Takeover: Hitler's Final Rise to Power (Hardcover)

Takeover: Hitler's Final Rise to Power By Timothy W. Ryback Cover Image
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From the internationally acclaimed author of Hitler’s Private Library, a dramatic recounting of the six critical months before Adolf Hitler seized power, when the Nazi leader teetered between triumph and ruin

In the summer of 1932, the Weimar Republic was on the verge of collapse. One in three Germans was unemployed. Violence was rampant. Hitler’s National Socialists surged at the polls. Paul von Hindenburg, an aging war hero and avowed monarchist, was a reluctant president bound by oath to uphold the constitution. The November elections offered Hitler the prospect of a Reichstag majority and the path to political power. But instead, the Nazis lost two million votes. As membership hemorrhaged and financial backers withdrew, the Nazi Party threatened to fracture. Hitler talked of suicide. The New York Times declared he was finished. Yet somehow, in a few brief weeks, he was chancellor of Germany. 

In facinating detail and with previously un-accessed archival materials, Timothy W. Ryback tells the remarkable story of Hitler’s dismantling of democracy through democratic process. He provides fresh perspective and insights into Hitler’s personal and professional lives in these months, in all their complexity and uncertainty—backroom deals, unlikely alliances, stunning betrayals, an ill-timed tax audit, and a fateful weekend that changed our world forever. Above all, Ryback details why a wearied Hindenburg, who disdained the “Bohemian corporal,” ultimately decided to appoint Hitler chancellor in January 1933. Within weeks, Germany was no longer a democracy.

About the Author

TIMOTHY W. RYBACK has written on history and politics for more than three decades. He is the author of Hitler’s Private Library, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and The Last Survivor, a New York Times Notable Book. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and the Financial Times. He is cofounder and director of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation, in The Hague.

Praise For…

“How does a flawed republic become something entirely different? We know how the Nazi regime ended, but think too little about how it began. This admirable account shows us how fragile and avoidable were those beginnings, and helps us to reflect upon our own predicaments." –Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny

"An expert account of the dizzying months when Hitler solidified his power in Germany... A masterfully narrated story of how a democracy committed suicide, with lessons for today." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Timothy W. Ryback’s choice to make his new book, Takeover... an aggressively specific chronicle of a single year, 1932, seems a wise, even an inspired one. Ryback details, week by week, day by day, and sometimes hour by hour, how a country with a functional, if flawed, democratic machinery handed absolute power over to someone who could never claim a majority in an actual election... Democracy doesn’t die in darkness. It dies in bright midafternoon light... Precise circumstances [in history] never repeat, yet shapes and patterns so often recur." –Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

 "[A] riveting blow-by-blow account of the six months leading up to Adolf Hitler’s January 1933 appointment as Germany’s chancellor....[A] propulsive narrative... [with] a chilling climax. It’s a dire and remarkably astute depiction of how fickle and contingent the forces of history can be."Publisher's Weekly, starred review*

"That history is not as inevitable as most might believe forms an unsettling undertone throughout the book.... Takeover is startlingly relevant history, well-wrought and splendidly researched, that reveals how democracies can die democratically."Peggy Kurkowski, Shelf Awareness

"Timothy Ryback has written an engrossing clock-ticker of a narrative about the behind-the-scenes machinations and open politicking that vaulted Hitler and the Nazi party to power. Nothing was inevitable about their triumph, and plenty of contemporary observers were caught off-guard by it, as Ryback shows to chilling effect. The relevance to authoritarianism today is urgent and unmistakable.Takeover is a vital read for anyone who cares about the future of democracy." –Margaret Talbot, staff writer, The New Yorker

"If you ever thought that history is only moved by big, sweeping forces, whether of economics or creed or nature itself, think again. In this riveting, intimate account of the final months in Hitler's rise to power, Tim Ryback makes it plain that simple luck, bald ambition and fallible human hearts can be drivers of earth-changing events. Focusing on the crucial personalities at the pinnacle of politics in the very twilight of Weimar Germany, and drawing on a wealth of primary sources, from diaries to gossip columns to newsreels, he shows that Hitler's capture of the German state did indeed in large part represent a triumph of the Führer's own perverse will. But Ryback also reveals the extent to which the petty scheming, petty jealousies, petty prejudices and sheer exhaustion of the other 'men in the room' opened a path to calamity." –Max Rodenbeck, Berlin bureau chief, The Economist

“Tim Ryback tells a grippingly important tale. His meticulous detailing of the dramatic days before Hitler assumed power make for salutary reading in our times. Will the tragic failure of civil courage and political will be repeated – Germany, 1933, America 2024? It’s hard not to imagine.” – Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593537428
ISBN-10: 0593537424
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: March 26th, 2024
Pages: 400
Language: English

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