Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth by Gitta Sereny

August 2018

A masterful account of a troubling, intriguing man. I was previously floored by Into That Darkness, and Gitta Sereny astounded me once again here with her ability to dig deep into the mind/heart/soul of someone accused of terrible crimes and get them to admit their wrongdoing. (Or not. Or kind of.) This book covers Albert Speer’s entire life, from his unhappy childhood to his sudden death in London in 1981, with the bulk of it focusing on the Nazi era and then the 20 years Speer spent in Spandau prison. It describes how someone can almost unconsciously slip into doing evil, and how people can force themselves to not see or acknowledge the things that would make them question their deeds. Beyond Speer, the book offers fascinating insights into the strange power that Hitler held over those around him - not as an excuse for what people like Speer did, but as a way of filling in some of the blanks regarding how the Holocaust could have happened. If you have any interest in World War II, National Socialism and the Holocaust - or, more generally, in the nature of evil and the nature of humanity - I cannot recommend this book (and Into That Darkness) highly enough.

Further reading…