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Hitler's Alpine Retreat [Hardcover]

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Item description for Hitler's Alpine Retreat by James Wilson...

The Nazis had no equals at ferociously exploiting new methods of reaching the general population with their political message. The humble postcard became in the 1930's a powerful tool for winning the hearts and minds of the German people. In this unique book James Wilson demonstrates, using 270 original German postcards from his personal collection, how Hitler's obsession with the beautiful and normally peaceful Bavarian mountain area of Berchtesgadener Land was used to project a powerful but totally misleading image of this most evil regime.

Haus Wachenfeld, the simple Alpine cottage purchased by Hitler in 1933, evolved to become the Berghof, the Southern headquarters of the Third Reich, and second only to Berlin in terms of importance.

Hitler's Alpine Retreat offers an extraordinary atmospheric opportunity to view the landscape, buildings (mostly now long disappeared) and close associates of the Fuhrer. Each of the superb contemporary images records a unique moment of history which would otherwise have been lost forever.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.6" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   1.5 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Publisher   Casemate
ISBN  1932033459  
ISBN13  9781932033458  

Availability  0 units.

More About James Wilson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Wilson has been actively involved in working with indigenous North Americans for 25 years. He is a recipient of a Ford Foundation grant and a member of the executive committee of Survival, which campaigns for indigenous peoples of the world.

James Wilson was born in 1949.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > Europe
2Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Germany > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Hitler's Alpine Retreat?

A fascinating study of the use of postcards as propaganda  May 4, 2008
A unique and remarkable book, Hitler's Alpine Retreat by James Wilson succeeds by any measure in meeting his two stated objectives: It offers the reader a thorough history of Hitler's estate in the Obersalzburg Mountains in Bavaria, and it convincingly demonstrates just how effective the Nazis were at using the ordinary postcard as an effective propaganda tool.

With nearly 270 reproductions of period cards as well as a few of his own present-day photographs, Wilson helps the reader understand the development and layout of the Berghof and its surrounding area. He does an excellent job of enabling the reader to form a truly cohesive image of the structure so that it is possible to get a real sense of what it was like to live there. By offering succinct comments on the aesthetic qualities of the postcards, Wilson further shows the care that went into producing these cards which were distributed by the millions throughout Germany to promote the image Hitler.

To those who would dismiss this sort of book as being "only" about a house, Wilson--through his intelligent choice of postcards--shows just what the estate and its stunning location meant to the Bavarian corporal and how the estate undoubtedly played a role in forming his image of Germany and of himself. By pointing out the beauty and--one is loathe to admit it--the glamour of the house and its environs, Wilson also helps us understand how this building shaped the image of der Führer in the eyes of the German people.

Given how much time Hitler spent here, our knowing something about the Berghof seems essential to our understanding of the psyche of the man. This volume is a superb view of the place that a most evil person liked to call home. Highly recommended.
Finally a Non-Hysterical Photo Collection of Hitler  Jul 16, 2007
Probably the best collection of Hitler photos you could add to your personal library in this price range.

Includes scores of photos of the Fuehrer with children, and signing autographs. Also of his dogs. One of the Fuehrer on the telephone, which is unusual. For the first time, I saw that Hitler sat at his desk so that he was facing toward the mountain on the Austrian border, and kept a large picture of his mother on the Wall in that same direction (and not a small photo on the desk as at other headquarters).

The text and background information is first-rate.

Since most of the photos are by personal photographer Hoffman, this photo collection may be similar to those published in the original Hoffman book (Hitler and His Mountains), which is far more expensive (and scarce).

This author created a masterpiece of research and organization in this one.

It is particularly striking to see the original 1930's postcard photo and then a modern photo of the same site or building taken in 2004!

Highly recommended!
Images of beauty masking evil  Jun 27, 2007
Fascinating photos showing the changes in Hitler's Bavarian retreat over time and how the site looks today. Chilling to see pictures of innocent children, beautiful scenery, and a relaxing environment while knowing the evil that lurks below the surface.
The Obersalzberg Area  Feb 25, 2006

I recently ordered a copy of this book and read it as soon as it arrived. It was not what I anticipated but it in many other ways exceeded anything I could have expected.

