cover image Hitler


Albert Marrin. Viking Children's Books, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81546-3

Chairman of the history department at Yeshiva University, Marrin avoids both psychobabble and outrage as he discusses the childhood influences and failures as a young adult (including an aborted painting career) that led to Hitler's destructive, racist personality. He also provides an accurate account of Hitler's heroics as a soldier in World War I, where he came to love war, and the qualities that helped him transform the Nazi Party from a handful of beer-hall quacks into a totalitarian movement. But the wartime section often repeats erroneous conventional interpretations (for example, that Allied bombing of Germany cut back production of Nazi war material), and there are some factual errors, especially regarding Soviet historyfor example, the Bolsheviks overthrew Kerensky and the Provisional Government, not the Tsar. Marrin also has a tendency to give half-explanations, as when he explains that ""Barbarossa''the code name for the Nazi invasion of Russiameans ``redbeard'' but not that it refers to Frederick Barbarossa, the 12th century emperor. Despite these problems, the book is a useful, enlightening study of what created Hitler the madman, and a passable introduction to the events of World War II. Ages 12-up. (June)