Documentary producer Taylor takes the view that Adolf Hitler was less a mastermind than a feckless agitator, discovered and molded by racists and chauvinists into the symbol of a New Order, in this fast-moving narrative history. In his telling, the 1918–1919 revolution that led to the end of the German monarchy and the adoption of the Weimar constitution was defined and informed by German Jews like Kurt Eisner and Ernst Toller. It was just successful enough to generate violent right-wing opposition. He portrays Hitler as an initially minor rabble-rouser who the radical right-wing movement became increasingly willing to use as a front. A second coup, the 1923 “Beer Hall Putsch,” failed spectacularly, but it gave Hitler a forum: the courtroom in which he was presented as Germany’s man of destiny. He played the role well enough, Taylor suggests, to be offered the lead in a right-wing national drama. But his becoming head of state despite being underestimated by other conservatives calls into question the thesis that others “made” him. Even so, Taylor puts forth his narrative in an accessible and engaging style. Agent: Jeff Ourvan, Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/23/2018 Release date: 06/05/2018 Genre: Nonfiction
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