The Third Reich proves Lord Byron's maxim that truth is stranger than fiction. Hitler's mania made the Reich surreal. This book documents his neuroses, charisma, ruthlessness, and "storybook" rise to power. It's alarming that an astute psychopath with acting ability became an absolute dictator in a modern European state. German political naivety contributed to his miraculous ascent. During election campaigns between 1927 and 1933 Hitler posed as an anti-Communist savior, while concealing his real agenda of war, genocide, and quack "eugenics."
The Surreal Reich closely examines all leading Nazis. It shows how Hitler had different sets of favorites at various times. Dietrich Eckart, Rudolf Hess, and Ernst Rohm in the early years; Hermann Goering and Josef Goebbels through the middle period, then Heinrich Himmler and Martin Bormann from 1939 to 1945.
Nazism's heyday occurred during an era of supposed progress. Yet escalating war casualties in that "enlightened age" tell a different story. 620,000 people died in America's Civil War, only 5% of them civilians. World War I caused approximately 16 million fatalities. Most of the 5 million non-combatants succumbed from starvation or Spanish Influenza. World War II resulted in 60 million deaths, 52% of them civilians. One warped "idealist" sparked that fruitless orgy of destruction: Adolf Hitler.