakened body and the nickname, the "poison dwarf" Goebbels was quite the lothario. His most infamous affair, was with the Czech actress Lida Baarova, with whom Hitler ordered Goebbels to break off his relationship whereupon Goebbels offered his resignation, which Hitler refused. Goebbels even attempted suicide which resulted in a furious Hitler ordering Himmler to remove Baarová from Germany, where she was deported to Czechoslovakia However, the book is much than an expose of his love life, it shows how Goebbels tried to manage the morale and thoughts of the German population from the early 1930s through to the denouement in Berlin 1in 1945 I’d always thought Goebbels was part of the Nazi inner circle and despite being one of Hitler's intimates he was on the periphery of most of the main decisions throughout the war, often being told after the fact. Even knowledge of an invasion of the Soviet Union was late in being supplied to him. Whilst there’s many biographies on the other leading Nazis, there’s surprisingly few on Josef Goebbels, however Longerich has set the bar high to surpass this volume.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tom Mathews

    Goebbels: a biography, published in German in 2010 and recently translated into English, may soon stand with Joachim C. Fest’s biography of Hitler as one of the key sources of information for those interested in understanding the personalities and events that brought about the advent of the Third Reich and all the horrendous events that it spawned. Longerich’s biography of Joseph Goebbels, based largely on the Nazi propaganda minister’s voluminous diaries, begins in the early 1920s with Goebbels: a biography, published in German in 2010 and recently translated into English, may soon stand with Joachim C. Fest’s biography of Hitler as one of the key sources of information for those interested in understanding the personalities and events that brought about the advent of the Third Reich and all the horrendous events that it spawned. Longerich’s biography of Joseph Goebbels, based largely on the Nazi propaganda minister’s voluminous diaries, begins in the early 1920s with Goebbels, a young man with a less than impressive track record in school and employment, struggling to find himself. At one point drawn to the Catholic church and socialist ideology he ultimately rejects both and follows a totally different path. Longerich portrays Goebbels as an extremely narcissistic individual who at one point saw himself as the ultimate savior of Germany but who fell victim to the powerfully persuasive personality of Adolph Hitler, and instead assumed for himself the mantle of self-proclaimed John the Baptist and dedicated himself to spreading his Führer’s message. As with most comprehensive biographies, there are several places where the pace tends to lag but it still contains a lot of previously unpublished information that will intrigue readers. I was interested to learn that when Goebbels first became interested in anti-Semitism he read the series of booklets ‘The International Jew’ written by American Auto maker Henry Ford but decided that ‘he was not prepared to follow the author’s train of thought all the way.’ One ultimately is given the impression that Goebbels believed that he had a greater impact on events in Europe than he actually did. Perhaps his greatest propaganda coup was to leave most students of history believing that he alone controlled much of the output of the German media, educational and artistic institutions during the years the Nazis were in power. The truth is that he fought a constant, and usually unsuccessful battle to convince Hitler to grant him the power he craved, and in the end had to settle for sharing many of the propaganda functions with other party officials. That he lacked that power is evident in how many of the key German actions that Goebbels was left out of until after they were begun. Even so, Goebbels' many diaries still provide readers with much information regarding the secret meetings and inner workings of the Nazi party. English narrator Simon Prebble does an admirable job of narrating the audio version of this book produced by Highbridge Audio. The narration is unabridged and runs for 28.75 hours. *Quotations are cited from an advanced reading copy and may not be the same as appears in the final published edition. The review book was based on an advanced reading copy obtained at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. While this does take any ‘not worth what I paid for it’ statements out of my review, it otherwise has no impact on the content of my review. FYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements: • 5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. • 4 Stars – It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it’s pretty good as it is. • 3 Stars – A solid C grade. Some serious rewriting would be needed in order for this book to be considered good or memorable. • 2 Stars – This book needs a lot of work. A good start would be to change the plot, the character development, the writing style and the ending. • 1 Star - The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire.

