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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (575 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sebastian Haffner Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2015 ISBN: 9781504627337
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When the famous German author Sebastian Haffner died at age ninety-one in 1999, a manuscript was discovered among his unpublished papers that offers a compelling eyewitness account of the rise of Hitler and Nazism. He describes the country’s inflation and the political climate that contributed to Hitler’s rise to power and also examines the pervasive influence of such groups as the Free Corps and the Hitler Youth movement that swept the nation. He elucidates how the average educated German grappled with a rapidly changing society, while chronicling day-to-day changes in attitudes, beliefs, politics, and prejudices.

A major bestseller in Germany, Defying Hitler is an illuminating portrait of a time, a place, and a people.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A short, stabbing, brilliant book…It is important, first, as evidence of what one intelligent German knew in the 1930s about the unspeakable nature of Nazism, at a time when the overwhelming majority of his countrymen claim to have known nothing at all.  And, second, for its rare capacity to reawaken anger about those who made the Nazis possible.”

    Sunday Telegraph (London)

  • “An electrifying discovery.”

    Die Zeit (Hamburg)

  • “Sebastian Haffner was Germany’s political conscience…this is a memoir of frightening relevance today.”

    Stern (Germany)

  • “The most important book of the year.”

    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • “Unsurpassable…Wonderfully written…There is an exceptional literary power in what he writes…Haffner’s brief autobiography is replete with historical insights, expressed with a lightness of touch and a literary verve.”

    Literary Review (UK)

  •  “A remarkable account…Deserves a wide readership elsewhere in the world.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “A small masterpiece.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mara | 2/10/2014

    " This is an excellent book. And an important book. I would not have read it if it was not a book club selection but I am so glad I did. If you have ever wondered how Hitler came to power and why no one stopped him, read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gabriel Schoenfeld | 1/26/2014

    " If Sebastian Haffner provides rich food for thought about basic historical issues surrounding Nazi Germany, he does much more besides, inviting readers to enter his own poignant inner life as he fought a losing battle against the encroachments of a state that left no crevice of the private realm untouched, and that called upon individuals not simply "to surrender but to renege." This book is a minor unfinished masterpiece. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mackenzie | 10/26/2013

    " This is one of the most intriguing books I've ever read. It gives some really unique insights into the common German citizen's reaction to Hitler's rise to power and the internal conflicts many of them experienced. Well-written, first-person narrative from someone who experienced it himself. I HIGHLY recommend it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Benedict Reid | 9/5/2013

    " Interesting artefact. But not really a good book in itself. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matt Barker | 7/28/2013

    " I expected quite a bit more from this book, but this to me seemed more like a priviliged individual that while he did not agree with Hitler and his policies, he didn't really do anything to fight against it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anthony | 6/24/2013

    " Journal from a man who lived in Hitlers Germany, very bright thinker, I recommend all his books. This one was his first and reads like an novel/autobiography. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill Parr | 5/22/2013

    " Outstanding. Shows how we need to learn from History's mistakes. Also how evil can come to power if citizens don't pay attention. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicki | 10/19/2012

    " One of the first books for European History I genuinely looked forward to reading. Incredibly interesting and personal. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lotte | 10/7/2012

    " A unique perspective among the WWII-era books I have read. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Natalie | 2/27/2012

    " I love this book and have read it twice. It's beautifully and powerfully written "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Godowd | 2/12/2012

    " Excellent book for those wanting to hear from the people who had to live under the nazi regime. It was not all a bed of roses ... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth Wahtera | 10/22/2011

    " This memoir of growing up in Germany as Hitler was coming into power offers a remarkable first-person story. It should be required reading for us all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexandra | 10/4/2011

    " Really liked it, wish I could control the amount of time I spent reading more... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doreen | 4/21/2011

    " Die Geschichte zwischen den Kriegen kommt oft viel zu kurz. Dieses Buch hingegen macht neugierig auf Zeitdokumente und Hintergründe. Außerdem ein Lesevergnügen weil der Autor mit den Worten gut jonglieren kann. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mara | 3/21/2011

    " This is an excellent book. And an important book. I would not have read it if it was not a book club selection but I am so glad I did. If you have ever wondered how Hitler came to power and why no one stopped him, read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaeti | 3/4/2010

    " haha the review they offer for this book has absolutely nothing to do with the book. I am so confused, like not even remotely the correct book... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matt | 2/28/2010

    " I expected quite a bit more from this book, but this to me seemed more like a priviliged individual that while he did not agree with Hitler and his policies, he didn't really do anything to fight against it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wolfgang | 1/18/2010

    " Mein Lieblingsbuch zu historischen Themen.
    My favorite history book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 12/16/2009

    " Outstanding. Shows how we need to learn from History's mistakes. Also how evil can come to power if citizens don't pay attention. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claus | 10/9/2009

    " "Defying Hitler..." is a ridiculous translation of the German title. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 9/21/2009

    " Written before the war by a German youth and his struggle to deal with the rise of terror. It shows how somthing so horrific could come to be and how hard it was to resist... "

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About the Author
Author Sebastian Haffner

Sebastian Haffner (1938–1999) was born in Berlin. In 1938 he emigrated to England where he began writing for the Observer. He returned to Germany in 1954 and became the bestselling author of, among other works, The Rise and Fall of Prussia, From Bismarck to Hitler, and The Meaning of Hitler.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with fifty-eight Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.