This book is not a biography of Hitler, although much of the details of his life come into it, so much as a portrait of various scholars and activists who have tried to make sense of his life -- from magisterial historians to Jewish champions and a Holocaust denier or two. Rosenbaum not only discusses their theories, but interviews them, so that the reader gets a sense of their personal backgrounds and feelings about one of the most maddening and mysterious figures of world history. He doesn't pass obvious judgment on any of them -- just lets them say their piece, which sometimes means letting them hang themselves. The book manages a marvelous, near-perfect balance between narrative and theory, speculation and investigation, philosophy and psychology, character portraits and historic background.
This report prepared by David Loftus