  5. 5 out of 5

    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 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    Longerich has established himself as a scholar who specializes in writing about the Nazi thugs who surrounded and supported Hitler’s regime in the 1930’s and 40’s. Thank you to Net Galley and Random House for the ARC. The fact is, despite my strong preference for meaty, well-documented, detailed historical works including biographies, I really struggled with this one. At first I thought it was my own fault for asking for 992 pages (about a third of which is documentation) about such a rotten Longerich has established himself as a scholar who specializes in writing about the Nazi thugs who surrounded and supported Hitler’s regime in the 1930’s and 40’s. Thank you to Net Galley and Random House for the ARC. The fact is, despite my strong preference for meaty, well-documented, detailed historical works including biographies, I really struggled with this one. At first I thought it was my own fault for asking for 992 pages (about a third of which is documentation) about such a rotten guy, but that isn’t the reason I kept setting it aside. I devoured John Dean’s recent tome on Nixon, who while not actually a fascist was a really dirty guy, and that was really interesting reading. This colossal volume on Goebbels, on the other hand, is dry, dry, dry. Longerich’s thesis, if such a large work can be boiled down to its essence, is that while Goebbels was a villain and a sociopath, he wasn’t nearly as important a player in Hitler’s regime as he considered himself to be. He was emotionally dependent on Hitler and the reverse was also true, but his scope and authority were not as great as many people may believe. Longerich makes his case thoroughly and carefully, using Goebbels’s own journal entries and other primary documents, often citing works in the German language to back his assertions. And maybe that is where part of my ambivalence lies, because what he sets out to prove, isn’t what I wanted to know. I wanted to know—just as we always do when something really calamitous occurs or a really monstrous person draws the public eye—what the hell happened to make someone participate in, and even initiate, the things that Goebbels did. I don’t care about his love life, and would just as soon see a good portion of the first 200 pages edited, since the interesting part of his story is later in his life, once the fascists assume power. However, Longerich has written about at least one other top Nazi, and he followed the same basic format, relying on the man’s early life to demonstrate the formation of his character, and he’s had success and acclaim by doing so, and perhaps that isn’t entirely the reason I found this work to be so unexpectedly dull. For those who are pursuing research projects that involve Nazi top officers, Goebbels is bound to be a valuable resource. For general audiences it might have been more interesting to see him from multiple perspectives. We see Goebbels through his own eyes, and we see what Longerich has discovered to be fact in terms of the authority he was given and the positions he held. I wonder, what about what others who worked with him thought about him? What about how the German public perceived him? I think it might have livened up the text to include more vantage points. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the most thorough biography of Goebbels that is widely available and written in English. For scholars seeking information for purposes of research, I highly recommend it. For the audience that seeks an accessible and interesting history and biography that relates to the Holocaust and Nazi officers, I recommend Six Million Accusers: Catching Adolph Eichmann, by D. Lawrence-Young. In short, Goebbels is more appropriate for a niche audience than as a general read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    judy

    We'll just call this what it really is -- a meticulous academic examination of Joseph Goebbels. It's not interesting and the chances of your learning something new and mindblowing are almost nil. It isn't the author's fault. Goebbels made diary entries every day. What we know of him comes from those and other writings--some his, some not. The main problem is that Goebbels is a full blown narcissist. It's all about him. He's always right and he's always successful. What I don't understand is how We'll just call this what it really is -- a meticulous academic examination of Joseph Goebbels. It's not interesting and the chances of your learning something new and mindblowing are almost nil. It isn't the author's fault. Goebbels made diary entries every day. What we know of him comes from those and other writings--some his, some not. The main problem is that Goebbels is a full blown narcissist. It's all about him. He's always right and he's always successful. What I don't understand is how or why this man worshiped Hitler. Near the end of the war, he did see a few faults with his hero. Not enough, however to stop him and his wife from commiting suicide upon Hitler's death--and killing their six children. A legend in his own mind, Goebbels was never in the true inner circle. When it came to military strategy and really significant decisions, Goebbels was never invited in. He would find out eventually, sometimes after the fact. Hitler had a talent for making people feel that they were essential to him--although they weren't. It depends on how you want to use this book. You do get what Goebbles is doing with his time but you rarely see the other suspects. In short, this is a narrow view of a huge subject.

  8. 4 out of 5

    SundayAtDusk

    Never having read a biography about a high-ranking Nazi, I feared Goebbels: A Biography might be too harrowing a read. Early on, though, I realized harrowing was not what this book happened to be, which made it easily readable. Yet, the more I read, the more I wondered if the way the book was written didn't make Goebbels and his kind seem too normal. By the time one reached the end of the author's conclusion, which was page 700, one is apparently suppose to believe Goebbels main problem was he Never having read a biography about a high-ranking Nazi, I feared Goebbels: A Biography might be too harrowing a read. Early on, though, I realized harrowing was not what this book happened to be, which made it easily readable. Yet, the more I read, the more I wondered if the way the book was written didn't make Goebbels and his kind seem too normal. By the time one reached the end of the author's conclusion, which was page 700, one is apparently suppose to believe Goebbels main problem was he was narcissistic. Really? That's it? He was also apparently always looking for a mother figure, even though he had a living mother, who he claimed to be very close to in his diary. Why did he need more mother figures? The author says that is how he saw Hitler--as a mother. Hitler as a mother figure? Now, men who are always looking for mothers are often men who are always fantasizing there are forever innocent little boys, not responsible for any bad or shameful things they do. Their mothers are responsible; or their mother substitutes, such as their wives, are responsible. When Goebbels first starts talking about Hitler in his diary, though, it doesn't sound like he's seeing him as a mother figure. It sounds like he's in love with him! His diary entries also show he is a total drama queen when it comes to all of his romantic relationships with women. In addition, he married a woman, Magda, in what was apparently a threesome with Hitler, because that is what Hitler wanted. And when his wife had only daughters, he was terribly disappointed, and only happy when she had a son. Moreover, he started showing off a mistress for all to see in public until Hitler put an end to that. Finally, he thought telling lies was a normal and good thing. Is it possible that Goebbels was such a good propaganda minister because he was an expert liar even before he became a Nazi? Is it unreasonable to suggest that besides being narcissistic, Goebbels was also possibly a self-loathing latent or closet homosexual? He certainly wouldn't put that in his diary, but those were unmistakable signs of that. Narcissism is often a type of self-hatred rooted in shame. That could also partly explain why he became rabidly anti-Semitic. Besides needing a scapegoat for Germany's problem, he needed someone to project all of his own self-hatred and guilt onto--it was the Jews who were dirty and worthless and the cause of all of life's problems. Thus, all the Jews needed to be destroyed. (Not to mention all of the exposed or out-of-the-closet homosexuals.) Of course, in the end, Goebbels destroyed himself, which was no surprise. The fact that he also killed all his children, as if they were his to kill, is definitely a sign of narcissism. But it's also a sign he didn't want or truly love them in the first place. He was emotionally the little boy, the one who always needed a mother, the one who never would be held responsible by God for any bad things he ever did. You can't hold an innocent little boy responsible. No matter what shameful things he did, he would not be responsible. That is why he always needed at least one mother figure on hand. To take the blame. He probably most definitely made sure Magda committed suicide with him. (Note: I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Scott Baker

