L.S. Klepp
October 15, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Hitler's Niece

Current Status
In Season
Ron Hansen
Fiction, Historical Fiction

We gave it an A

Hitler and his niece, Angelika ”Geli” Raubal, were living in the same Munich house when she was killed by a bullet fired from his pistol in September 1931. Geli, a lively, witty young woman, was no Nazi and had been restive under Hitler’s increasingly domineering obsession with her. After her death, ruled a suicide, he said she had been the only woman he would ever love. Was there a sexual relationship? Was Geli actually murdered because the affair, if made public, would have derailed his rise to power? In Hitler’s Niece, Hansen’s attempt to solve the mystery approaches melodrama. But the incidental detail accumulates into a brilliant, chilling account of the way psychological deformity and historical chance propelled Hitler and his confederates toward triumph.

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