Books on Hitler - Nazi Germany
June 28, 2009 2:05 PM   Subscribe

I just finished reading Hunting Eichmann and am wondering if any MeFites could recommend any other popular nonfiction books on Nazi Germany, Hitler, war criminals, etc. I don't do huge tomes well (400 pages or less!). The only other books I have read are MAUS and Explaining Hitler. Thanks for your input. So much out there...don't know where to begin. Probably the more well known the better as they may be available at my library.
posted by snap_dragon to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Father/land: a Personal Search for the New Germany. American-born journalist Frederick Kempe, as an adult, learns of his father's connections to the German-American Bund, and his uncle's career as a Nazi War criminal; includes examination of post-war German attitudes towards Nazis and Jews, and Jewish attitudes toward post-war Germany, and reflections on the weltanschauung of post-war Germany.

While not directly about Hilter or Naziism, highly recommended for putting das Dritte Reich into perspective.
posted by orthogonality at 2:32 PM on June 28, 2009

Diary of Anne Frank
Schindler's List (originally published as Schindler's Ark)
Mein Kampf
posted by Houstonian at 2:43 PM on June 28, 2009

While it exceeds your 400 page maximum, a book I read years ago and found enormously informative was "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William L. Shirer. It is very readable and was a bestseller in its day.
posted by PickeringPete at 2:52 PM on June 28, 2009

I found The Bunker, about Hitler's very last days, fascinating.
posted by JeffL at 3:39 PM on June 28, 2009

I have a masters in European history, German history focus. I'm gonna ignore your page limit and suggest Joachim C. Fest's Hitler.

I'd steer clear of both Hitler's Willing Executioners and Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Both are polemics that obscure more than they reveal.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:48 PM on June 28, 2009

All Honorable Men by James Stewart Martin 1950

Germany’s Master Plan - The Story of an Industrial Offensive by Joseph Borkin and Charles A. Welsh 1944,

The Nazis Go Underground by Curt Riess 1944,
down loadable books here
posted by hortense at 4:15 PM on June 28, 2009

The Nazis - A Warning From History - Also a tv series.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:22 PM on June 28, 2009

War Diaries of Marie Vassiltchikoff by a aristo refugee from the Russian revolution who wound up working in the German Foreign Ministry, which was a hot bed for the members of the Canaris conspiracy. Fascinating. (Her sister Tatiana von Metternich was married to Paul von Metternich and wrote a bunch of works, some available in English.)

Similarly, see also Christabel Bielenberg's When I Was a German.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:23 PM on June 28, 2009

Seconding Shirer's book. Don't let the size intimidate you; a readable 1200-page book will seem shorter than a dry 300-page treatise.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:46 PM on June 28, 2009

Ian Kershaw is one of the foremost scholars on the subject, and I'd recommend him highly. He wrote an excellent biography of Hitler, but also just came out with a new book gathering together many of his most important essays and writings: Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution.

I'll echo the warning on Hitler's Willing Executioners - it is very polemical and has been widely discredited. Read Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning instead, which is a much better analysis of the same data.

Eichmann in Jerusalem is also a must read.
posted by susanvance at 6:15 PM on June 28, 2009

Check out "Murderers Among Us" by Simon Wiesenthal. He talks about hunting Nazis in the 1950's, including discovering the identity of the man who arrested Anne Frank's family. But most of all, he talks about the terrible apathy he faced from almost everyone as he continued trying to bring crimes and criminals to light.
posted by Asparagirl at 9:10 PM on June 28, 2009

Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands by Richard Overy
posted by Rangeboy at 10:17 PM on June 28, 2009

I'm recommeding a few books which describe events that are not widely known:

"Escape from Sobibor" by Richard Rashke is a book about an uprising at a concentration camp (Sobibor) that led to the escape of many prisoners. (There is also a made-for-TV film which may or may not be available at a popular video platform online.) One of the youngest people involved with the uprising was Thomas Toivi Blatt who also wrote two books on the subject: "Sobibor - the Forgotten Revolt" and "From the Ashes of Sobibor - A Story of Survival".

"Night Trains" by Barbara Wood and Gareth Wootton describes how an entire town was saved from the Nazis by staging a typhus epidemic. It's based on real events, and the real doctor's name is Eugene Lazowski.
posted by amf at 10:47 PM on June 28, 2009

They say the Shirer is essential, in its weighty way, but he also wrote the much shorter Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler, for young people -- worthwhile if you can get a copy.
posted by Rash at 12:04 AM on June 29, 2009

I keep recommending Hitler's Beneficiaries because it has a very sober analysis of the Nazi welfare state and its unsustainable basis in extortion, plunder and murder.
posted by themel at 1:07 AM on June 29, 2009

In my opinion, Albert Speer's Inside the Third Reich is unbeatable.
posted by SamuelBowman at 9:00 AM on June 29, 2009

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