This is the definitive book on the Hitler trial in English, German, or any language.
-Peter Ross Range, author of 1924:
The Year That Made Hitler
Longlisted for thE JQ-Wingate PRIZE
AND the Cundhill History Prize
On the evening of November 8, 1923, the thirty-four-year-old Adolf Hitler stormed into a beer hall in Munich, fired his pistol in the air, and proclaimed a revolution. Seventeen hours later, all that remained of his bold move was a trail of destruction. Hitler was on the run from the police. His career seemed to be over.
The Trial of Adolf Hitler tells the true story of the monumental criminal proceeding that followed when Hitler and nine other suspects were charged with high treason. Reporters from as far away as Argentina and Australia flocked to Munich for the sensational, four-week spectacle. By its end, Hitler would transform the fiasco of the beer hall putsch into a stunning victory for the fledgling Nazi Party. It was this trial that thrust Hitler into the limelight, provided him with an unprecedented stage for his demagoguery, and set him on his improbable path to power.
Based on trial transcripts, police files, and many other new sources, including some 500 documents recently discovered from the Landsberg prison record office, The Trial of Adolf Hitler is a gripping true story of crime and punishment - and a haunting failure of justice with catastrophic consequences.
"Thought-provoking . . . The Trial of Adolf Hitler provides a textbook example of how a determined demagogue can turn a defeat into victory. It is also a disturbing portrait of how an advanced country can descend into chaos and of the human cost that this chaos entails. Mr. King's gripping description of the failed coup includes glimpses of malign characters who would one day cast their evil shadows over Germany and Europe."
-Frederick Taylor, Wall Street Journal
"A gripping, almost minute-by-minute narrative . . . The Trial of Adolf Hitler is impeccably researched and engagingly written, and succeeds in bringing the fraught, chaotic nature of the event to life."
-Roger Moorhouse, The Times (London)
"Vivid . . . offer[s] startling insights into aspects of Hitler and Nazism that have been previously under-reported."
-Nigel Jones, The Spectator
“David King has spent years researching the minutiae of the story to unmask past errors and assumptions, and he does so with consummate skill.”
-Richard Overy, Literary Review
"A book as captivating as it is well researched and scholastically precise."
-The New Criterion, Critic's Notebook
"The early criminal trial that could have stopped Hitler's rise . . .New York Times-bestselling author King brings that early trial vividly to life. He shows in this deeply insightful, compellingly written narrative how Hitler turned an early legal setback into a platform for his vicious demagoguery -- and a short prison sentence into a political launching pad."
-The National Book Review
"An astute work of scholarship and vivid narrative . . . A meticulously researched, deeply instructive work with great relevance for our current era of right-wing resurgence."
-Kirkus (starred review)
"An exciting account of the failed putsch of 1923 and the trial of the Nazi leader . . . one of the most attractive books of the new season in the narrative genre."
-Jacinto Antón, El País, Babelia (Spain)
"There are 639 pages full of rigor, exhaustiveness, and a terse and brilliant prose that turns the historiographic work into a story ornamented with literary displays."
-Raúl Conde, El Mundo (Spain)
"A masterly work."
-Manuel P. Villatoro, ABC (Spain)
"A splendid account of narrative history . . . [King] has documented and analyzed the trial with surgical precision."
-Jordi Amat, La Vanguardia (Spain)
"The moment that Hitler passed from buffoon to Führer . . . Kaleidoscopic."
-Anna Abella, El Periódico (Spain)
"King recounts with vibrant rhythm the failed putsch of 1923 and the subsequent trial. Hitler entered the courtroom as a pathetic sight and left with the aura of a leader . . . Resonating in King's words are echoes of Primo Levi and Hannah Arendt. It is recommended to read the three these days."
-Luis Mauri, El Periódico (Spain)
"It is likely that the most decisive and forgotten time in the biography of the great villain of history was recorded on April 1, 1924 [The Verdict in Adolf Hitler's trial] . . . The American historian David King reconstructs the whole case in a thorough and vibrant way with great detail. And his sentence is much stronger than that of the Munich judges."
