Friday, December 30, 2011

Between Perception and Reality

Don't we remember seeing shapes in the clouds morphing into a human face or recognizable objects? something like this.
Or, do you recall the chill that ran up your spine when you saw a lingering human figure in the black silhouette of the swaying tree branches? You might pass this up as mere illusion, something that occurs when your mind plays tricks on you. Then consider more of such cases. Do you remember a game in our childhood where we use to spot abstract figures or objects in the messy ink splatters formed between two pages of our notebooks (the famous Rorschach Inkblot test)?.  
I am sure you won't forget this one. The famous 'Face on Mars' - a part of its Cydonia region. The picture was taken by the Viking 1 orbiter spacecraft and was released by NASA/JPL on July 25, 1976 upon seeing which people mistaken it for existence of Alien civilization on Mars. Lastly, not to forget the several instances of UFO sightings and numerous reportings on appearances of ghost images in videos and photos.

Wonder what are these? Simple illusions or cases of pathological disorders in the brain? No, don't worry you haven't lost your wits yet. I chanced upon this interesting article by Dr. John W. Hoopes, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Kansas, and was astonished to learn that this is a quite common phenomenon and is attributed to our error of perception, called Apophenia. Based on the recent researches and experiments, specialists in the field of Psychology, psychoanalysis and neurobiology are trying to understand this condition and its related effects. Apophenia is a tendency to interpret or see patterns or connections in a random or meaningless data. In fact the examples we just described are a special case called Pareidolia. which is visual Apophenia. Dr. Hoopes tells that Apophenia is a result of process of Human Cognitive evolution. In words of Carl Segan, Human mind is hard-wired to recognize faces from birth and this ability allows us to use only minimal details such as outline of an object or a shape to recognize or interpret random images or patterns as faces from a distance, and even in poor visibility conditions.

Those of you who have read the famous book 'Fooled by Randomness' by Nassim Nicholas Taleb would recollect that Taleb talks about the cognitive biases, which is a general term used to describe may distortions in human mind that result in the errors in its judgmental capabilities. We are all victims of cognitive biases. We stake our life-savings in the Stock Market trusting on the hunches of an investment analyst who claims to "foresee" the upcoming market drift in its random movements. This is an example of hindsight bias. The analyst constructs financial models that claim to predict the market movements based on historical data which in a way "seem" to fit a pattern. Or a 'confirmation bias' which makes us see only that information which confirms our preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true. This shows that there is some common footing between Apophenia and cognitive biases. Dr. Hoopes apparently hold that "Apophenia is not usually pathological but can become so in schizophrenia, when pattern recognition and interpretation run wild".

Hollywood has exploited this idea in movies such as " A Beautiful Mind" about John Nash, the nobel laureate mathematician and founder of the field of Game theory, who is tricked by his mind into believing that he has been hired by US department of defense to detect and decode patterns in magazines and newspapers which supposedly is the clandestine mode of communication for Russians. In pursuit of doing so he becomes preoccupied with it and loses his sanity. Similarly, in psychological thriller "Pi", a debut movie by Darren Aronofsky, the protagonist, a number theorists, strongly believes in the premise that every thing in this nature can be understood by numbers. He becomes obsessed with finding predictable patterns within the stock market movements inevitably lingering on the verge of madness.

Pattern recognition and interpretation is fundamental to human existence. Conditions such as Apophenia or Pareidolia gives us a glimpse of the eerie propensities of Human mind which pushes us to the fringes of our understanding of perception and reality.

Image courtesy: NASA/JPL and Shutterstock

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Indian TV Soaps - Serial killers

Falling prey to an onslaught of Indian Television Soap-operas could proved to be the single life sucking experience for an average Indian male. Watching an Indian TV soaps could well be both mentally harrowing and emotionally draining experience. This is completely from my own humble experience after having left with no option but to watch them for fairly substantial no. of hours of their airing time everyday. Mentally harrowing because your gray cells would want to explode as you watch it and feels like you are eternally stuck  with a "WHY ME" syndrome. Emotionally draining as you are exposed to insistent barrage of appalling, out of the world histrionics packed with melodrama and conversational non-sequiturs that leave people scratching their heads or make them numb with emotional distress. If you are one of such victims, you would empathize with it more as your own agony plays out before your eyes while reading this.