    I was conflicted about whether to give this book 3.5 or 5 stars, and finally opted for a four-star review. Please see my reasoning below. Reason for a five-star review: Longerich has written probably the most comprehensive biography to date of Joseph Goebbels. The author has conducted meticulous research, going through all of Goebbels' diaries and putting together a detailed accounting of the propaganda minister's thoughts and concerns. two aspects of the biography I found most interesting were I was conflicted about whether to give this book 3.5 or 5 stars, and finally opted for a four-star review. Please see my reasoning below. Reason for a five-star review: Longerich has written probably the most comprehensive biography to date of Joseph Goebbels. The author has conducted meticulous research, going through all of Goebbels' diaries and putting together a detailed accounting of the propaganda minister's thoughts and concerns. two aspects of the biography I found most interesting were 1) Goebbels was not as close a confidante of Hitler's as history has led us to believe, and 2) much of his proximity to Hitler resulted from Hitler and Magda (Goebbels' wife) having a very close and possibly intimate relationship. Longerich's book brings Goebbels to life through the man's diaries, and is invaluable for anyone studying the propaganda minister and/or the political machinations within the Nazi party. Reason for a 3.5-star review: While Longerich's book is an excellent scholarly work, it is long and tedious if one is interested in a more liesurely historical read. I found myself skipping over entire chapter segments that went into details about gauleiter gatherings or other such topics. While in no way should this be viewed as a detraction of the book, I do want to warn the readers ahead of time so they are aware.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Casey Wheeler

    I received a prerelease e-copy of this book through NetGalley (publication date October 14, 2014) with the expectation that I will post a review on their site and others (my blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, etc.). I requested this book as I have an interest in World War II and the leading characters in the conflict (regardless of which side they were on). This is the first book by Peter Longerich that I have read. I found this book to be well written and researched. I received a prerelease e-copy of this book through NetGalley (publication date October 14, 2014) with the expectation that I will post a review on their site and others (my blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, etc.). I requested this book as I have an interest in World War II and the leading characters in the conflict (regardless of which side they were on). This is the first book by Peter Longerich that I have read. I found this book to be well written and researched. The author's style makes this an easy and engrossing read. While the subject matter can be distrubing at times, he paints a very complete picture of Josef Goebbels that creates an understanding of how he can to be the mouthpiece of the Third Reich and at the end the most devoted of Adolph Hitler's followers. Goebbels left exhaustive diaries that the author made excellent use of in getting into the head of the subject. I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in gainging a better understanding of one of the leaders who contributed to one of the darkest periods in our world's history.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    REVIEW COMING SOON

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    I got this from NetGalley and am having trouble reading it on my kindle. Perhaps there's a way to get it in Word format so I can read it on my MacBook and take notes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joe Vigil

    After nearly 800 pages, here's my conclusion: What a f*cking coward.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Reding

    Reviewed for NetGalley. With the aid of many thousands of pages that Goebbels wrote chronicling events that transpired from Hitler's early times, though the years in which the Nazi party grew, and finally to the last days in the Bunker, Longerich presents a thorough step by step of the life and times of Joseph Goebbels. He postulates that Goebbels was "driven by an exceptional craving for recognition by others. He was positively addicted to others’ admiration." The author's averment is Reviewed for NetGalley. With the aid of many thousands of pages that Goebbels wrote chronicling events that transpired from Hitler's early times, though the years in which the Nazi party grew, and finally to the last days in the Bunker, Longerich presents a thorough step by step of the life and times of Joseph Goebbels. He postulates that Goebbels was "driven by an exceptional craving for recognition by others. He was positively addicted to others’ admiration." The author's averment is substantiated through a survey of actions Goebbels's took as propaganda minister of the Third Reich. The extent to which he controlled other people and enterprises was extraordinary. That he considered himself a favorite of the crowds, however, appears to have been a figment of his imagination--one fed by the media that praised him--the same media he controlled. The author concludes that Goebbels was "a narcissistically disturbed personality." By virtue of the passages Longerich shares from Goebbels's own chronicles, the assertion is utterly believable. I was not surprised by the lengths to which Goebbels, and the Nazi party as a whole, were willing to go to grasp and to maintain control over others. The lawlessness, the willingness to manipulate, the falsehoods readily told--then just as readily "believed" by those telling the stories--is legendary. Even so, it is remarkable to read these things in Goebbels's own words. Also, I was not surprised by the "closeness" of the Goebbels family to the Fuhrer himself. Once again, however, when Longerich compares Goebbels's words with the reality of events at the time (based on other historic accounts and records), Goebbels clearly exaggerated the true extent of his relationship with Hitler. (Having said that, one can only wonder at the connection between Goebbels's wife, and Hitler.) All told, this work was a massive undertaking, one worthy of the attention of historians, the simply curious, and those dedicated to act as watchdogs with regard to any leadership, anywhere, at any time. The media has a sacred duty to seek out and to disclose truth--not to use its position to fashion events, to support a particular ideology, or to "cheer" for a designated "team." Take note media moguls: without a free, unfettered, and honest media, we cannot have a free and unmolested people. If you do not exercise your freedom when it is essentially unencumbered, you may well lose the ability to exercise it ever again . . .

  15. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Meticulously researched and minutely detailed as it is, I found the extremely limited perspective of this book a bit exhausting. It's ruthlessly critical of the self-reported events in Goebbels's diary, picking apart each meeting that Goebbels wasn't invited to and each decision he falsely attributed to himself. Longerich never, ever ventures into what Himmler thought about this or what Speer thought about that, let alone what the Allies were up to. We get 100% Goebbels, even when he hears news Meticulously researched and minutely detailed as it is, I found the extremely limited perspective of this book a bit exhausting. It's ruthlessly critical of the self-reported events in Goebbels's diary, picking apart each meeting that Goebbels wasn't invited to and each decision he falsely attributed to himself. Longerich never, ever ventures into what Himmler thought about this or what Speer thought about that, let alone what the Allies were up to. We get 100% Goebbels, even when he hears news too late or gets bad intel or (as often happens) is off doing something that ends up having almost no historical significance because other people were doing much more dramatic stuff at the same time. The book does end up convincing us that Goebbels wasn't as big a mover in the Nazi government as he wanted people to think, and that he was a vain, self-important jerk-- but it takes almost 1000 pages to do so. Longerich casts doubt on the conventional assumption that Goebbels was a true believer in the Nazi cause, pointing out (what I have to assume is) every instance in which Goebbels realized Hitler was mucking things up. But he also argues that Goebbels treasured his "special relationship" with Hitler-- obviously a man of charisma and someone Goebbels personally admired with near desperation-- enough that he would die (and kill his own children) to convince other people that he had been Hitler's bestie. I'd recommend this book to someone who loves reading about Nazism because it's amazingly specific and thorough, and it does focus on Goebbels in a targeted way even aficionados aren't likely to have seen before. For a more casual reader, it would probably be overwhelming, and the limited perspective might even be disorienting for someone who doesn't have a good working knowledge of the underlying history.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alannah Clarke

    *Recieved a free copy to review through netgalley.com* Having studied Nazi History for so many years now, I think this last year (my third year in university) was the first year in which the Nazi party were not mentioned at all. Anyways, through my years of research, I had come to know one name quite well, Joseph Goebbels. But I didn't know that much about him, which is why I thought this book would be really interesting to me. Simply because this book seemed to promise some new viewpoints about *Recieved a free copy to review through netgalley.com* Having studied Nazi History for so many years now, I think this last year (my third year in university) was the first year in which the Nazi party were not mentioned at all. Anyways, through my years of research, I had come to know one name quite well, Joseph Goebbels. But I didn't know that much about him, which is why I thought this book would be really interesting to me. Simply because this book seemed to promise some new viewpoints about this wicked man whom some people don't even know of. I thought the author did a great in trying to explain the man and his propaganda campaign, since he was the Reich Minister for Propaganda from 1933 to 1945. Goebbels knew very well how to control what people thought, a lot of people don't seem to realise that it Goebbels who made the German people go against Jewish people and blamed them for their part in Germany's downfall after the First World War. The book is detailed and interesting, I believe that many historians interested in Nazi History will enjoy this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bou

    Clarifying biography by Petr Longerich about Goebbels, one of Hitler's most loyal followers For his biography, Peter Longerich puts mainly out of Goebbel's diaries, which give a good insight in the thoughts and actions of this man. Some aspects that I learned: He was totally devoted to Hitler, even allowed Hitler to enter in a trio partnership with his wife (with whom he regulary had difficult dealings), allowed Hitler to enter his private life while Hitler kept him out of his political Clarifying biography by Petr Longerich about Goebbels, one of Hitler's most loyal followers For his biography, Peter Longerich puts mainly out of Goebbel's diaries, which give a good insight in the thoughts and actions of this man. Some aspects that I learned: He was totally devoted to Hitler, even allowed Hitler to enter in a trio partnership with his wife (with whom he regulary had difficult dealings), allowed Hitler to enter his private life while Hitler kept him out of his political activities. Hitler had him wrapped around his fingers. During the war, he kept fighting to control the Reichs propaganda ministeries, which regulary made him quarrel with some of the other top nazi's. Even in the final years, when all was already lost, he kept trying to gain total power with regards to press and media. In the end, he never succeeded in this goal. His rabid antisemitism was appaling. He created the lies that were put forward to the German people, and in the end believed himself in them.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mark Lonsdale

    An important psycho biography of a monstrous individual - but at times makes him an almost comic figure and underplays his influence, which I found surprising. Raises, but does not really pursue, the potentially explosive idea of a three way relationship between Goebbels, his wife, and Hitler. You realise how personality driven (as opposed to process driven) was the Nazi regime -it was all about who had last spoken to Hitler. A key message is that we must be forever vigilant for politicians An important psycho biography of a monstrous individual - but at times makes him an almost comic figure and underplays his influence, which I found surprising. Raises, but does not really pursue, the potentially explosive idea of a three way relationship between Goebbels, his wife, and Hitler. You realise how personality driven (as opposed to process driven) was the Nazi regime -it was all about who had last spoken to Hitler. A key message is that we must be forever vigilant for politicians massaging laws and accruing special powers to "protect our security" (e.g. ministers deciding on citizenship). I was struck by what a hotbed of extremism in the 1920s were the peaceful towns of Westphalia that I lived among as a boy. Also that nazism truly started as a kind of hybrid of extremist socialism and nationalism (one of the comical aspects is the way Goebbels continued to court and uphold the Soviet Union until he belatedly "got the memo".

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jay Williams

    For anyone interested in World War II this book is a gold mine of information. Through the analysis of joseph Goebbels it provides an inside look at the details of the ascendency of the Nazi party and the slide into World War II. It documents the in-fighting and intrigues among the members of Hitler's staff in details ever before published. It certainly brings all of the politics to life, and suggests an interesting relationship between Magda Goebbels and Hitler. The book does not provide For anyone interested in World War II this book is a gold mine of information. Through the analysis of joseph Goebbels it provides an inside look at the details of the ascendency of the Nazi party and the slide into World War II. It documents the in-fighting and intrigues among the members of Hitler's staff in details ever before published. It certainly brings all of the politics to life, and suggests an interesting relationship between Magda Goebbels and Hitler. The book does not provide Longerich's credentials as a psychiatrist, but he provides a great deal of analysis mixed into the historical chronology and again in a rehash analysis at the end of the book. I would have enjoyed less diagnosis within the text, leaving the conclusions to the summary. The book is long, but very little could be dropped from the story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Tornello

    Goebbels was definitely an interesting subject for a biography. The author did a great job of researching him and wrote an incredibly detailed story. I received an audio book edition of this story, and I had a very hard time focusing on it while I tried listening while driving in the car. I think that the narrative is just too detailed to translate well into an audio edition. I received this book as a Goodreads First-Read. Yay!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Well, this is a very well researched book about the Nazi propaganda minister. I was not aware before this of the very close relationship he had with Hitler. Even more surprising to me was his wife's relationship with Hitler. I would recommend this book for anyone who is serious about researching the Nazi's.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marsmannix

    Really dense book on the propaganda master of the Third Reich who was basically a whiny crippled emo guy. Very detailed, a good historical reference. However just reading about this pathetic loser wore me out.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tim Lake

    Top quality examination of Hitler's PR chief. I especially liked the detail of Goebbels' private family life. You'll enjoy it if you like WW II history.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vikas Datta

    A most important read for the present day..

