During his lifetime, Walter Ulbricht was hated by some and worshipped by others as the first man of the state and leader of the party. But in Western polemics as well as in SED historiography, he remained strangely faceless. The first volume of a comprehensive biography, recently published, evaluates these sources for the first time and describes his youth, his rise as KPD functionary until 1933 and his years in exile. It becomes clear where his roots were and what drove him before he returned to Germany to lead socialism to victory.
Dr. Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk, historian, Berlin/Bayreuth.