Indian Soaps are examples of intelligent TV programming addictive for those who want to watch it,with never ending story plots, each one deceiving to offer a fresh storyline with an embedded social message in their promos but only to fallback on the same old cliches after few episodes. As my version of the slogan of one channel says "Rishta Nahin, Soch Wohi" literally "no relation, same cerebration". This is nothing but an old trick to let the viewers especially housewives fall prey and remain glued to the TV sets in anticipation of something new and interesting.

Every soap supposedly portrays a middle class family that would have mansions with bright ornate walls, marble flooring, and giant decorative pillars, inter-spread with silken curtains impelling Indian economists to revisit their poverty line threshold estimates. TV channels have started a irritating new trend to rope in Salman Khan in every other promotional venture for new reality shows, or Soaps. I freak out whenever see this guy with his perpetually swollen puffy eyes, terribly bad Hindi skills and utterly disgusting hip-gyrating movements.

These soaps would have carefully chosen unusually long titles preferably lines from a popular Hindi song, with first line played up and rest displayed in cleverly indistinguishable case affixed in the end during the promos and the song is repeatedly played in the background. The female characters in these soaps are incredulously made up and decked up everytime and everywhere (including unusual places as kitchen, bedrooms, while sleeping!!). While this buffoonary being enacted on screen, one could spot some peculiarly distinctive background sounds which adds to this dramatic effect -
  1. For all the wicked wives, bahus and sister-in-laws, a signature tune plays out in the background whenever they enter the scene or when their evil, conniving thoughts set into motion (a lot of thinking aloud goes with it!!). Here there is a unusually heavy emphasis on use of indian percussions with characteristically repetitive thumping which builds up in a huge crescendo and then collapses
  2. then goes a peculiar crashing cymbal sound for occasional accents or shocking revelations accompanied by camera swooshing and swishing movements from all directions with every possible angles converging into the contorted and over-expressive faces of casts. Sudden camera zooms,  awkwardly abrupt fast and slow motions (usually within a second from each other) will follow.
  3. finally the virtuous bahu signature background tune that would have probably a piece of violine or sitar with lot of chorus effect (something like lalla la lala)
No doubt that all these 'subtle refinements' would requires equally monumental efforts and commitment from actors.

I found that sometimes male characters in these serials even would have effeminate tendencies. In one such soap, the only Son of an orthodox Marwadi family has been brought up in a overly protective environment and we are made to realize this during the episodes when his mother cries out and calls him an abominably annoying "MUNNA" several times. Sometime it becomes difficult to tell if it is "MUNNA" or "MUNNI" she is addressing to...

Well, this is eternally unending saga of buffoonery which has potential to bring forth an entire blog in itself. I hope some of you would have gotten some clue about my condition and would commiserate with my feelings.

For those of you who are not deterred but rather felt sufficiently motivated after reading this post and please have a look at guide on "UNDERSTAND INDIAN SOAP OPERAS"

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Hollow Eulogy

Government is celebrating 125th anniversary of Indian Mathematician Srinivasa ramanujan and observing his birthday as the National Mathematics Day. PM has also declared year 2012 as the National Mathematics Year. Reportedly, Robert Kanigel who is the author of The Man Who Knew Infinity (1991), first ever complete biography by an American author, was in India on an invitation from the Indian Academy of Sciences to give lectures as part of Ramanujan's birth  anniversary celebrations. The Hindu has published his interview here. I happened to read this book when I was pursuing post graduation. With due respect to Kanigel & all those foreign authors who painstakingly research and publish about India and Indians, I somehow not comfortable with this fact of a foreigner writing  so authoritatively about an Indian talent while we Indians remain alarmingly ignorant of our own scientific legacy.

Notwithstanding the amount and quality of research in such works, they still lack the cultural and social perspectives and remain confined to being nothing more than a skewed portrayal through a western lens.This arouses deeper questions. Why we Indian's are so poor in recognizing our own cultural legacy, our own historical achievements? Why do we need west to make us realize the true value of our accomplishments? What prevents us to be the first to write about our geniuses and our history and let the world know about it? Understand that We Indians have always been miserable in keeping the record of our own history. This is why Prof ramachandra Guha aptly raises this concern when he explored the central question of why historians of Asia do not write biographies and why they should duing a seminar in JNU.His main argument was that Asia has produced an interesting range of personalities and has a very rich literary tradition, but it is paradoxical why historians of Asia have not indulged in writing biographies. Among the probable reasons cited by Guha was the burden of  religious inheritance in Hinduism and Buddhism and the belief in the cycle of rebirth. He further adds that an indifference to record keeping also precluded the writing of biography.

