What turned Adolf Hitler, a relatively normal and apparently unexceptional young man, into the very personification of evil? To answer this question, acclaimed historian Brigitte Hamann has turned to the critical, formative, years that the young Hitler spent in Vienna. As a failing, bitter, and desperately poor artist, Hitler experienced only the dark underbelly of Vienna, which was seething with fear, racial prejudice, anti-Semitism and conservatism. Drawing on previously untapped sources—from personal reminiscences to the records of shelters where Hitler slept—Hamann vividly recreates the dark side of fin de siècle Vienna and paints the fullest and most disturbing portrait of the young Hitler to date.
"A fascinating and impressive book... Hitler's Vienna serves as a prologue to the inhuman." -- George Steiner, Times Literary Supplement
"A virtuoso piece both of research and exposition...Brigitte Hamann is an author of great flair, as well as being thorough, scholarly, and thoughtful." -- Robert Evans, Oxford University
"Carefully argued and smartly written… Hamann's deep knowledge of Vienna and her skeptical approach to previous sources results in a double-sided portrait that will help readers to understand both the dual monarchy and WWI and the Third Reich and WWII." -- Publishers Weekly
"The world needs another Hitler biography like it needs another squirrel, but his one is different and worth the effort.... Hamann paints a fascinating picture of the events and readings that shaped the young Hitler. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal
"A valuable social history of Vienna's netherworld and an attempt at explaining Hitler's anti-Semitism. We get a meticulous portrait of everyday life in the artistically and philosophically modernist metropolis. Hamann concludes that Vienna's fin-de-siecle malaise was a critical ingredient in the madness that became Nazi Germany." -- Kirkus Reviews