I've listened to a number of WWII history books now, and am in the middle of this one. The writing is good and engaging. If you enjoy political and social history, you'll enjoy this book. However, the reader has a strange cadence and pauses and hesitates in the oddest places. Normally I can get over something like that, but I have to admit that in this case, it's really bad and distracting. Not enough to ruin the book completely, but definitely irritating at times.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This book begins with an introduction that was a bit off-putting. I had just finished listening to William L. Shirer’s popular THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH (RFTR) and learned a lot from Shirer’s narrative of the inside workings of the Nazi Party. Evan’s introduction pointed out that RFTR has been universally panned by the more academic historians. I then approached the balance of the book with some trepidation; not anxious to listen to some pompous dry work of pure scholarship or to possibly have my preconceptions shattered on what I thought I knew about WWII history. What followed was less a deconstruction of my WWII knowledge than an expansion. I thought the strong point of RFTR was on the rise of the Nazi party to power but Shirer barely scratched the surface. Richard J. Evans goes into the various cultural, political and economic currents that led to the Nazi Party. He traces the history of Germanic thought back to the time of Charlemagne, to the First Reich. I found this narrative history to be eminently accessible and engaging. After listening to this book I can begin to understand why the account of RFTR was incomplete; it just does not dig deep enough into the background of the German people to offer a full understanding ot the factors that led to the rise of Adolph Hitler. The Nazi movement was a product of years of Teutonic life in the shadow of strong rulers and a patriotic fervor that bordered on religion. Evans puts forth so many interesting concepts that I think it will require a second listening for me to grasp an understanding of the factors that led to the rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 20th century..
Sean Pratt reads the text clearly and has excellent enunciation. His narration becomes transparent quickly making assimilation of the material possible.
The historical description at 30,000 feet was nice. I came to the book with zero knowledge of German history. I have to say that at the end of the book I had more questions than answers, but the purpose of the book is not to give an in depth analysis. The goal is to give an understanding of how Hitler and the Third Reich came to power -- and it does that. Someone with knowledge of German history looking for depth will probably be a little disappointed.
Definitely gave me a deeper understanding of how Hitler came to power. I found the movement in Germany for a return to a monarch and a turn away from democracy particularly interesting -- that is so foreign to the US way of thinking.
Probably not. This book taught me a lesson - even though I might be interested in a particular era of history, there are historians, like Richard J. Evans (author) that are far more knowledgeable. If you are looking for names of people and political parties that influenced Germany's place in European history, then this is the book. It has enough references to keep you busy for the rest of your life. If you are looking for a simple book that explains the rise and fall in the Third Reich in common, simple terms, then this is the wrong book. This is a hard core, factual account of European events from the mid 19th century through the mid 20th century with emphasis on Germany . It is not intended for the listener that is looking for entertainment simultaneous with education. The book was wasted on me.
It rates right up there at the top of all the books I have read or listened to.
All the back ground facts.
I thought I knew how this man crept up the power chain until I listened to this account. Anyone wanting to avoid evil should read or listen to this book.
High School Reading and English Teacher
Details the complex web of circumstances that allowed Hitler to rise to power. Clearly his personality was unique in the combinations of his passions, his ruthlessness, and his political savvy, but the circumstances he took advantage of had to foster certain fears and desires among wide segments of society. This makes sense of it.
This is a great book, the first in a trilogy about the Third Reich. A lot has been written about Nazi Germany over the years, but this trilogy is unique in its extensive examination of life under the Third Reich through the use of letters, diaries, and eyewitnesses' accounts. Rather than focusing on just the political aspects of the era, Richard Evans also covers the culture and daily of life of regular people under the Nazi regime.
The first book begins decades before the Third Reich, and in it we learn that the beliefs expressed by the Nazis in their most extreme form were present in Germany since the days of Bismarck. It follows German history through the Great War and the shock of defeat. It examines the "stab in the back" myth and the German public's reaction to the Treaty of Versailles. It looks at fringe movements in German politics during the inter-war years, including the Nazi party. One of the most fascinating chapters in the book is about the seizure of power itself, when conservative politicians grossly miscalculated Hitler's influence by agreeing to a coalition government with the Nazi leader as premier. After taking power by "legal" means, Hitler proceeded to systematically eliminate all opposition, including his conservative allies, in building his totalitarian regime.
The performance is adequate but somewhat monotonous. It actually improves in the second and third books, as you can notice the narrator's subtle emotional response when describing the atrocities against european minorities perpetrated by the Nazis.
This is an essential trilogy for anyone with even a passing interest in 20th century history. I highly recommend it.
A great deal of history with explanations about traditions and beliefs were conveyed in a flowing account that was captivating. I came away realizing how little I knew about German beliefs and history impeded in the culture.
I highly recommend this book, and the other two in the trilogy. This first book provides details, in a definitive and entertaining way, illustrating how economic, social, military, political and cultural issues created the environment which allowed the Third Reich to come into existence and metastasize. I probably shouldn't use the medical term which conveys an emotional tone since the author's position is that the information should be presented objectively. He does present the information objectively and I agree that is the correct way.
It shows how arguably the most civilized society on the planet was transformed into one of the most uncivilized. It is hard to overstate the need for understanding this period in history and I believe this book goes a long way in providing that understanding. The extreme hardships and social turmoil in Germany which provided the incubator for the Nazi philosophy may not be unique. We should always remember that Hitler came to power in a democracy.
I liked them all.
One Size Fits None
The three part series by Richard J. Evans is an excellent history of the Third Reich split into three phases: the early years (until 1933), pre-war (1933-1939) and war years. This book is well researched, well thought out, well planned. It's really the foundation for the other two books, if you are going to listen to them.
On one level, reading this book is like sitting in the theater watching the stagehands set up the stage. You know who's going to be coming out and which chairs they'll sit in. You have a general idea where the chairs will probably be, and when the characters will be coming onstage (and sometimes leaving in unfortunate circumstancs). But in this book, the characters aren't entirely the individuals we all know. Some of them are the ideologies that drive the individuals (and the ordinary people whose names we'll never know). After you've heard this book you will come away knowing how the Nazis scrabbled and bullied their way into power. Themes set up in this book persist through the series. If you skipped this one, you would be fine with the others - but if you do listen to it, you'll get much more out of the rest. It could easily stand on its own. But as you get near the end, you're glad there are two more volumes. There's still so much to say.