I wonder why do we always need a western cultural, literary or scientific yardstick to benchmark our accomplishments? Why couldn't a Ramanujan recognized by local authorities when he endured such hardships at home. Why did it take a GH Hardy sitting in England to recognize the talent in him? Understand that real talent needs right conditions at home to flourish. Only in stable economic and social conditions would they be able to seek recognition for their work.If such conditions are hard to come by in a politically, socially and economically unstable milieu, they migrate. We witnessed this during second WW when  an overwhelming number of scientists and artists migrated from European countries of German occupations.This is not a new phenomenon for India too. Could this be exactly the reason why a Sun micro systems or a Hotmail got set up outside India? Or is this the reason why we have so many reasons to vehemently eulogize Non-resident Indian talents and their achievements while back home our scientific or artistic talent remains largely  unacknowledged?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Racy Debate

Whenever India set out to achieve something out of the ordinary such as hosting a Formula I sporting events, you are bound to hear voices and opinions that swing from eulogistic or laudatory to downright caustic and debasing. Every voice, every opinion mirrors a different India.This is bound to happen in a democratic country like india where everyone has a right to voice an opinion. But it is also true that the its equally difficult to see those opinions converging into  a singular unanimous voice. As it is said, if something is true about India, then the opposite is also true. And these contradictions glare out at you and become more apparent whenever an attempt such as Formula I is made to project an image of India that is too far from reality.

The perception of the reality is this. Indian society is made up of haves and have nots.  The "haves" will always be the ones who are the major stakeholders in such events and would eventually be benefitted by it. They would be the ones who would ride on the "India coming of age" wave. The "have nots" wouldn't have time beyond their daily act of survival and would probably pass this as another quirky affair of the "haves". No wait, then there is a third category, who are a confused lot. They do not know what is meant by priority for a developing nation, they have not yet developed mental faculty to understand the pro and cons of such events and their cultural fitment.They just want to seize the moment and perpetually be in a state of delirium.

There is a lot of generalization in there and a deluge of mis-information. Events such as formula I, supported by private players, should be welcomed in India. No two ways about it. It is a biggest brand building exercises we can undertake. But the harm is not as much in hosting such events, but in what surrounds it. By utterly disregarding public sentiments and convinience, when such events are organized, and we see a breakdown of already lacking basic infrastructure and sanitation, whom should we run to?. When they out forward demand  that the sport should be granted tax exemption because of the high costs and the consequent lack of viability of the investment, then shouldn't it  need a closer inspection?... If in return of the lands acquired by the private from the farmers, they do not get their fair share, whose problem is this?...and more subtle and farreaching...a sudden and unnatural shift in the lifestyle of the farmers due to acquisition of wealth as part of land compensation leaving them unprepared for this change and thus begetting social problems....

We cannot create Brand India by creating a hype about an event. This is too simplistic and stupid an assumption. Equally true is we should not try to build brand India simply by window dressing an event as happened during CWG when the whole world knows what the reality is. Cause when we do that, it does more harm to our image and we end up doing the opposite. Also, while such initiatives on one hand do have the potential to change the perception about india in the world, they are also vulnerable to leave gaping holes out in the open for world to see, the all pervasive disparity in India.

We must not be too naive to simply hop into the bandwagon and join the jamboree, nor should we generate strong berating reactions about such events without recognizing the raison d'être for such event. Agree that these events are certainly an exciting indulgence for those who can afford to pay for it. However, they cannot simply be rejected based on an argument of social or cultural relevance to India. In India such disparities are bound to coexist. The solution is embark on initiatives which makes for a greater common good.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A War To Remember

Exactly forty years ago, a new nation was born. Connected through a continuous landmass and closely entwined with its destiny, undoubtedly, without India there would be no Bangladesh. The dream of Mohammad Jinnah of  a united Pakistan proved to be short lived. Since its creation Pakistan had been an unquiet and uneasy cohabitation of two regions seperated by Indian landmass - East pakistan  which erstwhile called east bengal (before1947) and West Pakistan with Sindh, Balochistan, Pujab and NWFP. Both regions though shared a common religion were far apart in cultural ethos and identities.This proved to be enough of a reason to create a rift in them. What more evidence that religion can not a be the sole unifying factor. For an individual's meaningful existence, there are other identities which are far more important than just a religious one.

Bangladesh's birth was painful and bloody. A concise account here says that a political turmoil had sparked from the sweeping victory of Mujibur Rahman's Party  over Zulfikar Ali bhutto in the first general election which susequently prompted Yahya Khan to suspend the election results and send army to occupy east pakistan. India was closely watching all the developments in the region and was prepared for this. What she was not prepared for was the utter brutalilty with which it was carried out.

In a single most daring Blitzkrieg operation, Indian forces launched a multi-pronged offensive involving all three services (land, water, air) first time in the history. Not only this, Indian army also trained thousands of refugees from east pakistan in the military combat techniques and formed "Mukti Bahini" which also faught the war along with them. Severely battered on both the fronts, Pakistan forces lost their ground and finally on December 16, 1971, they surrendered unconditionally.

During Bangladesh crisis Indira Gandhi showed her qualities of decisiveness. Notwithstanding her controversial years in power, this was one such decision which gave her a permamnent place in the heart of Indians. In a penetrating article here on Indira Gandhi, Sudipta Kaviraj presents a picture of global balance of power around that time. She says that global powers such as USSR, america and UK had polarised the world in two factions due to Coldwar. Here I quote from the article - Soviet attitude towards India had changed considerably after Nehru's death, and their overtures with the Ayub regime sometimes created discernible strains with India.On the American side, the Nixon administration tilted US policy heavily against India, in an accentuation of the eternal paradox of American foreign policy—its steadfast preference for an avowed dictatorship to a democracy. China too could be expected to favour Pakistan. Risks of isolation were considerable and quite real. A possible war with Pakistan and the creation of a friendly state in the east could, however, alter the strategic balance considerably, and reduce the requirement for military preparedness and related costs, at least so it was believed at the time. Here Indira in one shrewd unexpected decicion, signed a treaty with the Soviet Union which proved remarkably effective in counter-balancing American support for Pakistan.

Such remarkable assertiveness and convincing victory that established India as the dominant power in the continent, was seen for the first time (and last?? alas) in history. India learnt its biggest lesson from this glorious victory that whatever had been the power equations, countries reacted to any critical developments strictly within the boundary of their perceived self-interests and not on any moral or objective ground.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lunar Eclipse of 2011

We recently witnessed a total Lunar Eclipse, the splendid celestial phenomenon, on 10th of dec 2011 which was second and last such event in the year 2011. The first eclipse happened on June 15, 2011. This time around the Moon had been bigger and redder. A wonder ful video from NASA explains this effect

Couple of interesting facts that I am going to share about Lunar eclispe. We all know that an eclipse has two shadowy regions, Umbra and Penumbra. It is difficult to predict the exact brightness distribution in the umbra so observers use a scale called The Danjon value for estimating brightness at different times during totality of the eclipse.The Danjon scale of Lunar Eclipse brightness was proposed by the French astronomer André-Louis Danjon and is measured on a 5 point scale from L0 to L4, where L is the luminosity.

     L = 0     Very dark eclipse.Moon almost invisible, especially at mid-totality.

     L = 1     Dark Eclipse, gray or brownish in coloration.Details distinguishable only with 

     L = 2     Deep red or rust-colored eclipse.Very dark central shadow, while outer edge of
     umbra is relatively bright.

     L = 3     Brick-red eclipse.Umbral shadow usually has a bright or yellow rim.

     L = 4     Very bright copper-red or orange eclipse. Umbral shadow has a bluish, very bright
At, the time of eclipse, Moon was at an altitude of 30 degrees in the constellation of Taurus and 
was placed in the midst of other recongnizable constellations such as Auriga, Orion and Pleiades.
Eclipses follow a certain periodicity in their occurances. Every year there are at least two lunar 
eclipses. If one knows the date and time of an eclipse, it is possible to predict the occurrence of 
other eclipses using cycle measurements such as the saros. The saros is a period of 223
synodic months (approximately 6585.3213 days, or nearly 18 years 11 days), that can be used 
to predict eclipses of the Sun and Moon. After completing a saros in an eclipse, the Sun, 
Earth, and Moon return to approximately the same relative geometric positions, and a nearly 
identical eclipse will occur in an eclipse cycle. A one half of a saros is called a sar.According to 
NASA, december 10th total lunar eclipse was the 23rd member of Saros 135, a 
series of 71 eclipses occurring in the following order: 9 penumbral, 10 partial, 23 total, 7 partial,
and 22 penumbral lunar eclipses 

