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Hitler's Piano Player

The Rise and Fall of Ernst Hanfstaengl - Confidant of Hitler, Ally of Roosevelt

Peter Conradi



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01 April 2020
The incredible story of Ernst Hanfstaengl, the only person to have worked directly for both Hitler and Franklin Roosevelt, who funded Mein Kampf and helped create the monster of Nazism before later working to destroy it. Ernst Hanfstaengl was court jester, pianist, and foreign press chief for Hitler during his political climb. He later played a lead role in Roosevelt's top-secret project to use disinformation and black propaganda against the Nazis. Filled with revelations about Hitler's personal and political life and descriptions of American psychological warfare, Hitler's Piano Player is a shocking story of a man torn apart by opposing loyalties. A Harvard-educated German, Hanfstaengl was living in Germany in 1922 when he first heard Adolf Hitler speak in a Munich beer hall. Introducing himself after the speech, Hanfstaengl began one of the strangest relationships in 20th century politics. As he tried to introduce Hitler to Munich high-society and polish his image in the eyes of the world, Hanfstaengl also helped finance Mein Kampf, claimed to have devised the chant of Sieg Heil, and attempted to set Hitler up with the American ambassador's beautiful young daughter. But he fell out of the future Fuehrer's graces and fled to Britain, where he was interned, and then transferred to America. There, he worked for his old friend from the Harvard Club in New York, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The star of Roosevelt's 'S-Project,' Hanfstaengl provided the White House with biographical information on four hundred leading Nazis, analyses of Hitler's speeches, and a detailed psychological portrait of Hitler, describing his education, diet, and even his sex life. Through newly declassified documents, interviews with surviving members of Hanfstaengl's family, and original writing by Hanfstaengl himself, Peter Conradi recounts the remarkable life of history's personal link between Hitler and FDR. AUTHOR: Peter Conradi is the author of Iris Murdoch: A Life: The Authorized Biography and A Very English Hero: The Making of Frank Thompson. He is Europe Editor for the Sunday Times. He lives in Stockwell, in South London.
By:   Peter Conradi
Imprint:   Duckworth
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm, 
ISBN:   9780715654019
ISBN 10:   0715654012
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   01 April 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Peter Conradi is the author of The Red Ripper: Inside the Mind of Russia's Most Brutal Serial Killer, and Mad Vlad: Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the New Russian Nationalism. He is Deputy Foreign Editor for the Sunday Times. He lives in Stockwell, in South London.

Reviews for Hitler's Piano Player: The Rise and Fall of Ernst Hanfstaengl - Confidant of Hitler, Ally of Roosevelt

'Wholly entertaining.' * Observer * 'Fills in some fascinating detail about this bizarre figure ... gives us a wealth of enjoyable anecdotes.' * Financial Times * 'An exemplary piece of biographical writing, Hitler's Piano Player is packed with colour and character.' * Independent * 'All the elements of a gripping thriller ... this well-written, non-judgmental biography perfectly captures Putzi's predicament.' * Guardian *

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