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Goebbels: Mastermind Of The Third Reich
by David John Cawdell Irving
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From Publishers Weekly
This is a repellent book, and not only because of its subject. Irving (Goering) has been increasingly under fire for exploiting seemingly indefatigable research to distort history. In the book in hand, he uses enough pejoratives to sustain the illusion of objectivity regarding Hitler's propaganda chief, yet suggests that the admittedly bad man had a cause not entirely bad in itself. Nazi brutality is almost always retaliation for the plots of international Jewry and the criminality of domestic Jews. Even the books notoriously burned are "decadent and anti-German." The term Redakteur (editor) "to Goebbels' sensitive ear had a Jewish ring." Protesters in Saarbrucken are "a clamoring ragbag of communists, Jews, freemasons and disgruntled emigres." There is always, in Irving's own words, a "Jewish problem" that Goebbels struggles to solve. Much of the book, heavily indebted to the self-serving Goebbels diaries, is in such a vein. There seems always to be an agenda to Irving's documentation, and the language of camouflaged admiration suffuses his pages amidst his ritual scolding of the Nazis for their excesses. The real insidiousness of the biography is that its formidable documentation will gain it acceptance as history. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This latest work by Irving (Goring: A Biography, LJ 3/1/89) depends heavily on Goebbels's diaries and related papers. Unfortunately, the diaries are boring. Goebbels devoted much of his journal to describing his emotions (banal), love life (promiscuous), and marriage (dysfunctional). At its best, this aspect of the book is keyhole history. Far more troubling is Irving's general approach to the history of the Third Reich. He takes pains to insist periodically upon his distaste for Goebbels's Nazi extremism, but to describe Hitler as "less radical on the Jewish question" in 1942 than was Goebbels is to deny reality. Paradigmatic as well is Irving's insistence that Goebbels's vicious attacks on Jews in the 1930s were in response to the "hysteria" generated by the foreign press, the Comintern, and such dangerous "Jewish" organizations as the World League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism. In contrast, Irving offers no new evidence establishing Goebbels as the Reich's "mastermind." He neglects such important subjects as the sources of Goebbels's anti-Semitism, his development of the theories and techniques of mass propaganda, and his role as wartime Gauleiter of Berlin. Ralf Reuth's Goebbels (Harcourt, 1993) offers readers a more balanced approach. [For a discussion of the controversy surrounding the publication of this book, see "To Buy or Not To Buy?" p. 70.]?Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Spring.
-?Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A ponderous, tedious, and scurrilously misleading biography of a major Nazi leader--by a fellow traveler, if not a card-carrying member, of the movement of Holocaust denial. With access to some 75,000 pages of Goebbels's diaries, which had long been spirited away in Soviet archives, British author Irving (Gring: A Biography, 1989; Hitler's War, 1977; etc.) had the unprecedented opportunity to gain insight into the mind of Hitler's minister of propaganda. Instead, Irving inundates the reader with the personal foibles (including amorous liaisons and a love for cars) of a rather mediocre intellect and with a blizzard of details that, along some selective omissions, obscure the truth rather than shed light on it. Some of the details insinuate that the Jews brought on themselves such events as Kristallnacht; others seek to rehabilitate Hitler's reputation. Whatever happened to the Jews in WW II (and Irving doesn't state clearly what did happen) was the doing of Goebbels and Hitler's other henchmen. ``Goebbels was the motor, goading his reluctant Fhrer into ever more radical actions against the Jews.'' And: ``Neither the broad German public nor their Fhrer shared his [Goebbels's] satanic antisemitism.'' (For a different view of the German people, see a genuinely revisionist piece of history, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners, p. 195.) Irving lectures for the Institute for Historical Review, a center of Holocaust denial in this country, and has been banned from entering Germany and Canada, among other countries, because of his Holocaust denial. But here Irving is more cunning than to blatantly state that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. He simply says that the death camp was ``the most brutal of all Himmler's slave-labor camps and the one with the highest mortality rate''--glossing over the corpses and the memory of 6,000,000 dead. These twisted interpretations of the leader of the Third Reich and his crimes do not deserve to be called history. (Military History Book Club main selection) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
About the Author
A professional historian of noted distinction, David Irving has researched and written about the Third Reich with passionate insight for many years. His first book, "The Destruction of Dresden", was just one of several startling international bestsellers, which include "Churchhill's War" and "Hitler's War".
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