Another beautiful and rare celestial effect which was seen during Lunar eclipse is called 
selenelion. This occurs when eclipsed Moon andSun are observed in the sky at the same 
An active member of Bangalore Astronomy club took brilliant pictures of this eclipse
from Bangalore, India
 Courtesy - KV Shankarnarayanan
Next year in 2012, a total solar eclipse has been predicted to occur on  Nov 13th. 
More information on that later.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Meaning Of Hitler - Book Review

This book by Sebastian Haffner is not a biographical account to begin with. This book completely diverges from other well know detailed, well-referenced, chronological biographies of Hitler by the likes of Ian Kershaw, Joachim Fest or Ludolf Herbst in terms of its narrative style and structure. What caught my attention towards this book is that It is remarkably thin in its size but refreshingly thick in the original analysis in some respect. Sebastian Haffner was a noted German journalist and author renowned for his polemical writings on Nazi Germany. In fact Haffner was his nom de plume and his real name was Raimund Pretzel. He had adopted that pseudonym after he went into exile and emigrated to London with his Jewish wife in 1938 from Nazi Germany. 

Haffner is surprisingly even-handed in his analysis of Hitler in this book. His analysis is not marred by prejudices that you see in most of the biographies and Nazi literature that was published during the so called “Hitler wave” of the 70s. He successfully assays to give a perspective on this man, born out of the socio-political milieu, and his impact solely in terms of his ideology, misconceptions, his successes and errors. However, it is difficult to envisage a subject as complex as Hitler to be reduced to a mere personalization of human traits, character, idiosyncrasies etc. which the Haffner attempts daringly in this book and had been quite successful and convincing. There are some brilliant insights in this book and some lesser known facts which one is only able to find in a thoroughly researched or first hand account. 

Haffner begins with some of the most commonly known facets of Hitler’s early years in Vienna where his early concentration on politics became later his substitute for life and where a granite foundation for is political Ideology of National Socialism (or Nationalism or Anti- Semitism??) was laid which later developed into an obsession, an unnatural fixation to achieve an objective of setting up a greater German Reich which he had set out for himself from start and which he wanted to accomplish at any cost within his lifetime(!!). The author argues that after entering into politics and starting his own party NSDPA around the time of “November Crime” revolution to overthrow Weimar republic, Hitler’s domestic policy program was already complete (1918-1919), but his foreign policy slowly began taking shape during following 6-7 years after his decision to become der Führer, the position of absolute power. 

During the first 6 years of his 12 year reign is when Hitler discovered his mass mobilizing skill as an orator, a propagandist and enjoyed the reputation as a Damegogue. Haffner does not discount Hitler on his achievements. He argues that among his positive achievements, one which outshines all others was his economic miracle. After his becoming Reich chancellor in 1933, Germany was going through a great depression due to stock market crash of Oct. 1929 and around 6 mn. were unemployed. In mere 3 years, he achieved full employment. Hard to imagine, but that’s what became one of the factors which silenced many of his critiques who still rejected him. Likewise, his another achievement, argues Heffner, was re-militarization and rearmament of germany in first 6 years of his rule. Both proved to be vary effective economy boosting activities and important foreign policy initiatives, especially rearmament which had effectively invalidated Varsailles treaty. Moreover, he carried out a major social transformation in germany and called it “socialization of people”. Clearly socialism was a misnomer, and it was nothing but a forced socialization. Here author clearly differentiates that Hitler by no means socialized Production, as Marxists would see it, but he achieved it by pressing people into a collective “socialist” way of life, whether they liked it or not. 