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE TELEGRAPH - From renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich comes the definitive one-volume biography of Adolf Hitler's malevolent minister of propaganda. In life, and in the grisly manner of his death, Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler's most loyal acolytes. By the end, no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public enlightenment and propaganda. But how did this clubfooted son of a NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE TELEGRAPH - From renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich comes the definitive one-volume biography of Adolf Hitler's malevolent minister of propaganda. In life, and in the grisly manner of his death, Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler's most loyal acolytes. By the end, no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public enlightenment and propaganda. But how did this clubfooted son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler's most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor? In this ground-breaking biography, Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record--and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels's own diary entries--to provide the answer to that question. Longerich, the first historian to make use of the Goebbels diaries in a biographical work, engages and challenges the self-serving portrait the propaganda chief left behind. Spanning thirty years, the diaries paint 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. Delving into the mind of his subject, Longerich reveals how Goebbels's lifelong search for a charismatic father figure inexorably led him to Hitler, to whom he ascribed almost godlike powers. This comprehensive biography documents Goebbels's ascent through the ranks of the Nazi Party, where he became a member of the Führer's inner circle and launched a brutal campaign of anti-Semitic propaganda. Though endowed with near-dictatorial control of the media--film, radio, press, and the fine arts--Longerich's Goebbels is a man dogged by insecurities and beset by bureaucratic infighting. He feuds with his bitter rivals Hermann Göring and Alfred Rosenberg, unsuccessfully advocates for a more radical line of "total war," and is thwarted in his attempt to pursue a separate peace with the Allies during the waning days of World War II. This book also reveals, as never before, Goebbels's twisted personal life--his mawkish sentimentality, manipulative nature, and voracious sexual appetite. A harrowing look at the life of one of history's greatest monsters, Goebbels delivers fresh insight into how the Nazi message of hate was conceived, nurtured, and disseminated. This complete portrait of the man behind that message is sure to become a standard for historians and students of the Holocaust for decades to come. Praise for Goebbels "Peter Longerich . . . has delved into rarely accessed material from his subject's diaries, which span thirty years, to paint a remarkable portrait of the man who became one of Hitler's most trusted lieutenants."--The Daily Telegraph Praise for Heinrich Himmler "There have been several studies of this enigmatic man, but Peter Longerich's massive biography, grounded in exhaustive study of the primary sources, is now the standard work and must stand alongside Ian Kershaw's Hitler, Ulrich Herbert's Best and Robert Gerwarth's Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich as one of the landmark Nazi biographies. As the author of a celebrated study of the Holocaust, Longerich is better able than his predecessors to situate Himmler within the vast machinery of genocide. And he brings to his task a gift for capturing those mannerisms that are the intimate markers of personality."--London Review of Books "[An] excellent and comprehensive biography."--The New York Review of Books

  26. 4 out of 5

    Liedzeit

    This is a scholarly work of history and maybe not intended for the layman. Longerich obviously knows his subject and the writing is not bad at all. But all in all the book did not leave a good impression on me. I would expect from a lengthy biography about a well-known figure of the Third Reich that it illuminates either the man or the times, ideally both. At least, a book such as this should create the illusion that one understands a little bit more than before. (This is something that the This is a scholarly work of history and maybe not intended for the layman. Longerich obviously knows his subject and the writing is not bad at all. But all in all the book did not leave a good impression on me. I would expect from a lengthy biography about a well-known figure of the Third Reich that it illuminates either the man or the times, ideally both. At least, a book such as this should create the illusion that one understands a little bit more than before. (This is something that the Hitler biographies of Fest and Bullock for example accomplished.) The only attempt of explanation is that we are told that Goebbels war narcissistic. Now, this really is just a word and no explanation at all. You might just as well explain Einstein by saying he was narcissistic. So, Goebbels was proud of his work and he thought that he could do things better than anyone else (except the Führer). So what? It is a lengthy book with more than 700 pages (plus supplements). But in covering 20 years it seems not nearly detailed enough. Mayor events are just mentioned in passing. Assassination attempt on Hitler? ("the events of the 20th July..."). I would have liked at least for a couple of events to have some kind of spotlight. E.g. the burning of the books. We get a couple of lines. But what made Goebbels initiate it? What did he try to accomplish? How did they evaluate the risks involved? What did he expect the foreign nations would react. His own people. How, in fact, did they react? Longerich gives us nothing at all. The same about the Progrom night. Or the Olympic games. That was a propaganda coup of first magnitude. How did they plan it? And I could mention many points where I just did not get the information I expected. Concentration camps are hardly mentioned at all. When where they established? Who was sent there? We do not learn how many people left Germany, e.g. scientists, and not only Jews. Did Goebbels and the other top Nazis really believe in a German science? Was the anti-semitism really based on racism? How did he feel about being responsible for committing the biggest crime in history? What did his mother say? Joseph, you are a good boy, but why are you so nasty towards Jews? Or: I am proud that you are getting rid of them? Goebbels was responsible for propaganda thru the whole history of the Third Reich. How effective was he? How does he compare to others? Did he really invent new forms of propaganda? Longerich is not interested in these questions. On a personal level. We are told about every new car he bought. But what about his art collection, for example. Is it really true that he had paintings of Nolde in his house? The only thing I really learned from the book is that Goebbels was apparently much less involved in political decisions than I thought. That he was not the big womanizer I thought he was when in power. (Only one mistress according to Longerich.) That he was even more dependant on Hitler than I thought. But having spent more than 30 hours reading this book it feels like I have wasted time. I should have read (part of) the diaries instead. I am a strong believer in books. But a couple of months ago I saw a three-hour documentation on Himmler on TV and that made a much deeper impression on me. Anyway, at least he made me curious about German history again and I will maybe read the Kershaw Hitler biography next. One last thing: I read the English translation which was okay, except that I found it rather irritating to have "Gleichschaltung" translated as "coordination". In the English Wikipedia it is not translated and I think one should use the German word. Like you say Führer, not Leader when talking about Hitler.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Terri Wangard

    What do you know of Joseph Goebbels, besides him being propaganda minister for Nazi Germany, making shrill, bombastic speeches glorifying Hitler and Nazi ways, attacking anything or anyone in disagreement. He and his wife murdered their five children and then committed suicide to follow Hitler in death. But who was he? Peter Longerich has written an illuminating biography of the man who is one of the most recognized faces of the Nazi Party. Reading Goebbels: A Biography can be quite aggravating. What do you know of Joseph Goebbels, besides him being propaganda minister for Nazi Germany, making shrill, bombastic speeches glorifying Hitler and Nazi ways, attacking anything or anyone in disagreement. He and his wife murdered their five children and then committed suicide to follow Hitler in death. But who was he? Peter Longerich has written an illuminating biography of the man who is one of the most recognized faces of the Nazi Party. Reading Goebbels: A Biography can be quite aggravating. The garbage he spews is maddening: the utter nonsense that the Jews are responsible for the war, the propaganda attack on Deputy Police Commissioner Bernhard Weiss, the denigration of anyone who doesn’t agree with him. Goebbels wrote in his diary, “It doesn’t matter what we believe in, as long as we believe.” Some tidbits that I found enlightening: Goebbels was a narcissist who could only be satisfied if he was recognized and affirmed by others. In 1924, he found an idol in Adolf Hitler. Though Goebbels didn’t always agree with him, Hitler could always overcome Goebbels’ doubts and keep him in line. Hitler recognized Goebbels’ psychological dependence on him and took advantage of him. One of six children, Joseph Goebbels was born in Rheydt, west of the Rhine, in 1897. His father was a clerk, his mother a farmhand. He finished school at the top of his class. Despite money being short, he attended university, where he was a disinterested student spending more time with girls. World War I was going on, but he seemed unaware of it. Because of a club foot, he did not serve in the military. One of his girlfriends, Else Janke, was half Jewish. She started him in his lifelong habit of keeping a diary. During the time of chaos in the Rhineland after the war, Goebbels developed deep respect for Russia, and read extensively in Russian literature. He lost his Catholic faith, and saw himself playing a significant role in a complete cultural revolution. In 1924, he founded a local National Socialist group in Rheydt, which talked mostly of anti-Semitism. There was widespread hope for a leader to arise, bring them out of defeat, and back to honor. He became more and more anti-Semitic, even though Else was still his lover. “I’d love to make her my wife, if only she weren’t a half-breed.” He met Hitler on July 12, 1925, at a conference in Weimar. Goebbels was entranced. “What a voice. What gestures, what passion.” At a leadership meeting in February, 1926, Goebbels believed he could win Hitler over to his assessment of the Soviet Union, which was completely at odds with Hitler’s position. Instead, he was greatly disappointed, saying he no longer totally believed in Hitler. At their next meeting, Goebbels was completely overwhelmed by Hitler’s personality. The contents of Hitler’s Mein Kampf were less important than the prophecy and revelation of the master. Hitler was beyond criticism. In 1931, he met Magda Quandt. Their relationship was tumultuous. Hitler fell in love with her, causing Goebbels fits of jealousy. Hitler saw her as his ideal female opposite, and was disappointed Goebbels had spoken for her. Hitler approved of their marriage. A triangular relationship enabled him to develop an intimate relationship with Magda without harming her reputation. For Goebbels, it meant access to his idol. As propaganda minister, Goebbels saw his job as working on people until they accepted the Nazi influence. The new government intended to no longer leave people to their own devices. He advocated radical courses, yet he disliked crime films as “guides to crime.” All means used for the conquest of the masses were good. The mass demonstrations in Berlin for Hitler and the Nazi’s war efforts were perfectly choreographed to portray full confidence in victory and genuine enthusiasm for the war. Factories and shops were closed at noon and the employees were herded into position. He was not an easy man to work for. He loved making coarse jokes at the expense of underlings and humiliating them in the office. In 1936, Goebbels met Czech actress Lida Baarová. They became lovers. Goebbels wanted a ménage á trios with her and Magda. Magda complained to Hitler, Hitler demanded Goebbels break with Lida. Hitler also wouldn’t allow the Goebbelses to divorce. Goebbels: “Life is so hard and cruel.” Hitler told Goebbels on October 6, 1939, that war in the west should be avoided now that Poland had been dissolved. The reason for England’s and France’s declaration of war was null and void. They should accept Poland’s dismemberment as a fait accompli. The future was glorious. Germany had no interest in further border revisions. Hitler never involved Goebbels in most major domestic or foreign policy decisions. Goebbels was determined to play a pioneering role in anti-Semitic policy. He referred to the Nazi’s criminal behavior when he wrote, “When we’re victorious who will question our methods. We have done so many things that we must win because otherwise our whole nation, with us at the forefront with everything that is dear to us, would be eradicated.” He continually exhorted Germans to make ever more sacrifices, but kept his own opulent lifestyle. As Hitler withdrew from the public, Goebbels took on the role as the regime’s main orator. He tried to commit the nation to total war, but Hitler didn’t always go along with him, permitting entertainment magazines, reopening casinos, inadequate enforcement of labor conscription for women. To Goebbels’ consternation, Hitler failed to discipline leading Nazis for failure to comply with restrictions. By September of 1943, Goebbels began to realize the war couldn’t be won militarily. Much talk began about making a separate peace, sometimes with the Russians, sometimes with the western powers. Hitler believed Stalin’s intent of Bolshevizing Europe was Germany’s big opportunity. England and America couldn’t allow that to happen, but if they wanted to resist, they would need German assistance. Or since the Soviet Union was having very serious difficulties with the British and Americans, they could reach a deal with Stalin and then crush England with the most brutal energy. He believed the enemy coalition was about to collapse, and that would be Germany’s salvation. Goebbels suspected Hitler clung to fantasies about their defensive capabilities. He wanted to achieve personal recognition and success at any price. Even though he was increasingly critical of Hitler in 1945 and doubted his leadership ability, he still followed him in death, because life wouldn’t be worth living if Germany lost.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tom Garland

