Adolf Hitler’s makeover from rabble-rouser to statesman coincided with a series of dramatic home renovations he undertook during the mid-1930s. This provocative book exposes the dictator’s preoccupation with his private persona, which was shaped by the aesthetic and ideological management of his domestic architecture. Hitler’s bachelor life stirred rumors, and the Nazi regime relied on the dictator’s three dwellings—the Old Chancellery in Berlin, his apartment in Munich, and the Berghof, his mountain home on the Obersalzberg—to foster the myth of the Führer as a morally upstanding and refined man. Author Despina Stratigakos also reveals the previously untold story of Hitler’s interior designer, Gerdy Troost, through newly discovered archival sources.
At the height of the Third Reich, media outlets around the world showcased Hitler’s homes to audiences eager for behind-the-scenes stories. After the war, fascination with Hitler’s domestic life continued as soldiers and journalists searched his dwellings for insights into his psychology. The book’s rich illustrations, many previously unpublished, offer readers a rare glimpse into the decisions involved in the making of Hitler’s homes and into the sheer power of the propaganda that influenced how the world saw him.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For all of those who have only seen the one side of Hitler, represented in popular media, this book will be a real eye-opener.
I was greatly impressed with this book. The author could have chosen to go a lot of different ways with this, and I have great respect for the route she chose. I felt, whilst reading this, that she chose to remain as impartial as possible. Rather than trying to make the audience see the softer side of this man, or try to paint him in an overall different light, she let the facts and historical documentation speak for itself. Neither making him look bad, nor good, just–human.
I was surprised to read much of this book, as I had not realised before what an important role his homes had played in his life. Nor had I realised what a big part of his life Gerdy Troost was. I found the chapter on what happened to her after the fall of the Reich fascinating.
This book allows the reader inside a private world of long ago, and offers them the chance to see first hand the insecurities, nuances and personality quirks of one of history’s most infamous men.
There are many photos that I have not seen elsewhere, and a lot of information that was more than just a simple repeat. If this is a subject that interests you, you can’t go wrong with this book.
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley.