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Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death

Toby Thacker (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Cover of the book by Toby Thacker about Joseph Goebells.

Joseph Goebbels was the most notorious demagogue of the twentieth century, and Hitler’s closest confidant. This book uses his complete diary from 1923–1945, only recently released from the former Soviet Union, and a wide range of other sources, to present a challenging new interpretation of his life. It charts Goebbels’ rise from provincial obscurity in the Rhineland, through his emergence as the most dynamic speaker of the Nazi Party and the Gauleiter of Berlin in the 1920s, to his appointment as Hitler’s Propaganda Minister in 1933. Combining analysis of Goebbels’ relationships with women and of his political career, it argues that there were clear threads running through his life, from a turbulent adolescence through to his death. Goebbels’ love of German culture, his obsession with ‘sacrifice’, his fascination for Hitler, and his hatred of the Jews led him into a fatal involvement with German politics which cuminated in his suicide, together with his wife and six children, in Hitler’s bunker in 1945.

Toby Thacker, PhD (2001) at Cardiff University, is a Lecturer in Modern European History