Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler's most loyal acolytes. But how did this club-footed son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler's malevolent minister of propaganda, most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor?
In this definitive one-volume biography, renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record - and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels's own diary entries - to answer that question. Longerich paints a chilling picture of a man driven by a narcissistic desire for recognition who found the personal affirmation he craved within the virulently racist National Socialist movement - and whose lifelong search for a charismatic father figure inexorably led him to Hitler.
This comprehensive biography documents Goebbels' ascent through the ranks of the Nazi Party, where he became a member of the Fuhrer's inner circle and launched a brutal campaign of anti-Semitic propaganda. Goebbels delivers fresh and important insight into how the Nazi message of hate was conceived, nurtured, and disseminated, and shreds the myth of Goebbels' own genius for propaganda. It also reveals a man dogged by insecurities and - though endowed with near-dictatorial control of the media - beset by bureaucratic infighting. And, as never before, Longerich exposes Goebbels's twisted personal life - his mawkish sentimentality, manipulative nature, and voracious sexual appetite.
This complete portrait of the man behind Hitler's message is sure to become a standard for historians and students of the Holocaust for decades to come.
Peter Longerich is Professor of Modern German History at Royal Holloway University of London, and founder of Royal Holloway's Holocaust Research Centre. He has published extensively on Nazi Germany, including the acclaimed biography Heinrich Himmler, Holocaust: The Nazi Murder and the Persecution of the Jews and The Unwritten Order: Hitler's Role in the Final Solution.