The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler is an extremely well written biography of one of the most villainess humans, if that indeed is what he was, to ever have lived. Author James Cross Giblin received The Robert F. Siebert award for this book (the most distinguished informational book for the year 2003 according to the Association for Library Service for Children.)
Adolf Hitler was a monster disguised as a brilliant leader and this book tells the reader how the atrocities that he led and spurred on could happen. The author systematically follows his life, making clear to the reader how the social conditions mixed with Hitler's dynamic oratory skills blended together to create a dynamic force that, apparently and unfortunately, could not be stopped. The author gives information about his early life as an unhappy, struggling artist and moves on to his success as a soldier. His love for Germany was apparent even then. It moves on through his rise of power in his "heyday" and his eventual, much too deferred, death.
The author interjects interesting quotes that breathes life into the book, a book that unfortunately, has much to do about death. In the passages that pertain to book burning Giblin majestically quotes a nineteenth-century German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine whose own works went up in Hitler's flames. It states, "Where they burn books, in the end they will also burn people." Scary? Yes. Prophetic? Yes. And a well placed and appropriate quote used by the author. His quotes throughout the work add a dimension that enables the reader to gather a deeper meaning and comprehension than if the quotes were not there. His prolific use of photographs, political cartoons and maps adds interest and depth to the text as well.
The Holocaust as well as WWII are addressed as they pertain to the man of Hitler, but Giblin doesnt get sidetracked and stray from the focus of the book. The reader can't help but gain knowledge on issues that surround World War II. Without going into too much detail he is able to cover the basis of what happened, how Hitler fit into the whole ugly picture.
As a young man he was a lover of the arts, opera, paintings, pets and such. It is hard to imagine how Hitler could become a vicious killer and dictator. The two seem to be such opposites. In the end he was simply a madman. His mental faculties still are a mystery and always will be. This book can never tell the true mind of the man who is responsible for taking so many lives and capable of gathering so many faithful, adoring followers. When this impossibly strong man, yet cowardly in a suicidal death, died he took all his secrets to Hell.
School Library Journal had this to say about the book: "The most complete and successful biography of the Fuhrer." And Children Literature says this: "This is a wonderfully researched and carefully written work. Giblin has a strong feel for his subject matter and presents a thoughtful profile of the late Nazi ruler."
It's a good book on a bad man.
Giblin, James Cross. 2002. THE LIFE AND DEATH OF ADOLF HITLER. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN: 0-398-90371-8.
Critics quotes taken from Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=2WA2BZWTUB&sourceid=00406217247595598781&bfdate=11%2D08%2D2003+06%3A51%3A07&isbn=0395903718&itm=1