The detailed style got taught be a lot of things I did not know. A school's education of history could not prepare me for this level of detail -- nor can it being a german for over 40 years.
The authenticity, the reports (the author calls "objective")
Does a good job, speaks clearly
Deeply moving, authentic and objective
The author has written a truly remarkable book. It has only a few downsides, they are minor, but I will name them nonetheless. He calls his book "objective" and it is, because he is writing from first hand observation, collected reports and brings in other sources. But as a journalist he should know that using so many adjectives when describing people is not a good "objective style" ("the narrow-minded X", "the dull-witted Y", etc).
I also have the feeling that the author falls into the same trap as the subjects he writes about when he talks about his opinion of germans, mainly in the prologue and epilogue. He simplifies and is prejudiced. The reduction of the german to "is used to obey commands since the middle ages (or was it the roman imperium?)" is ridiculous. In his prologue he is writing from a 1960s point of view and I could understand his hesitance towards germany at that time. But the epilogue written in the 1990s just after the Wiedervereinigung shows he did not change his view on germany as a whole -- that I found a bit unsettling, because I *know* germany as a country is *not* what it has been up to 1945. I speak as a german and -- I hope -- a world citizen.
I wrote too long about this small issue: The book is still truly remarkable, educational and deeply, very deeply moving. I regret that it has had better critiques outside of germany then inside it. I find it should be mandatory reading in schools, especially german ones. Only not forgetting will make it never happen again.
The writing was compelling. The delivery was crisp. The book is massive, but Grover Gardner is a pleasure to listen to, and is extremely effective.
The most memorable moment of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich was the record from the Nuremberg interrogation of Otto Ohlendorf, commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe D, who casually remarked that in the one year he served as commander of a mobile death squad, he had killed 90,000 people.
I first read this book over 40 years ago and it left a strong impression. Nonetheless, I was pleased to discover that it still tells a powerful story of the insanity that was Nazi Germany. So many details had slipped away over the years, that listening was a very fresh experience.
The author's on-site presence for many of the early events in the narrative provided a unique view of the rise of the Nazi's and his access to many of the main players and their records, so soon after the war, provide an historical view that holds up surprisingly well 50 years after it was written. It is definitely a book of its time and the politically correct will find fault with the author's views on a couple of sensitive issues.
The narration is excellent, entirely appropriate to the subject and easy to listen to for the many, many hours it takes.
If you are into live news channels this is for you. It is not an in depth scholarly piece looking at individual elements, it is more like rolling news in Germany in WW2. It is fascinating as it is first hand; not by a scholar generations removed.Very few judgments are made, it is written as if it was being reported at the time by the reporter thus there is no time doing this to take sides (note the author was in NAZI Germany before/during/after WW2).
We know the horrors of WW2 too well but how many of us have listened to first hand experiences of WW2? Well this is the one. If that is what you are looking for you will enjoy this. The only caveat is that it is written in the way news is reported more than a scholarly piece - this makes it less detailed considerably but much more easily absorbed and at times "exciting" to listen to. For those amateur historians new to WW2 it is a great starting point. It won't make you an expert but you will have a very good grasp of all the most important events, perhaps not in great detail, but all of them certainly.
A wonderful narration of a must read. Learn how we got to where we are today as a nation, why our nation thinks the way it does. How the fate of the modern world was determined. Understand the consequences of extreme nationalism. Learn the methodology of a psychopath and how they manipulate, outsmart and intimidate those around them. Learn the consequences of inaction against injustice. Visualize the world of an elite race, that puts itself above what they considered inferior races and nationalities, then exterminates and enslaves them to make a better life for themselves. Learn how corporations make profits from the war machine and death camps without conscience. Learn how Russia won the war by sending endless waves of their own population to die wave after wave against the German onslaught. (26 million).
This book becomes the most terrifying of all because it is non fiction. Listen and learn.
This is a very interesting book and I love the details in which the author has described this era of history. However, as the author mentioned in his own forward, to call this book strictly a "historical" text, would be false. This author has obvious prejudices that come across in nearly every chapter. This is probably due to his directly being alive, affected, and the actions witnessed by the author. While the overall text has a sense of being based on fact and the sheer amount of detail is wonderful, there is a strong undertone of the justification of blame to be on the German people for submitting to the dictatorship of Hitler, the reference in in the first 16 hours of the book of homosexuals as "sexual deviants" and with a general tone of distain, and other such discrepancies throughout the book. This gives the entire text a feeling of being dated, where a pure account of history should have a sense of timelessness. The narration is great and the book paints a vivid picture of the events of WWII. I would recommend this to any history buff, or to someone interested in WWII/Third Reich. However, listen with just the slightest bit of scepticism.
Parts, but not the whole thing, in fact I already have. Again, not the whole thing because it is such an extensive work.
The parts after NAZI Germany began to lose.
The story doesn't have scenes, and in this book I'm not sure there are favorite parts to be had. I can say that I wept like a baby the entire 27th chapter, which focuses specifically on NAZI atrocities, although the Third Reich was so awful that there are atrocities that show up in almost every chapter.
'Thankfully for humanity, the NAZI gangster empire was snuffed out in its infancy.' Not sure if that's a direct quote or a paraphrase, but even by just typing it out tears began to well up to my eyes.
This is a profoundly moving volume.
Among the best
It is an amazingly detailed book and chilling that it is non-fiction
I read this book in hardcover as a teen; listening to it a second time forced me to listen to everything and I realized how thorough this book really is. It is definitely a political history rather than a military one, though of course it necessarily deals with a lot of military components. The pace is very good, though I do feel that Shirer spent too much time on certain aspects of the Third Reich - especially the conspiracies to murder Hitler. Since these were ultimately unsuccessful and incompetently handled, it felt strange that he would spend so much time talking about them.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book - it is a classic for a reason. As long as it is, there are of course some passages that seem to drag, but not as many as you would expect. Grover Gardner was the ideal reader for this book. He has a very even tempo and his voice is excellent.
If you're interested in WWII history and have never read this book, I give it my hearty recommendation.