Hamann, Brigitte 1940-

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Hamann, Brigitte 1940-
(Brigitte Deitert)


Born July 26, 1940, in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany; married Günther Hamann, 1965 (deceased, 1994); children: Sibylle, Bettina, Georg. Education: University of Vienna, Ph.D., 1978.


Home—Vienna, Austria.


Writer and historian.


Heinrich Drimmel Prize, 1978; Comisso Prize for best biography, 1982; Donauland Sachbuchpreis, 1986; Wildgans Prize, 1995; Kreisky Prize, 1998; Bad Wurzacher Literaturpreis, 1998; Ehrenmedaille der Bundeshauptstadt Wien in Silber, 2006.


Rudolf, Kronprinz und Rebell, Amalthea (Munich, Germany), 1978.

Elisabeth, Kaiserin wider Willen, Amalthea (Vienna, Austria), 1982, published as The Reluctant Empress, translation by Ruth Hein, Knopf (New York, NY), 1986.

Ein Herz und viele Kronen: das Leben der Kaiserin Maria Theresia, illustrated by Rolf Rettich, Ueberreuter (Vienna, Austria), 1985.

Bertha von Suttner: ein Leben für den Frieden, Piper (Munich, Germany), 1986.

Nichts als Musik im Kopf: das Leben von Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ueberreuter (Vienna, Austria), 1990.

Bertha von Suttner: A Life for Peace, translation by Ann Dubsky, Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 1996.

Hitlers Wien: Lehrjahre eines Diktators, Piper (Munich, Germany), 1996, published as Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Sissi: Kaiserin Elisabeth von Österreich, Taschen (New York, NY), 1997.

Elisabeth: Kaiserin wider Willen, Piper (Munich, Germany), 1998.

Winifred Wagner, oder, Hitlers Bayreuth, Piper (Munich, Germany), 2002, published as Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler's Bayreuth, translation by Alan Bance, Granta (London, England), 2005.


Majestät, ich warne Sie, Geheime und private Schriften, Amalthea (Munich, Germany), 1979.

Schriften: Kronprinz Rudolf, W. Goldmann (Munich, Germany), 1981.

Die Habsburger: ein biographisches Lexikon, Piper (Munich, Germany), 1988.

Meine liebe, gute Freundin!: die Briefe Kaiser Franz Josephs an Katharina Schratt aus dem Besitz der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Ueberreuter (Vienna, Austria), 1992.

Kaiserin Elisabeth, Das poetische Tagebuch, Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Vienna, Austria), 1995.

(With Elisabeth Hassmann) Elisabeth: Stationen ihres Lebens, Brandstätter (Vienna, Austria), 1998.

Contributed the foreword to a number of books, including a four-part series of photographs from the Empress Elisabeth's collection, published by Harenberg (Dortmund, Germany), 1980-81.


Brigitte Hamann's impressive body of work as a writer and historian includes a number of biographies on German historical figures, including Elisabeth, Empress of Austria (1837-98); Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria (1858-89); dictator Adolph Hitler (1889-1945); and Hitler companion Winifred Wagner (1897-1980). Since writing her first book in 1978, Hamann has earned a reputation as a meticulous researcher and impassioned historian. Five of her books have been translated from her native German into English.

Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship explores a formative period in Adolph Hitler's life, those of his pre-World War I years in Vienna. Hamann analyzes how the seven years Hitler spent in the city influenced his subsequent political career and anti-Semite philosophies. Joachim Whaley related in a review for the Journal of European Studies that the book is "not only a fascinating contribution to the study of Hitler's life, but also an extra-ordinarily evocative portrait of Vienna itself in the early years of the twentieth century." New Statesman contributor Jason Cowley commented: "[Hamann] seldom slips into a tone of condemnatory didacticism; like a good reporter, she shows, but never prescribes. And she understands, too, that Hitler's Vienna, that her Vienna, which she animates so vividly in its multi-ethnic diversity, will for ever more be a Vienna of the imagination." In an article for the Urban History Review, Thomas J. Saunders wrote: "Brigitte Hamann's book is a pleasant surprise. Whether viewed as a study of an important phase in Hitler's life or as an account of the political culture of the Habsburg capital, it is both engaging and insightful."

In Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler's Bayreuth, Hamann delves into the life of a woman who considered Hitler among her closest friends. Wagner, daughter-in-law of the famed Austrian composer Richard Wagner, became friends with Hitler in the early 1920s through an annual opera festival run by her family. The book traces Wagner's life from her childhood move from England to Germany, following the death of her parents, through her friendship with Hitler and the post-War years. "This is a fascinating portrait not only of Winifred but of the Wagners and their milieu," wrote a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. London Times writer Hugh Canning noted: "Brigitte Hamann's book is the riveting narrative—'the kind of life story you only find in novels,' she writes with justice in her preface—of the rise and fall [of Hitler]." A Kirkus Reviews contributor remarked: "Providing a complete and thorough portrait of Winifred, Hamann shows how the Wagner legacy became enmeshed in Hitler's propaganda machine." Lucasta Miller commented in a review for the Guardian: "This is a restrained, documentary biography, meticulously detailed and scholarly."



Journal of European Studies, December, 2000, Joachim Whaley, review of Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship, p. 433.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2006, review of Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler's Bayreuth, p. 886.

New Statesman, April 26, 1999, Jason Cowley, review of Hitler's Vienna, p. 44.

Publishers Weekly, August 7, 2006, review of Winifred Wagner, p. 41.

Urban History Review, October, 2001, Thomas J. Saunders, review of Hitler's Vienna, p. 74.


Guardian Unlimited,http://www.guardian.co.uk/ (August 20, 2005), Lucasta Miller, "At Home with the Wagners."

Times Online,http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ (June 19, 2005), Hugh Canning, review of Winifred Wagner. *