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Book Review: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: THE DEATH OF HITLER by Robert J. Hutchinson

Nearly 50 percent of Americans polled after World War II thought that Adolf Hitler had not committed suicide in his bunker in 1945, but instead faked his death and escaped. It isn't surprising with all the disinformation swirling around after the Soviets had captured Berlin. Over the years, this has led to several conspiracy theories about what actually happened to Hitler on those final days in his Berlin bunker. Historian Robert J. Hutchinson tries to set the record straight in his book, WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: THE DEATH OF HITLER.

To start, this book is a World War II history buff's dream. WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: THE DEATH OF HITLER is well-researched and draws from not only the eyewitness accounts of those present at the time, but also declassified Soviet and FBI files and forensics performed on the purported remains of Adolf Hitler still in the Russian archives. Hutchinson presents a very detailed timeline of Hitler's rise to power, his miraculous escapes from numerous assassination attempts, and his final days in Berlin. The facts are presented in a very matter-of-fact style without substantial embellishment, and this adds to the author's attempt to provide a meticulous account of what actually happened.

Hutchinson does address the various conspiracy theories surrounding Hitler's death by thoroughly examining where the facts and theories align and where they do not. Although Adolf Hitler is the primary topic of the book, Hutchinson includes a tremendous amount of background on those around Hitler who are often lost to the annals of history, such as his secretaries, chauffeur, bodyguards, etc. The addition of those voices makes this book all the more fascinating.

This book targets a very specific audience and might not be for everyone. But the exceptional scholarship of Hutchinson's work makes this book a pleasure to read for those interested in history. WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: THE DEATH OF HITLER is a well-written volume that should be in the collection of anyone interested in World War II history.

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