    Peter Lonferich's biography traces the rise and fall of Hitler's Communication chancellor who was largely responsible for creating horrific messages and communicating them to manipulate the German population during World War II. The book is meticulously researched from Goebbels recently translated diaries. For most people, I suspect this will be way too much detailed information. I was intrigued about his relationship with Hitler and equally as much his wife Magda's relationship with Hitler. Peter Lonferich's biography traces the rise and fall of Hitler's Communication chancellor who was largely responsible for creating horrific messages and communicating them to manipulate the German population during World War II. The book is meticulously researched from Goebbels recently translated diaries. For most people, I suspect this will be way too much detailed information. I was intrigued about his relationship with Hitler and equally as much his wife Magda's relationship with Hitler. Goebbels was constantly worried that his wife was having an affair with the Fuhrer. For good reason, they would spend lots of time alone when Goebbels was away. Goebbels consistently manipulated the truth to the German people so throughout the book I felt like his dairies would likely manipulate how he wanted people to view his role. He clearly was a world class narcissist. The best chapter in the book is the last when instead of a linear retelling of Goebbels life, author Longerich who I understand is a German academic professor appears to give his not so flattering opinion of Goebbels. History buffs will like this if they don't mind too much detail. Pass if you want a high-level overview.

  29. 4 out of 5

    AnnieM

    I finished it. It was well researched and written, but wow it was heavier than I expected. Ok I’ve read a lot on the beginnings for WWII, the people involved in WWII, even the Asian Theater of WWII. This guy, wow. This guy makes Hitler look mild by comparison. I’ve known Goebbels was evil, but the depths of his evil and double standards is just boggling. Thank goodness he was egotistical enough to write 32 volumes of diaries (not to mention the private papers, letters, and all the stuff he wrote I finished it. It was well researched and written, but wow it was heavier than I expected. Ok I’ve read a lot on the beginnings for WWII, the people involved in WWII, even the Asian Theater of WWII. This guy, wow. This guy makes Hitler look mild by comparison. I’ve known Goebbels was evil, but the depths of his evil and double standards is just boggling. Thank goodness he was egotistical enough to write 32 volumes of diaries (not to mention the private papers, letters, and all the stuff he wrote for the party) to really get a clear picture of this man’s hate for others. The most telling point so far is that after he started educating himself on Churchill he comments, “if he was prime minister in 1933 there would be no war.” I most certainly agree. This makes it easier to understand how an entire nation was sold this crazy idea of war, internment, and race purity. It also makes you sick at the process. We can’t forget.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ally Kumari

    In spite of being very wealthy on information I cannot give the book more than 3 stars. First reason is that the ammount of facts is extremely dense and wearies the reader out very quickly, secondly because while I learned a lot about what Goebbels did in his life, I still feel his personal life and his psyché were not presented well. Surely his relationship with Magda and his children, his mother and siblings, not to say other people around him, deserved more than an occasional passing mention. In spite of being very wealthy on information I cannot give the book more than 3 stars. First reason is that the ammount of facts is extremely dense and wearies the reader out very quickly, secondly because while I learned a lot about what Goebbels did in his life, I still feel his personal life and his psyché were not presented well. Surely his relationship with Magda and his children, his mother and siblings, not to say other people around him, deserved more than an occasional passing mention. This is an interesting and informative study, but definitely not the definite biography of the Nazi Arch-Liar I expected.

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