Speer: The Final Verdict

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9780151005567: Speer: The Final Verdict

Albert Speer is the great Enigma of Nazi Germany. Before he was thirty he had become Hitler¿s architect. Soon he was building the new Reich¿s Chancellory and had transformed the Nuremberg rallies with his `cathedrals of light¿ and gift for stage management. In 1942 Hitler appointed him his Armaments Minister and Speer quadrupled German arms production, keeping the German Army in the field and prolonging the war.

Joachim Fest examines all the phases of Speer¿s life and work. Precisely because of Speer¿s contradictions, Fest sees him as representative of the mood and susceptibilities of the German people of the time. In this brilliant and persuasive book Fest argues that Albert Speer¿s life helps to explain how Germany broke with its traditions in 1933 and descended so far into crime and barbarism.

This book is a crowning achievement for the writer who pioneered a new school of biographical writing in the 1960s with his Face of the Third Reich and his masterly Hitler biography, which has become a classic.

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Review:

Joachim Fest remains one of the most acute chroniclers of the dark period of history that is Nazi Germany, and this fastidious study of the Reich's greatest architect is a monumental achievement. What particularly distinguishes the book is the author's even-handedness regarding Speer and his work; as with Leni Riefenstahl, the important distinction between the genius of the work and the ambiguous relationship of the creator with monumental evil is handled with sensitivity. Speer remains an enigma: before he was 30, he had become Hitler's architect, and had transformed the Nuremberg rallies with his 'cathedrals of light' and his gift for stage-management. His spell as armaments minister quadrupled German arms production and may be said to have prolonged the war. There are those who point to his never being part of the Fuhrer's inner circle, while historians such as Hugh Trevor-Roper have described him as 'the true criminal of Nazi Germany'. As a picture of a complex man working in a monstrous regime, this is both compelling and dispassionate.

Book Description:

The last word on Albert Speer, by Joachim Fest, the greatest historian of the Third Reich and the editor of Speer¿s memoirs, Inside the Third Reich, a worldwide bestseller.

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