The Death of Democracy by Benjamin Carter Hett – A Review

The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic by Benjamin Carter Hett
Nonfiction | History
Published by Henry Holt and Company
Released March 29th, 2018
Goodreads

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’m currently learning to speak and read German. While I have read a ton of books about British history, I realized recently that I had never read a book on German history. To correct that, I purchased Benjamin Carter Hett’s The Death of Democracy alongside several other non-fiction historical accounts of German history.

The Death of Democracy is an account of how the Nazi party, and Adolf Hitler in particular, came to power in Germany in the 1930s. It’s extensively detailed, to the point where the meticulous reporting of German politics can become overwhelming. However, it’s such a complete account that I have to recommend it.

Without getting into details about current American politics, there was an uncomfortable number of times that I found similarities between this period of German history and our own modern era. History is vitally important in order to have a complete understanding of current events, and I found it fitting to be reading The Death of Democracy at this point in America’s history.

Author Benjamin Carter Hett did a wonderful job of showing the reader how a completely unremarkable soldier during World War I became one of the world’s most despised leaders. Most people are going to have a very basic understanding of who Hitler was, but through The Death of Democracy, you end up really seeing how Hitler’s sociopathic tendencies led to him having certain gifts that allowed him and the Nazi party to end up in power.

I’ve read a lot of non-fiction history books throughout my life (probably inspired by my father who reads nothing but historical non-fiction), and The Death of Democracy is clearly a well-researched book. I greatly commend Hett for the time he must have spent working on this project.

I am recommending this book not only because it’s such a great account of a very important time in world history, but because of the lessons we should take away from that time. From “fake news” to censorship and beyond, one can gain an understanding of the horrors that await a society that isn’t careful.


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