The Lost Life of Eva Braun

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Macmillan, Jan 9, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 495 pages
3 Reviews

Eva Braun is one of history’s most famous nonentities. She has been dismissed as a racist, feathered-headed shop girl, yet sixty-two years after her death her name is still instantly recognizable. 

            She left her convent school at the age of seventeen and met Hitler a few months later.  She became his mistress before she was twenty. How did unsophisticated little Fraulein Braun, twenty-three years his junior, hold the most powerful man in Europe in an exclusive sexual relationship that lasted from 1932 until their joint suicide? Were they really lovers, and what were the background influences and psychological tensions of the middle-class Catholic girl from Munich who shared his intimate life? How can her ordinariness and apparent decency be reconciled with an unshakeable loyalty to the monster she loved?  

            She left almost no personal material or documents but her private diary and photograph albums show that her life with Hitler, far from being a luxurious sinecure, caused her emotional torture. His chauffeur called her “the unhappiest woman in Germany.”  The Führer humiliated her in public while the top Nazis’ wives, living in his privileged enclave on a Bavarian mountainside, despised her. Yet Albert Speer said: “She has been much maligned. She was very shy, modest. A man’s woman: gay, gentle, and kind; incredibly undemanding . . . a restful sort of girl. And her love for Hitler---as she proved in the end---was beyond question.”

            Eva loved the Führer, not for his power, nor because, thanks to him, she lived in luxury.  His material gifts were nothing compared with the one thing she really wanted:  his child.  She remained invisible and unknown, a nonperson. They were never seen in public together and she never saw him alone except in the bedroom, yet their long relationship was a sort of marriage. 

            Angela Lambert reveals a woman the world never knew until the last twenty-four hours of her life. In the small hours of April 29, 1945, as Allied troops raced to capture Berlin and the bunker below the Reichskanzlei where the defeated Nazi leaders were hiding, Eva Braun finally achieved her life’s ambition by becoming Hitler’s wife. Next day they both swallowed cyanide and died instantly. She was young, healthy, and thirty-three years old. 

            Based on detailed new research, this is an authoritative biography, only the second life of Eva written in English.

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The lost life of Eva Braun

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

While hundreds of books have explored Hitler's life, only one in the English language-Nerin E. Gun'sEva Braun: Hitler's Mistress -has heretofore studied Eva Braun. Lambert (Unquiet Souls: The Indian ... Read full review

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I am quite surprised at the negative reviews, both here and elsewhere, about this book.
I found it an easy, page turning read; not at all heavy-going despite copious annotation and footnotes, which
not only confirmed for me that the author had done her research, but were interesting additions in themselves. I agree with the general criticism of the way in which Lambert tries to weave her own family history into the narrative and draw parallels - that doesn't work at all, and I'm still not sure why the author attempted to do it, as Eva Braun is more than enough to fill the pages.
Some say this book brings nothing new to the table, and on that I disagree. By making Braun the focus, we get a new perspective on Hitler, and on what life was like inside the Nazi 'inner court.' I also thought the telling of those last days in the bunker was expertly done and amongst the most moving I have ever read. Again, by shifting the focus from Hitler to Braun the author has given us another aspect to the events that have been written about so often we almost know them by heart.
It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it was mine. 4 out of 5
 

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About the author (2007)

Angela Lambert was born to a German mother and an English father and grew up bilingual. From 1947–50 she lived in Germany and met her surviving German relatives for the first time, though they never talked about their experiences in wartime Hamburg. She read philosophy, politics, and economics at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford and worked as a civil servant, journalist, and TV reporter until 1998. Her first book, Unquiet Souls: The Indian Summer of the British Aristocracy, 1880–1918, was one of three shortlisted for the 1986 Whitbread Prize. This is her tenth book and first biography. 

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