Looking back on my education in high school, I find it appalling as to how major, world altering events were glossed over in trivial fashion. The history of the second world war tends to be a hefty a chapter in most curriculum in high schools around the globe, but the history of Nazi Germany is relegated to a few paragraphs (at least it was in my case). In many ways, one should view that as borderline criminal. To me history is all about the "whys and hows" rather than the "what happened and when". In that light, "The rise and fall of the third Reich" is an in depth look into the "whys and hows" of the what is undoubtedly one of the darkest chapters of humanity.
Why was the treaty of Versailles such a blow to Germany?
How could the land that birthed the likes of Engels, Richter, Brahms, Beethoven and so many other cultural icons also create a Hitler?
Why did Hitler think the way he did?
Why was Nazism so popular (if it even was)?
How on earth could Germany create and field an army of such devastating strength and volume right under the noses of everyone else?
Was Adolf brilliant and fearless or just lucky and plain crazy?
And many, many other questions like these.
After going through this book it became apparent to me as to why Shirer's work is taken to be "the" definitive text on the rise and fall of the third Reich. It is very thoroughly researched and though the author does have personal inputs, he does well to openly admit to his biases in the rare cases where they do exist. It is obvious that Shirer was a foreign corespondent of high quality and as such, his status as reporter gave him the kind of access that historians would kill to have. It is also interesting (and a little amusing) to see some of the politically incorrect phrases and view points that sometimes show up. If anything, they only add to the charm of the book, although this is admittedly a personal opinion.
Grover Gardner does a good job of narrating the book. This is a long listen and to his credit, Gardner had me rapt with attention. His delivery did make me miss some of the weighty and warm tones that someone like Charlton Griffin brings to his performances but this again, is a personal opinion.
Any way you look at it, "The rise and fall of the third Reich" is one of the most important works of modern history. If it were up to me, I'd make this required reading in high schools everywhere.
Absolutely! It is engaging, interesting, and enlightening. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
It is laid out in a manner that is easy to follow and gives you the ability to see how Hitler came to power and the way he thought.
No, but I very much enjoyed this one.
Although very long, this is a must for anyone interested in history.
I will probably listen to it again, but it will be at least a year before I do. This is a very long and detailed historical accounting of the Third Reich and requires concentration, but it is worth the effort.
It would have to be mini series, but my tag line would be "No detail left out"
I have only read about a dozen WWII books, but this is the first book by a journalist who lived and reported on the war first hand. My other books are historical perspective books. This book has the feel of the man who saw Hitler et al in action. This experience along with what had to be years of research of actual Nazi documents make for an exceptionally thorough telling of the story. I did enjoy this book, but I must admit I am exhausted and ready to listen to something lighter. Once I've had a break, I will listen to it again as there are many details I could not keep straight. I want to absorb the information at least one more time to further my understanding of recent world history.
When I was in high school, I read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". I just listened to it on Audible. It really is an extraordinary book about a truly unbelievable series of events. I really think everyone should read or listen to it at least once. If you think you know the story, trust me you don't. It is long to be sure, but I can't recommend it highly enough. Listen to it. It will change the way you think about everything.
informative, engrossing, emotional
The way that Shirer puts you right in the middle of Hitler's inner circle, and his thoughts, in the months and days leading up to WWII are fascinating. You actually feel as if you are a fly on the wall sitting in on events that would lead up to one of the most terrible events in human history.
This is impossible to answer. Gardner immediately became my favorite narrator of all-time after hearing this book. He brings this epic tome to life in a way that's impossible to imagine without listening to it. It would take something special to live up to the brilliant work of Shirer's work and Gardner is definitely up to the task.
As long as this book is I have listened to it numerous times and have discovered something new each time. I imagine that I will listen to it many more times throughout the years.
If you are at all interested in WWII or the Nazis or Adolph Hitler and are on the fence about this book you need to jump off that fence and buy this book now. If you only listen to one audiobook in your life let it be this one. I cannot praise this book enough. It was the first audiobook I ever listened to and it sparked my newfound love of this fascinating genre.
Fly On Wall.The German leaders documented everything. Very many "private" meetings contained a stenographer, or witness, in order for their historic machinations to be recorded, enshrined, studied, and celebrated centuries later, with the war won and Europe re-formed. Shirer, beginning a decade after the war, spent years reading the enemy's meticulous records of meetings and interviewing persons who were there. HE was there, in a few cases.
No other book so takes you into Hitler's inner sanctum, except Albert Speer's, and Speer wasn't privy to most of the strategy sessions that this book reveals.
A year later I don't recall the narration getting in the way.
It's too long for that.It drags in a few places, but I let it run. The few such areas, mostly early in the book, set the table for the jaw-dropping passages. And very many times, listening, I felt a mental "chink," as my previous understanding of WWII suddenly solidified. Another puzzle piece falling into place - another insight gained, as I realized why things happened as they did.
You learn Why Hitler made the decisions he did. Why, for instance, with Europe well in hand, did he invade Russia? What was he THINKING? You will confidently understand the answer, after listening to this book. There will be many times when you will say to yourself, "So THAT'S it!" This is the glue that links other bits of WWII knowledge, and without it my knowledge of the war was incomplete. Over a year after listening, this book still resonates, and stands out among the scores and scores of Audiobooks I have listened to as arguably the very best.