I expected some color photos in the book, as matter of fact, there are none. I expected an in depth study of the area around Bavaria and the border of Germany with Austria. What I got was a book organized around a German postcard collection. Once I began to focus my attention on what was there, the book began to have interest. I feel there are other books that would give me more of what I desire, and today I ordered a couple.

This book, however, is a very worthwhile book, giving information and illustration to the postcard industry that flourished in Germany shortly before WWII and also into the war. This is an industry of which I've been aware, but had seen only one other book composed around postcards of the Luftwaffe, and as it turns out it was by this very same author.

Though I would recommend this book to any serious reader of WWII subjects, I would also caution that what we view here are not objective photos, but were pre-planned to offer the best affect from Joseph Goebbel's propaganda machine. These postcards were not published for history, cannot be accepted as history, but were set forth to show a staged performance for and to the German people. And it worked, as the book shows clearly hundreds, and thousands, made their way to this area to view their beloved leader. What they saw was what the N.S.D.A.P wanted them to see, and the surrounding area eventually became a veritable one populated with Hitler's subalterns. Men such as Goering and Bormann also had homes in that area, with Bormann giving the previous owner the choice taking money for the home, or going to a concentration camp. The wise doctor took the money! Many other complexes began to surround Hitler's Berghof in order to be near the center of government, for at times Hitler spend up to six months at a time at the Obersalzberg home.

What a couple other reviewers mention here, I also noted: the author though not sympathetic to the Nazis, certainly is alittle too respectful of them for my taste. One example early on, the allies heavily bombed the entire complex a few days before the war ended. The author seems to think that was not necessary, with that I differ: the war was still ongoing and these were legitimate targets to me, as the thinking was that arms and underground troops could be in these mountains for a last ditch/last stand. One of the reasons several authors state for Eisenhower to swing south away from Berlin, was the fear that partisans would stage a last stand in this Bavarian area. I find this author's view that the Nazis should have escaped the bombing rather strange. Though Patton laughed at the idea of the "werewolves" being in the area, Eisenhower took it very seriously.

But this book overall is a very educating one for anyone interested in the change of the area from peacetime 1930's through the war years even into the postwar years. As another reviewer stated, those few photos from 2004 are very handy to compare what once was and what now is. So, finally, if one has any interest in the Obersalzberg or Berghof (Haus Wachenfeld) or "Eagle' Nest" (Kehlsteinhaus) or the Bavarian alps this book can hardly disappoint.

Semper Fi.
Through the Looking Glass  Dec 7, 2005
The other reviewers told you all about the postcards and the approach of the book, so I'll skip that. Yes, Wilson is a postcard collector and yes, he's got some interesting stuff here, but I've got some problems with his style. While he's not writing an apologia for Hitler and the Nazis, I could readily see this book on the night tables of the world's neo-nazis, skinheads, holocaust deniers, and their ilk. This is, simply, too much of a warm-fuzzy approach to one of history's most vicious mass murderers and the individual more responsible than any other for the catastrophe of the Second World War. Wilson's language is strange, too; while some small parts of the book (postcard captions, etc.) were certainly translated from the German, too many other portions of the text seem as though translated from a foreign tongue as well. There's a clumsiness here that a careful editor could have eliminated. There is no denying that this book provides a rare look into the private life of one of the most influential men of the 20th century. Yet the strains of "Springtime For Hitler" from "The Producers" seem to resonate on its pages as Hitler is painted in an inapropriately sympathetic light. This was no "misuderstood nice guy who befriended deer and other animals and delighted in the company of children." First, last, and always, he wanted to conquer the world and either murder or enslave everyone who (like himself, oddly enough) didn't fit in with the idealized Nazi image of the "Master Race." So, yes, Hitler had a country house on a mountain and an inside look is interesting, but no amount of propaganda -- even if regurgitated (either purposely or by circumstance) between the covers of this book -- can sweeten the bitter legacy of the Nazi state. The house may have been a home, but thank God the landlord's dead.

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