Fest describes in riveting detail the final weeks of the war, from the desperate battles that raged night and day in the ruins of Berlin, fought by boys and old men, to the growing paranoia that marked Hitler’s mental state, to his suicide and the efforts of his loyal aides to destroy his body before the advancing Russian armies reached Berlin. Inside Hitler’s Bunker combines meticulous research with spellbinding storytelling and sheds light on events that, for those who survived them, were nothing less than the end of the world.
German journalist and historian Fest (Hitler: A Biography) has penned another admirable study of Nazi Germany that focuses on the final, cataclysmic days of Hitler's Third Reich in the F hrer bunker beneath Berlin. Four factual chapters chronicle events as reconstructed by reliable eyewitness reports and interviews. They are complemented by four reflective chapters that look at the "deeper meaning" behind those events. Reprising a theme from his Hitler biography, Fest describes his subject essentially as a supreme nihilist. The destruction in the final weeks of the war, engendered by Hitler's obstinate refusal to end the fighting long after defeat was certain, gave him, according to Fest, a "greater sense of satisfaction" than any of his early victories. The tragic devastation was further compounded and abetted by the "inculcated obsequiousness" of Hitler's entourage and leading generals, who did little or nothing to stop him. While there are no surprising revelations, Fest does synthesize a daunting body of research obtained from disparate, if sometimes dated, sources into an accessible narrative. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/03.]-Edward Metz, Combined Arms Research Lib., Ft. Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.