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By looking deeply into the Führer's childhood, war experiences, and early political career, this rigorous narrative seeks to answer this question: How did the early, defining years of Hitler's life affect his rise to power?

When Adolf Hitler went to war in 1914, he was just 25 years old. It was a time he would later call the "most stupendous experience of my life."

That war ended with Hitler in a hospital bed, temporarily blinded by mustard gas. The world he eventually opened his newly healed eyes to was new and it was terrible: Germany had been defeated, the Kaiser had fled, and the army had been resolutely humbled.

Hitler never accepted these facts. Out of his fury rose a white-hot hatred, an unquenchable thirst for revenge against the "criminals" who had signed the armistice, the socialists he accused of stabbing the army in the back, and, most violently, the Jews -- a direct threat to the master race of his imagination -- on whose shoulders he would pile all of Germany's woes.

By peeling back the layers of Hitler's childhood, his war record, and his early political career, Paul Ham's Young Hitler: The Making of the Führer seeks the man behind the myth. More broadly, Paul Ham seeks to answer the question: Was Hitler's rise to power an extreme example of a recurring type of demagogue -- a politician who will do and say anything to seize power; who thrives on chaos; and who personifies, in his words and in his actions, the darkest prejudices of humankind? 16 pages of color and B&W photographs

About the Author

Paul Ham

PAUL HAM is a historian specialising in war, conflict and politics. Born and raised in Sydney, Paul has spent his working life in London, Sydney and Paris.
His books have been published to critical acclaim in Australia, Britain, the United States and many other countries, and have won several literary awards.
His latest title is 'Young Hitler: The Making of the Führer', a new examination of how Hitler's youth influenced his rise to power (Penguin Random House UK and Australia/NZ, Pegasus USA and Objetiva Brazil) .
He has also written 'Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth', a new history of one of the worst conflicts on the Western Front; 'Hiroshima Nagasaki', a provocative history of the atomic bombings; '1914: The Year The World Ended'; 'Sandakan'; 'Vietnam: The Australian War'; and 'Kokoda'.
Paul has co-written two ABC documentaries based on his work: 'Kokoda', a 2-part series on the defeat of the Japanese army in Papua in 1942, shortlisted for the New York Documentary prize; and 'All the Way', a feature documentary about Australia's alliance with America during the Vietnam War, which he also narrated, and which received the UN's Media Peace prize.
A former correspondent for The Sunday Times, Paul has a Masters degree in Economic History from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He lives in Paris, with frequent trips to Sydney and London, and takes time off now and then to produce the Big Fat Poetry Pig-Out, an annual poetry recital, for charity.

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