Author distinguishes Hitler’s achievements from his unbroken successes, which he achieved from 1930 to1941 in his domestic and foreign policies. What changed between 1918- 23 and of 1933, author reasons, are Hitler’s opponents with whom he had to deal, which were never strong or tough. In 1920s, Weimar republic proved too strong for him to crack and that’s why he was a failure (Beer Hall putsch of 1923). Later in 1930-40 he dealt with weak opponents in terms of personalities and who lacked a political concept or were divided among themselves such as conservatives. He achieved his successes not by means of an efficiently working constitutional machinery and structured governmental hierarchy but by a chaotic bundle of uncoordinated mass organizations merely held together at the top by his own persons. Among Hitler’s foreign policy successes was ripping off the fetters of Versailles, as he called it, by remilitarization of Rhineland and incorporation of Austria and Sudeten area and was made possible due to Britain’s controversial “Appeasement” policy which France followed despite weak chances of its success. 

Haffner discusses some of the misconceptions in Hitler’s personality and political ideology in subsequent chapter. He contends that it is not easy to place Hitler in a political right or even left wing. He was a different kind of politician, and here Haffner introduces term called “programmatician”, a setter of goals. Author also points out the inherent contradictions in Hitler’s notion of “State”, “nation” and “Race” which he frequently used to juggle in his thinking thus creating more confusion. Comparing with the accepted definitions of these terms, its still difficult to understand the real meaning behind Hitler’s idea of “Aryan Race” “supreme race” or “greater Germanic State” (Nation??). What really was his ideas and understanding about Jewry, a race, a nation or a religion? Heffner argues, Hitler never considered Jewry a religion which was an absolutely a contrarian view from the world and which he repeatedly justified. But whether it was a race or a nation, it seems he himself was not quite sure of. One thing which he was quite sure of was that Jews by their vary nature international are incapable of establishing a state and hence never limited territorially. He also introduces Hitlerism, the ideological edifice of Hitler the programmatician which mistakenly believes that all manifestation in world history are merely manifestation of the self preservation drive of races and in this drive nations wage war to gain a “living space” by permanently subjecting or annihilation the vanquished and achieving world domination. 

Inarguably most interesting chapter was “The Mistakes.” Today’s world, author argues whether we like it or not, is Hitler’s world. Without Hitler there would be no participation of Germany and Europe. Without him there would be no Israel; without him there would be no Americans and Russians in Berlin; subsequently there would be no de-colonization in such rapid pace; and no Asian, Arab or black African emancipation; without him there would be not “cold war” and subsequent emergence or Russian and American world powers. In those 12 years the world history revolved around only man and was dominated by him. Heffner recounts that in last few years , Hitler made many mistakes that eventually proved disastrous for him. First serious mistakes was his anti-semitism against german jews caused widespread humiliation amongst the population turning friends into enemies. His second biggest was when he attacked Russia and declared war on America. This was indeed a foolishly absurd decision. He simply waged the war on Britain and France in 1939 when both were not ready for such an active war either materially or psychologically. Russia was always on Hitler’s mental map as german “living space” and the time had come after victory over France to ring up the curtain for this main conquest. Haffner convincingly dissects the incomprehensible mistake of Hitler when he provoked war on America in 1941 and reason for Japan’s indifferent attitude towards Germany in her Russian conquest. 

In the last but one chapter on Hitler’s Crimes, Haffner recounts briefly about Hitler’s crimes against poles, Russians, Gypies and Invalids. He articulates that around 1942 there was widespread realization that Hitler’s mass murders were not ‘war crimes’ but crimes pure and simple. Unfortunately that awareness was later blurred by Nuremberg “war criminal” trials, an unfortunate performance which no one likes to remember. He remarks that in December 1941, Hitler had made his final choice between two incompatible aims which he had pursued from outset- German domination on world and extermination of Jews. Hitler abandoned the former due to his realization that it was now impossible given a strong and powerful opposition from the axis powers, he entirely concentrated on later. 

In the final chapter “Betrayal”, Haffner powerfully argues that Hitler inflicted far greater damage, in any objective view, on Germany. Thanks to Hitler, Germany not only suffered the diminution of status as all the other great powers of western Europe, but also lost almost one quarter of its nations territory and what was left was also divided. The book beautifully ends with these lines –

“For German history does not end with Hitler. Anyone believing that it does, and possibly even rejoicing at it, does not realize just how much he is thereby fulfilling Hitler’s last Will and Testament.” 

The book undoubtedly a jewel among the literature that is available on Nazi era. And highly recommended for anyone who is seeking the most concise and powerful objective analysis on Hitler.