Joseph Goebbels by Curt Riess


Well, it is a biography of Joseph Goebbels, what else can you say?

In a nutshell:

I liked it:  x Yes       No

For people who are: interested in history, the Third Reich, National Socialism, WWII

My thoughts: 

To my disgrace I have to confess that I knew next to nothing about Joseph Goebbels, except for that he was in charge of the Nazi propaganda. I don’t remember how I even came across this book but when I decided to read about WWII for the One, Two, Theme challenge I added it to my list.

I got a German edition from 1950 (the book was published first in 1949), it is also available in various English editions. Curt Riess is a German-born journalist who emigrated 1933 to the US and worked as a war correspondent for the US Army. He published this biography in 1948 after researching documents he found in post-war Germany and interviewing relatives, friends and employees of Goebbels.

I can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but it did keep me reading on and on. I finished it within a week, but read other things in between, as the whole story is rather hard to digest. The war itself is only mentioned “in passing” as Goebbels himself had rather little to do with the operational, military side of things. Also the known atrocities are only talked about on a few occasions, like for example when he was asked whether it was true that concentration camps existed and he – “after checking back” – answered that there was no such thing.

I would think that all the material Riess used must be fairly unspoilt and fresh as it was collected directly from remains of the propaganda ministry or from people who knew Goebbels personally and rather well.

There are a lot of quotes from Goebbels writings that show a glimpse into what he was really thinking and how he managed to be such a convincing devil’s advocate even in cases where he personally did not believe in what he was preaching.

If you are only slightly interested in the Third Reich and in one of its key figures, this is a must read.

Product info and buy link :

Title Joseph Goebbels
Author Curt Riess
Publisher Ballantine Books
Buy link Buy Joseph Goebbels: A biography


Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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