This book was such a great read and at over 57 hours, it took a while. In fact, it was one of those things, almost like Breaking Bad being over, where you just sat there for a while with silence pondering all that it meant to listen to it. This guy was in Germany during many of the pivotal parts of this time and this book, being written when it was, was a great primary source for so much information. His stories about the Nazi's and Germany itself, were compelling and terrorfying. I cannot imagine a better book to listen too to understand the full depth and breadth of that evil band.
The thing is, any other history prior to this seems to be dated, top hats, roaring 20s, dust bowl, depression, and yet, the reality of this story clamours and vibrates right into the frontal cortex of our brains to this day so obtrusively, that with their type writers, uniforms, planes, cars, we can recognize this world as very similar to our own. And, in an age that tries to stand up high and say we are now above the barbarism of the ancient worlds, this still bears us in the face. We have to ask ourselves, how? We recognize that the people that made up the cities and villages of Germany could not have been too different from us. They look like a lot of peoples' grand parents, and they are too. So, this being the fundamental watershed moment of the 20th century, i suggest you do indeed look it straight in the face here, through this fine production, a classic, based on endless reams of firsthand documentation, riveting.
Now it is a mammoth, and perhaps you will have to take breaks getting through this (i listened to a book or two in between before finally finishing it). It is heavy subject matter, as intriguing as it remains. The perspective is the German government. The inside world of the beuracracy, politics and war rooms. At the center of course is Hitler. At the center is this insane ideology. And a hurricane sparks to save Germany from poverished times through promises of order and stability. They got those things. There is the genius of Hitler's political maneuvering. He becomes a savior.
So much of this story will always of course be beyond understanding. Shirer tells it as it occurred through the remaining documentation and the accounts of the nuhremburg trials. But if nothing else, you as a reader/listener in a way enter into this world. And so from that perspective, you may have as much insight into it as someone who was living there at the time, looking back; though even that, after all is said and done, perhaps isn't worth that much.
strength is power. is an approach to the world that will leave you in shame. hitler was a wolf-person. these are among the key insights i took away from the work.
This is the classic account of Nazi Germany written by an eyewitness to historical events. This book is thoroughly researched and brimming with painstaking references to the captured secret documents of the National Socialist regime and to the Nuremberg trial archives. A truly magnificent history book by a non-historian. Mr. Shirer was a journalist, one of Edward R. Murrow's "boys," which means this book is written in an engaging and dynamic fashion. I personally love how he repeatedly refers to Hitler as "the tramp from Vienna" or "the former corporal." This is a "big history" book, concerned with big men and big events. I would suggest listening to it along with Richard J.Evans' trilogy on the Third Reich, which gives a "man on the street" account of Nazi Germany, and you will have as good an understanding of this subject as can be expected from a lay person. The performance by Mr. Gardner is spot on.
Phew, finally finished. This book is only exceeded in length by War and Peace and the Bible, and finishing it is a serious accomplishment.
This book is outstanding. The narration is flawless and perfect for the subject. When I bought it, knowing the length, I thought it was going to feel like a painful undertaking. Within a chapter, I was totally engrossed, and that continued to the end. I kept reading because I truly wanted to. I had no idea the history of the Nazis would be so fabulously entertaining. For one of the lowest moments in human history, it's an amazingly interesting. I think the 30s and 40s were so profoundly different than now, not to mention the German people so different, that it's compelling to learn about them in that time. Surprisingly, despite being nearly 60 years old, it does not read as old.
This book, in a way, plays with your psychology, in a way I had not expected. You know the horrors of the Nazis. You know they were horrible people, murderers, and heartless butchers. Yet while reading this, I'm almost embarrassed to admit, being written mainly from their point of view makes you almost root for them, at times. Of course, the book is quick to remind you of the millions who lost their lives (including millions of brave Americans), of the horrible treatment and annihilation of the Jews, and of the rampant racism that was seemingly acceptable at the time. This psychology makes it almost possible to understand how the German people could get wrapped up in a charismatic leader who propped them up as a superior race.
Part of the charm of this book is that it describes so many things completely unthinkable, yet it is a work of historical non-fiction. It's almost unthinkable today that the Nazis would speak openly at rallies of Jews needing to be eliminated, and of the superiority of the German race, while thousands in the crowd cheered. In fact, it was usually the main topic of their rallies. Hitler openly published his desires for the end of Jewry and the domination of Europe years before he was in power, and despite Mein Kampf being a best seller, the world didn't seem to pay attention, or didn't mind. Anything even remotely close to this today would be immediately condemned, so it is so hard to imagine that this was acceptable in the 1930s.
It was also amazing to learn how close the Nazis came to ruling Europe. It is quite possible that, if Hitler hadn't made some serious grievous mistakes (mainly, attacking Russia, and even then if he had attacked Russia before the winter), Germany would've ruled the entire European mainland. Had this happened, we may never have known of their butchery, of their crimes against humanity, or it may have been too late for European Jews, or we may have been powerless to stop it even if we had. History is written by the victors, and I doubt a victorious Germany would've let the world know of it's holocaust. It is highly doubtful we would have had the relatively peaceful second half of the 20th century that led to the modern and stable western world we have today. A dominant Nazi Germany with time to develop the atom bomb was shockingly not far from a reality, as this book makes all too clear.
This book is built from the personal experience of the author who was a reporter in Germany during the rise of the Nazis, as well as extensive research of the wealth of documents that survived. It does an outstanding job of wrapping your head around the unthinkable truth, supplying you with all the gory details, while being thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end.