Peter Padfield


A biography of Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS Gestapo, concentration and extermination camps who oversaw for Hitler the programme of genocide of the Jews euphemsed as the 'f9inal solution'.

Book Details:

  • Author: Peter Padfield
  • Published Year: 2001
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Cassell
    • Poland: Iskry
    • Spain: La Esfera de Los Libros
    • Hebrew: Sifriat Ma'ariv
    • Hungary: M-Ertek
Peter Padfield

Peter Padfield

Peter Padfield was born in 1932 and educated at Christ's Hospital. After service as a navigating officer in P&O liners, he gained a berth as a mariner aboard the replica seventeenth century Mayflower on her recreation of the Pilgrim Fathers' voyage and later panned for gold in the disused gold mines on Guadalcanal. He described his time in the Pacific and the Mayflower voyage in his first book The Sea is a Magic Carpet.Returning to Britain, he worked in nautical journalism and in manufacturing industry until the international success of The Titanic and the Californian encou...
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Book Reviews

  • "Padfield writes clearly, and, judging from Himmler's reference notes and bibliography, it is apparent that his research is thorough and his knowledge of his subject encyclopedic. The reader can be assured that this book contains all the facts that he could possibly want to know about Himmler, who was one of the four or five most powerful men in the Third Reich..."
    Anthony Storr, Dimensions
  • "Peter Padfield's book on Heinrich Himmler is the first solid and readable account of Heinrich Himmler's place and purpose as the most destructive of the Nazi leaders. It is a fine piece of historical work."
    Telford Taylor, US Chief of Counsel for War Crimes Office, 1946-49
  • "It can be no easy job writing the life of a monster like Himmler...Mr Padfield has convincingly sifted the evidence while steering clear of the pitfalls. His is a black biography, as black as the uniforms of Himmler's praetorian guard, the SS..."
    Giles Macdonogh, Weekend FT
  • "...Padfield is a writer of great power. The scenes he paints of what the SS did in its 'police' role, and in the camps, where it reflected most clearly the effect of unfettering Himmler's mish-mash of café Stammtisch racialism, half-educated conspiratorialism, thwarted sexuality, locker-room machismo and wagon-lit philosophy, are as graphic and horrible as our imaginations can grasp, a hell on earth more terrible than any medieval artist or Calvinist theologian could depict."
    Donald Cameron Watt, The Sunday Times
  • "For this massive biography Peter Padfield has painstakingly documented all that we need to know about the architect and overlord of the Nazi empire of terror. It is not, as Padfield readily admits, a work of original scholarship. There are no interviews with Himmler's surviving intimates, and no startling new facts are unearthed. Nevertheless, Padfield has methodically read through a mass of material, organised the salient details and told the story with just the right historical objectivity, leavened with an understandable revulsion for his subject."
    Nigel Jones, London Magazine
  • "At the end of the week it took me to read Peter Padfield's life of this unlikely mass murderer I found myself reaching for the mouthwash. I shudder to think how Padfield himself must have felt after reputedly spending five years of his life peering into Himmler's diaries, letters, speeches and file notes, but the result, the first full-scale biography of the Reichsführer-SS, as well as being, I think, the most accurate life of any of the Nazi leaders, is also the most chilling portrait of evil that I have ever read."
    Philip Keer on Book Choice, Channel 4 TV