Leni: The Life and Work Of Leni Riefenstahl by Steven Bach - review by Carole Angier

Carole Angier

The Art of Propaganda

Leni: The Life and Work Of Leni Riefenstahl

By

Little, Brown 386pp £25 order from our bookshop
 

There are brilliant books about monsters – Ian Kershaw on Hitler, for example, or Simon Sebag Montefiore on Stalin. Leni demonstrates (if you’ve ever doubted it) that Leni Riefenstahl was a monster. Of course she wasn’t a patch on Hitler, and Steven Bach isn’t a patch on Ian Kershaw. So is it worth reading this biography?

Yes, with reservations. Bach does not grapple enough with the difficult questions that are the only good reasons to read or write it. He’s no psychologist, having nothing to say about the role of Riefenstahl’s background – poor working-class – in her lust for power, and only one thing to

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter