Monday, July 27, 2015

Goebbels: A Biography by Peter Longerich

I'm guessing everyone knows about WWII and Hitler and Nazi Germany, but how many people here have heard of Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda? I found his name familiar, but whether he was in my history textbook or not is something that I'd completely forgotten. So it's safe to say I went into this book not knowing anything except that this guy was supposed to be a pretty high ranking Nazi member.

Like the title says, this is a biography. Using Goebbel's diaries as a starting point, Peter Longerich carefully goes through his life, from his failed attempt at being a writer, to meeting Hitler, to becoming Minister of Propaganda, and to his death. The diaries aren't the only source though - Longerich refers to many, many other sources (about 20%, or close to 220 pages out of 990 of the e-ARC I received would be the bibliography) and does a comprehensive job of showing how Goebbels diaries are not a good source of accurate information.

Goebbels was basically a narcissist who was used by Hitler. He keeps boasting about how close he was, but odds are, if he didn't have a pretty wife that Hitler liked, he wouldn't have progressed as far. He wasn't even as successful as he liked to think he was either. He was basically used to the very end. Seriously, once you get past halfway through the book (or maybe even earlier), you can see the pattern of Hitler using him over and over again.

If you're looking for a detailed look into the life of Joseph Goebbels, this is probably the book for you. I can think of several history-buff friends of mine that would probably life this book. It's not a light read, but if you read to the end, you'll probably have learnt more than you wanted to know about Goebbels (unless you're doing a paper on him, then I suppose you'll be referring to this book a lot).

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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