Adolf Hitler was born in Austria in April 1889, and shot himself in a bunker in Berlin in April 1945 with Russian soldiers beating at the door, surrounded by the ruins of the country he had vowed to restore to greatness. Adolf Hitler: The Curious and Macabre Anecdotes - part biography, part miscellany, part historical overview - presents the life and times of der Fuhrer in a unique and compelling manner. The early life of the loner son of an Austrian customs official gave little clue as to his later years. As a decorated, twice-wounded soldier of the First World War, through shrewd manipulation of Germany's offended national pride after the war, Hitler ascended rapidly through the political system, rousing the masses behind him with a thundering rhetoric that amplified the nation's growing resentment and brought him the adulation of millions. By the age of 44, he had become both a millionaire with secret bank accounts in Switzerland and Holland, and the unrivalled leader of Germany, whose military might he had resurrected; six years later, he provoked the world to war.
Patrick Delaforce's book is a masterly assessment of Hitler's life, career and beliefs, drawn not only from its subject's own writings, speeches, conversation, poetry and art, but also from the accounts of those who knew him, loved him, or loathed him. The journey of an ordinary young man to callous dictator and architect of the 'Final Solution' makes for provocative and important - thought not always comfortable - reading.
Patrick Delaforce served as a troop leader in Normandy with the Royal Horse Artillery of the 11th Armoured Division. Hitler's Wehrmacht blew him up with their mines in Holland, and he was again wounded by a rifle grenade on the banks of the River Elbe. He was with the first battle group into Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945, was twice mentioned in despatches, and was awarded the Bronze Cross of Orange-Nassau. In autumn 1945 he served on a War Crimes Tribunal in Hamburg and tried many concentration camp guards. Finally, he was an official British Army of the Rhine witness when Mr Albert Pierrepoint, the British hangman, executed 13 convicted war criminals in Hameln on 13 December 1945.