“Hitler’s Niece”: By Ron Hansen: My Reveiw

If you’re just not depressed enough and/or are looking for yet another reason to hate Adolf Hitler, check out Hitler’s Niece: A Novel by Ron Hansen (Harper; 2000.)  This is a biographical novel in the tradition of Irving Stone (best known for his Van Gogh novel Lust for Life).  The author does fudge history a little bit but lists all of these deviations in the book’s Afterward.

Why am I including a book on Hitler in a mental health blog?  Well, three reasons:

  1. A book on Hitler is a book about a psychopath
  2. People struggling with the decision to commit suicide often dwell on the problem of evil.  The big problem being — how come these evil fucks get away with being evil fucks?  Yes, Hitler committed suicide but he reached the top of his profession and enjoyed the fruits of success long before Hitler and his crew had to go to the Bunker.
  3. It’s my blog — I’ll do what I damn well like.

The book centers on the relationship between Hitler and his niece Angelika “Geli” Raubal.  It is a piece of fiction but if even half of what Hansen wrote about was true, that’s still a pretty grim half.  Geli was found shot to death on September 18, 1931.  Although officials at the time ruled it a suicide, some evidence points to it being a murder.

This is a truly haunting book that would make Stephen King green with envy.  I am a domestic abuse survivor and so couldn’t help but identify with the Geli character.  My abuser was no Hitler (it was like living with Hannibal Lecter’s dumber younger brother) but he still could have killed me.

Which brings up another question — why do women find psychopathic men attractive?  Granted, a true psychopath is very charming and seems perfectly sane (hey — he’s got high self-esteem)  but eventually their true colors show.  There are probably STILL women who wish they could bang Hitler.  In my case, I didn’t know my guy was psychopathic until I was deeply involved in the relationship.  I also was suffering from untreated mental illness, which I guess is a reasonable excuse.  Still, I hope I never fall for another psycho.

Hitler wound up with a lot of kinky fan mail but he also was able to seduce an entire nation.  There have been many psycho leaders before Hitler and many after Hitler  And we all know that will happen again sometime in the near future.  People just like to be abused, I guess.

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