Many, many books have been written about Hitler, and the deluge continues, but still he remains an enigma.
Surely there must have been more to him than a street orator and rabble rouser who struck lucky with the surges of history on his road to total power in Germany.
Among the many books, few set out to analyse his crucial earlier years.
How widely read was he, and how intellectually endowed?
Was he really the marginalised figure in his youth that his critics would have us believe?
What about his friendships before he turned into a monster?
What was his role in the First World War and what effects did it have on him
What was his promise as an artist and why did it fail?
All these and other questions are answered, in a way likely to change our attitudes in assessing the man, in a book that really probes under the skin of his younger self in extraordinary psychological depth.
This is Young Hitler by Claus Hant, published by Quartet Books.
It makes compulsive reading for anyone interested in historical facts as opposed to easy explanations based on preconceptions.
Hitler’s evil deeds are not to be ignored, but nor are the reasons that drove his rise to political dominance and his obsession with turning the German people into a ‘pure’ Aryan superpower, to control the European continent and regions beyond.