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. For it was here, behind the glittering curtain of artistic creativity, liberalism and prosperity, that the architect of the Holocaust was born. 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 siecle Vienna and paints the fullest and most disturbing portrait of the young Hitler to date - the genesis of the most terrifying dictator the world has ever known.
Brigitte Hamann is an award-winning German historian based in Vienna. The success of her first book, a biography of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, led to others, most notably biographies of Hitler, Winifred Wagner and Empress Elisabeth of Austria, which was named Historical Book of the Year in DAMALS history magazine in 2005. In the same year she won the Concordia Preis in recognition of her work.