Himmler: Reichsfuhrer-SS

Peter Padfield, Author Henry Holt & Company $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8050-1476-1
Impeccably documented, compulsively readable, this is the first full-length biography of the most powerful and coldblooded of Hitler's lieutenants. Before his suicide in 1945 Himmler had ruled the SS and Gestapo, directed the death camps in Poland, headed German intelligence services, and run the slave-labor system in the Reich. He also was responsible for pseudo-medical experiments in the death camps. Delving into the family background and upbringing of this terrible yet strangely ordinary man, Padfield analyzes the master-race theories that inspired Himmler and comes impressively close to explaining how a priggish, idealistic Bavarian boy turned into history's most ruthless slaughterer. Buttressed with excerpts from diaries, letters and speeches, the author examines each phase of Himmler's life in detail. Padfield describes, for instance, how Himmler expanded Hitler's personal bodyguard (the original SS) into an all-embracing empire within the Nazi state used to terrorize party hierarchy as well as occupied Europe. The book sheds light on Himmler's 11th-hour attempt to make a separate peace with the Allies, and on the details of his final hours. A powerful and horrifying narrative by the author of Donitz: The Last Fuhrer. Photos. Military Book Club selection. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
Paperback - 656 pages - 978-0-8050-2699-3
Hardcover - 673 pages - 978-1-56731-118-1
Paperback - 672 pages - 978-0-304-35839-7
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