-David Barreira, El Español (Spain)
"A magnificent story of more than 600 pages, which deserves the highest rating for being the most complete so far on this historical fact, and it will be difficult to match. David King, a top-notch historian, makes a brilliant, detailed, rigorous and very documented story. In short, an absolute recommendation without ambiguity.”
-José María Manuel García-Osuna Rodríguez,
Todo Literatura (Spain)
"The Trial of Adolf Hitler brilliantly and conscientiously reconstructs both the attempted coup and the trial against the future German chancellor. Combining the exposition of historical documentation -- trial transcripts, police files, newspaper accounts, and the testimonies of prison officials -- with a vibrant and high literary narration, the author manages to evoke the political and social atmosphere in Bavaria at the time in a very vivid way.”
-Carlos Joric, Historia y Vida (Spain)
"The casual student of history might think that we already know all we usefully can about Adolf Hitler, his rise and fall, but . . . here is another contribution to Führer studies."
-Robin Aitken, The Catholic Herald
"Engrossing and well-researched . . .This first book-length account in English of Hitler's trial makes an important contribution to the understanding of modern totalitarianism."
-David Holahan, Christian Science Monitor
"A courtroom drama both farcical and ominous. An absorbing, detailed account of a crucial -- but often overlooked - - chapter in Hitler's rise."
-Joseph Kanon, author of The Good German and Leaving Berlin
"King's research is exquisite . . . It is difficult to think of a book accessible to the general public like this that presents such a rich and detailed work of unpublished research."
-Joel Pinheiro da Fonseca, Exame (Brazil)
"Through transcripts, police records and new sources, including nearly five hundred documents discovered from the Landsberg prison archives, King dissects a court decision that had catastrophic consequences."
-Página 12 (Argentina)
"The Beer Hall Putsch is a familiar subject . . . but there has not been one translated into Finnish as varied, richly researched, and vividly written as David King's 500-page The Trial of Adolf Hitler."
-Petri Immonen, Helsingin Sanomat (Finland)
"King has dug in known and unknown sources and describes
in detail a shocking legal scandal that paved the way for Hitler’s catastrophic path."
-Jon H. Rydne, VG (Norway)
"Historian David King is a masterful narrator . . . The events told here are of such historical significance that they deserved to be illuminated for what they were -- a tremendous criminal act that was not thwarted at the time and gave rise to a movement that left continents in ruins and murdered millions of people."
-Øyvind Svaleng, Drammensbiblioteket (Norway), Biography of the Month Selection, June-July 2019
"The book documents in some ways quite shockingly how a loser can turn a defeat into a victory -- and how the justice system in a democracy totally fails. To those who are interested in history, I just want to say: Read this book!"
-Hans Christian Davidsen, Flensborg Avis (Germany),
Book of the Month Selection, October 2019
"It's storytelling at its very best. With ease, King manages to deliver an extremely detailed analysis of the events in a way that brings to mind a political thriller or a season of the award-winning German TV series Babylon Berlin."
-Christian Egander Skov, Kristeligt Dagblad (Denmark)
"King has carried out impressive research . . . The material is treated so masterly and conveyed so grippingly that it must be the definitive book on the trial of Hitler . . . King's book is as exciting as a thriller in the True Crime genre, but its enduring value is that it is also a textbook in how a demagogue can reverse a defeat."
-Flemming Østergaard, Jyllands-Posten (Denmark)
"Hitler was close to being checkmated . . . The trial against Adolf Hitler after the failed beer hall putsch in Munich is the most important political trial in the twentieth century."
"King's book is packed with dramatic scenes . . . [It is also] a reliable work of nonfiction that gives readers an insightful and well-documented depiction of Hitler's first years as leader of the National Socialists."
-Bent Blüdnikow, Berlingske (Denmark)
“A story that takes the reader completely into the events that catapulted Hitler and the Nazi party onto the political scene in Germany . . . The imprisonment and the subsequent trial gave Hitler a platform and a spotlight, which was made for his demagoguery. So instead of removing Hitler from the game, the
case sent him and the Nazis on the road to power in a politically divided Germany.”
