Gut wrenchingly prophetic.
I love how the tension builds in the lead up to the war. The politics of then and now are much the same - the constant push and pull between conservatism, nationalism and more progressive politics. It also illustrates the danger of allowing one party to overwhelm the state and the omnipotence of the state.
Excellent narrator who has paced the action very well.
At times I felt as if I wanted to shout and scream at the participants in this slice of history - to warn and slap some of them. It seems almost inconceivable that they could not see Hitler for what he was in the face of his relentless mendacity.
I picked this book up as I wanted a companion to Winston Churchill's history of WWII - as Churchill's was incredibly subjective and obviously one sided. It soon over took Churchill's and I ended up finishing this marathon book. It is worth every penny.
This is by far the best account of WW2 you will ever hear. It is not just an excellent book about history, it will also help you understand how dictatorial leaders can arise out of economic and political chaos and threaten the world. It is a blow by blow intimate account from a man who was there when it happened. Its riveting, fascinating and amazingly detailed without being boring! It sounds a warning for today 2016 and what is happening in the world that we do not make the same mistake. Sadly what we learn from history is that we don't learn from history!! You will not be disappointed.
I would not have gotten as much from the book if I had simply read it.
Audible made the words of William L. Shirer come alive and rendered the gripping story of a cruel warlord in the most memorable way.
RU, Corona, California; January 26, 2016
Yes and I will probably will in the future. If you had to encapsulate the role of the Third Reich in foreign policy and war in a single book, this would be that single book. Shirer is writing in 1960 which looking back isn't very long after the war and he acknowledges that. But he's also writing with the release of Nazi foreign office papers that were suddenly accessible and with his own personal experience as a journalist in the Third Reich. He was with the German army the day France surrendered to the Nazis. It's fascinating to listen to the details of the discussions between Chamberlain and Hitler, the relationship between Hitler and Mussolini, and the relationship between Hitler and his generals. This is where Shirer's work really shines, each step that was first hand in these documents is dutifully explained, as if you were there for the discussions themselves. Anyone with some time and an interest in the Third Reich will likely enjoy it. Anytime I try to watch a documentary now on the Nazis I find it too one-dimensional compared to this book.
Shirer discusses Hitler's misconceptions about the United States. Hitler's advisors and informants on the US had told him something to the effect of that the US wanted to annex Canada. Hitler believed this and wondered why the US would cooperate with the UK if we wanted to annex one of their colonies. This was an interesting anecdote I was not familiar with.
I haven't listened to anything else by him. But he was very good. Excellent.
In the epilogue, Shirer discusses a lot of the criticism he had from historians at the time he wrote this. But it's become one of the standard books on the Third Reich. I would also recommend Evans' trilogy of the Third Reich. I haven't listened to the audio, but I think if you liked that series you will like this. Or if you like this you might want to check out Evans' take. Shirer focuses on foreign office papers that were available after the war and a lot of the diplomacy that took place before as well as events and troop movements in the war. Evans' trilogy is more in depth (because he had three books, and many more decades and the work of other historians to help him put it together) and goes into a lot more of the day to day and the experiences of the German people themselves, the non-elites. As well as a lot more on what was happening to the Jews. Shirer, despite living there, doesn't touch on that as much. Maybe he felt at the time there was a lot of contemporary coverage of that. Similarly, Evans doesn't cover a lot of the play by play of the diplomacy or the war. Since he uses Shirer's diaries as a source sometimes, it's likely he wanted his series to compliment Shirer's series. So the two really compliment one another for those interested in the Third Reich.
I'll try anything once.
I enjoyed The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Shirer does a good job of providing an accurate account of what happened. I felt like I actually know Shirer after finishing this book. This book is full of his opinions and insights. I wasn't born until many years after World War II and being able to dig into a history of the 3rd Reich written shortly after the end of World War II is special. It feels more authentic in away because some of the language is outdated. I definitely enjoyed this book.
Rather than rehash the tired work of biased academics, Shirer uses primary sources (journals, sworn testimony, personal interviews of Nazi officers) and his first-hand accounts as a foreign journalist who lived and reported from inside the country during the war years. Thus, this is an exhaustive, unparalleled recounting of the enigmatic Third Reich; from seed to felled tree. This is a brilliant work of history. You need this in your collection.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich ranks among the top five literary works I have ever read, and is definitely the greatest work of Historical NonFiction I've encountered. The audio performance by the reader is fantastic. This audiobook receives my strongest recommendation.
There were so many things that I didn't know about Hitler's rise. I really didn't understand how he could go from being a "nobody" to being the dictator of Germany.
An incredible work: thorough and objective, yet constantly engaging in its telling. Jaw-dropping details of the horror and oppressiveness of the Third Reich over the twelve years of Hitler's reign. It's so important to understand how close we were from a different world.
The narration is perfect for such a book: engaging style and great pronunciation of names and cities.
If I could give 10 stars I would.
After years of procrastination, mostly due to its length, I finally started to listen to this audiobook. I'm sorry it took so long for me to commit to it. Not only is it well researched, it is unbelievably well written and well performed. I looked forward to putting my headphones on every day for the time it took me to get through this masterpiece.
For anyone interested with how history could've allowed this man, and this party, to rise to power, this is the definitive resource to not justify, but to explain how the turn of events created the domination and insanity that was 1930s and 40s Germany.
While certainly not a short read, it is most definitely a fantastic one. It is no wonder why this is the definitive work on the topic.