cover image AT HITLER'S SIDE: The Memoirs of Hitler's Luftwaffe Adjutant, 1937–1945

AT HITLER'S SIDE: The Memoirs of Hitler's Luftwaffe Adjutant, 1937–1945

Nicolaus Vonbelow, Author, Geoffrey Brooks, Translator, Nicolaus Von Below, Author , trans. from the German by Geoffrey Brooks. Greenhill $34.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-85367-468-6

Originally published in 1980 in von Below's native Germany, this English translation is sure to become an important memoir for those studying the Nazi war machine. In 1937, von Below was a 20-year-old pilot when he was selected by Hermann Goering to be the Luftwaffe's adjutant on Hitler's personal staff. Von Below held this position and was near Hitler most of the time until he fled Berlin in the waning days of April 1945, the last of Hitler's staff to escape the doomed bunker. Written without his diaries and notes, which were lost in 1945, von Below's memoir will be most enticing for military historians studying the strategic thought of Hitler and his generals. He chronicles the repeated controversies between Hitler and his generals on all aspects of the war—the Russian front, matériel production, tactical objectives and future plans. Hitler's continued anger with Goering over the Luftwaffe's ineffectiveness in protecting the Reich from Allied bombing is readily apparent, as are the arguments over holding ground on the Russian front. The Hitler who emerges from these pages is a wise, perfectly rational war leader betrayed by others who failed to do his bidding. This view alone will make for great controversy. Von Below also states that he never heard a word about the concentration camps or the liquidation of European Jews, a claim that seems dubious at the very best. After a bomb meant for Hitler exploded on July 20, 1944, von Below claims that Hitler seemed to sense the Reich's fate. The memoir ends abruptly, with notes added throughout by the translator to clarify or identify factual errors. Despite the editors' efforts, Holocaust deniers may still use the memoir for fodder. 45 photos not seen by PW. (Sept. 30)