Adolf Hitler is the greatest mystery of the 20th century, and the mystery surrounding him consists of two unanswered questions that have baffled biographers and historians. First, how did he ever rise to power? Second, who was he really?
Hitler had the power to mesmerize crowds as the most dynamic orator of the modern age. Yet, his power was not in his ideas, which he collected from the gutter sheets of Vienna, nor was it in his personality; his biographers describe him as an “unperson” and his character as a “void” and a “black hole.” What, then, was the source of his power? Was he a medium or a magician with paranormal powers, as many contemporaries thought? Or did he have a secret or method that has not yet been revealed?
Ben Novak spent fourteen years searching for the secret of Hitler’s political success and his power as a speaker. Hitler’s most astute contemporary observer, Konrad Heiden, who wrote the first objective books on Hitler warning that this man was “the greatest massdisturber in world history,” suggested that Hitler’s secret lay in his use of “eine eigentiimliche art von Logik,”or a “peculiar form of logic.” Beginning with this clue, Novak finds that there is a new form of logic in accordance with Heiden’s description and examples that can explain Hitler’s phenomenal political success. This new form of logic, called “abduction,” was discovered by an American philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914), who is rapidly becoming America’s most well-known philosopher and logician.
Abduction is a third form of logic, in addition to deduction and induction. Unlike the other forms of logic, abduction is based on instinct and has a power over emotions. Novak argues that Hitler was the first politician to apply the logic of abduction to politics. This book provides the first coherent account of Hitler’s youth that ties together all the known facts, clearly showing the genesis of the strangest and most terrible man of the twentieth century while identifying the power he discovered that allowed him to break out into the world in such a terrifying way.