Personality and Power: Builders and Destroyers of Modern Europe (Hardback)Ian Kershaw (author)
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Through a series of searching profiles of twentieth century leaders the eminent historian and author of Hitler analyses how both totalitarian states and democracies have relied on charismatic figureheads to achieve their ends.
The modern era saw the emergence of individuals who had command over a terrifying array of instruments of control, persuasion and death. Whole societies were re-shaped and wars fought, often with a merciless contempt for the most basic norms. At the summit of these societies were leaders whose personalities had somehow given them the ability to do whatever they wished.
Ian Kershaw's new book is a compelling, lucid and challenging attempt to understand these rulers, whether operating on the widest stage (Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini) or with a more national impact (Tito, Franco). What was it about these leaders and the times they lived in that allowed them such untrammelled and murderous power? And what brought that era to an end? In a contrasting group of profiles (Churchill, de Gaulle, Adenauer, Gorbachev, Thatcher, Kohl) Kershaw uses his exceptional skills to think through how other, strikingly different figures wielded power.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 512
Weight: 714 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 38 mm
Few historians are better qualified to answer these questions than Ian Kershaw ... As always, he proves a splendid miniaturist, expertly sketching personalities and philosophies in a few coolly judged lines ... If Kershaw's book has a contemporary lesson, it is that societies are probably happiest and healthiest when leaders matter least. -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times *
Sir Ian Kershaw, the great (in both senses) biographer of Adolf Hitler, makes an important contribution to this debate ... persuasive and nuanced pen-portraits ... well-researched, well-written and thought-provoking. -- Andrew Roberts * Daily Telegraph *
Lucid portraits of the leaders who shaped Europe's 20th century ... There is much to be admired in Kershaw's cogent and astute analysis. -- Orlando Figes * The Observer *
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