"Excellently documented work. He drags you - - almost minute to minute -- from messy bar rooms to newspaper editor offices, hotel rooms, chic restaurants, and courthouses. And he explains how an obsessive demagogue can cunningly turn a total failure into
a victory. Moreover, it is beautifully written. In short, read it!"
-Het Belang van Limbourg (Belgium)
“Recommended Reading: The world’s greatest tragedy began as a farce. It started with a bunch of lunatics who wanted to carry out their revolution from a beer hall and ended with concentration camps, gas chambers, and the most devastating war in world history.”
-Arne Mariager, JydskeVestkysten (Denmark)
"A beer hall, slapstick, and a ridiculous punishment . . . A fair trial, David King concludes, might have eliminated the demagogue Hitler. But because of the gross perversion of the law, the road to power lay open for him."
-Marcel Hulspas, de Volkskrant (Netherlands)
"Adolf Hitler came to his trial as a depressive failure. He left the courtroom as the man of the future . . . King used the 3,000-page trial transcript, found countless documents in Bavarian archives, and had good fortune [with the Landsberg prison files] . . . Thorough yet fascinatingly written."
-Herman Veenhof, Nederlands Dagblad (Netherlands)
"The trial that put Hitler in the saddle . . . described in a masterly way. A unique contribution to the understanding of one of the darkest periods of world history."
-Dick Van der Veen, Hebban (Netherlands)
“A fascinating book from which to learn history.”
-Gezamenlijk Zondagsblad (Netherlands)
"The 1924 trial of Adolf Hitler that made the Nazi Party a household name."
-JP O'Malley, Times of Israel, in a feature
“As Donald Trump surrenders to authorities in NY, remember Feb 1924 . . . David King’s thorough book, The Trial of Adolf Hitler (2017), summarizes the matter nicely."
-Richard E. Rubenstein, Eurasia Review
“Hitler turned the 1924 trial into a launching pad for himself and the Nazi Party.”
-CNN, in a piece on books to help understand
the US Capitol Riot
"The tale of Hitler's sensational trial has never been fully explored... until now."
-K.W. Colyard, Bustle, in a piece on books
and podcasts about coups
"Hitler’s key moment . . . The details of the incident, the trial, and the subsequent sentence are described thoroughly by the historian."
-La República (Peru)
"There are few authors who can render bare facts in such a way as to keep the reader glued to the page throughout. So it is great to find one of these rare birds. This is a story of great historical importance."
-Chris Roberts, Crime Review (United Kingdom)
"The historian David King recounts how the coup was forged but, above all, how the verdict was reached that would change the history of humanity forever."
-Sebastián Soriano, La Razón (Spain)
-La Voz de Galicia (Spain)
"Interesting . . . how the future Nazi leader transformed a failed coup into a victory."
-David Yagüe, 20 Minutos (Spain)
"David King, author who has written best sellers like Death in the City of Light and Vienna 1814 provides a detailed view of every minute of an action that would determine the course of events and the history of the world."
-Teresa Rey, 65ymás (Spain)
"This sobering book reveals what happened, what went wrong, and how it paved the way for the cataclysms that were to follow."
"If Georg Neithardt had actually done his job in 1924, would the Nazis have come to power a decade later? . . . A powerful work that underlines what a pivotal point the trial was - and how badly it went awry."
-Anne Bartlett, BookPage
"King affirms his reputation as a first-rate narrative historian in this well-researched . . . fast-paced account."
"Best Beach Reads & New Books of Summer 2017"
"In light of contemporary threats of far-right violence, The Trial of Adolf Hitler is a stark reminder of what happens when the legal system fails and hatred is validated and eventually normalized."
-Curious Iguana, Frederick, MD
"Based on recently discovered documents from Adolf Hitler's time in prison . . . King successfully shows the trial served a small yet crucial part in Hitler's rise to power."