Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939 by Volker Ullrich
Given his status as arguably the most despised political figure in history, it is surprising that there have only been four serious biographies of the Führer since the 1930s. Perhaps even more surprisingly, his biographers have been more interested in how he came to power and how he exercised his leadership than in Hitler the person.
Yet to render Hitler as a political animal with no personality to speak of, as a man of limited intelligence and poor social skills, does little to explain the spell that he cast not only on those close to him but on the German people as a whole. In the first volume of this magisterial biography, Volker Ullrich sets out to correct our perception of the Führer. While charting in detail Hitler’s life from his childhood to the eve of the Second World War, Ullrich unveils the man behind the public persona: his charming and repulsive traits, his talents and weaknesses, his deep-seated insecurities and murderous passions.