With the aid of many thousands of pages that Goebbels wrote chronicling events that transpired from Hitler's early times, though the years in which the Nazi party grew, and finally to the last days in the Bunker, Longerich presents a thorough step by step of the life and times of Joseph Goebbels. He postulates that Goebbels was "driven by an exceptional craving for recognition by others. He was positively addicted to others’ admiration." The author's averment is substantiated through a survey of actions Goebbels's took as propaganda minister of the Third Reich. The extent to which he controlled other people and enterprises was extraordinary. That he considered himself a favorite of the crowds, however, appears to have been a figment of his imagination--one fed by the media that praised him--the same media he controlled. The author concludes that Goebbels was "a narcissistically disturbed personality." By virtue of the passages Longerich shares from Goebbels's own chronicles, the assertion is utterly believable.
I was not surprised by the lengths to which Goebbels, and the Nazi party as a whole, were willing to go to grasp and to maintain control over others. The lawlessness, the willingness to manipulate, the falsehoods readily told--then just as readily "believed" by those telling the stories--is legendary. Even so, it is remarkable to read these things in Goebbels's own words. Also, I was not surprised by the "closeness" of the Goebbels family to the Fuhrer himself. Once again, however, when Longerich compares Goebbels's words with the reality of events at the time (based on other historic accounts and records), Goebbels clearly exaggerated the true extent of his relationship with Hitler. (Having said that, one can only wonder at the connection between Goebbels's wife, and Hitler.) All told, this work was a massive undertaking, one worthy of the attention of historians, the simply curious, and those dedicated to act as watchdogs with regard to any leadership, anywhere, at any time. The media has a sacred duty to seek out and to disclose truth--not to use its position to fashion events, to support a particular ideology, or to "cheer" for a designated "team." Take note media moguls: without a free, unfettered, and honest media, we cannot have a free and unmolested people. If you do not exercise your freedom when it is essentially unencumbered, you may well lose the ability to exercise it ever again . . .