Avid reader all of my life! Favorite author: Stephen King. Favorite book: Hyperion.
This historical analysis about how Germany and Hitler rose to power, began the conquest of Europe, and ultimate demise is easily one of the most (if not the most) spell-binding listens I have come across. When I first got the book, I felt daunted by how long it is (57hrs), but once I started, I could not stop. The author provides incredible insight into the events that led up to Hitler's rise to power, and the responses to Germany's growing strength by the many countries of Europe.
This is a must-listen for any history buff.
I fully expected this book to be boring and difficult to get through. I was wrong. It is true that it was painful to review the atrocities exacted by the inhumane treatment of fellow human being who became more beastly than human. It helped answer some questions I always had regarding the German people and continues to haunt me every time I read of anti-Semitic attacks that still exist in today's world. Let us not repeat history or allow it to be repeated. Let us learn from this account of one of the darkest periods in world history.
I had been meaning to read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" for years. With Audible, I've done that. The book did not disappoint in any sense. A fine history, and a sense of WWII from Germany's and Hitler's perspective.
The author's perspective as an eye witness reporter lends to us a unique opportunity in the telling of history to see it from the inside. The account is evidenced with primary sources, including captured Nazi war and political documents; speeches of Hitler and Goebels are re-examined for context and insight into their strange machinations. Hitler's Mine Kamp is surveyed for historical and philosophical relevance. It is as comprehensive a book on the subject of the military and political rise of Nazi Germany as I would expect or want in a single work and the Narration is excellent, taking the listener fluidly through foot notes, quotations, and narratives. This is an excellent product both in content and delivery.
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany is a non-fiction book by William L. Shirer chronicling the rise and fall of Nazi Germany from the birth of Adolf Hitler in 1889 to the end of World War II in 1945. It was first published in 1960. I first read the book in 1964. This time I listened to it on Audible. Either read is highly recommended; to anyone having to know how such a catastrophe could have occurred. Short answer, blind faith in rhetoric that excites the ego, provides irrational answers to one’s inner failure and an urge to dominate as a salve to that inner hurt.
The two most unique aspects of the book are that it is a complete compendium of occurrences from Hitler’s birth through the fall of the Reich in 1945, and I do mean complete, and it is written by a journalist, which means it is told as though each calamity just occurred and you were being told of it as in reading the daily news. That is a report from the Washington Post, not the New York Post.
If you are a student of history, this will provide thought, guidance on how to avoid the tragedy again (although I am sure humanity will not have learned anything from its past), and provide concern for the future of man. Read the Rise and Fall and you will know what that War was about, get a sense of its progenitors and their horribleness and finally an explanation of all major European events leading to power, the making of war and the reason the Allied forces prevailed.
This is a story of how demented people took power, how people are too weak to want to provide full analysis, the less then frail competence of those who carried out orders, and how really voluminous evil unleashed can be. A brilliant study and a truly worthwhile read for any student of history; but be aware, it is sorrowful and thus difficult to learn what occurred.
What it is: A detailed account of the interworkings of Nazi society, politics, and foreign policy. Shiver makes excellent use of captured Nazi foreign office documents to reveal secret communications between various members of the Third Reich in its most critical moments. You come away with a great sense of the persons involved, the context of their actions, and their goals. You also can grasp the roles of other persons and nations as well outside of Nazi Germany and, though many of their reactions in light of our present knowledge were so inept, you can (almost) see their point of view. I was entertained the whole way through. Sometimes I wish I had more places to drive to listen to it more.
As an aside: For those who begin listening to it (as I did) and wonder where/when/if he would begin to describe the atrocities of the Holocaust, he saves his description towards the end of the book. It seems a strange timing for this part of the history, but it is nonetheless powerful and unnerving.
What it is NOT: Shirer was an American journalist during the rise of Nazi Germany. He had met and spoken with (or at the very least had heard and formed opinions of) many of the people who he subsequently writes about. There are clearly those he is not particularly fond of and he deftly hurls a series of "old-school" insults wherever he can (intellectual gangster, morally bankrupt, spineless, lackey etc.). My personal favorite are the times he refers to Hitler as that "one time Austrian waif and vagabond." There is definitely a personal element to this history reading. That said, in my opinion, this only improves the overall narrative and I felt much more connected to and engrossed by the overall story, which it must be said, is painstakingly researched. Most of his insults, by the way, I'm sure have a definite element of truth and also bring you closer to the characters. Do people REALLY think they are going to feel something positive or redeeming about the main Nazi actors given more impartial reading?
It is also not particularly focused on MILITARY history. Battles are mentioned with some detail, enough to give an overall concept, but this is not the book for you if you are looking for valiant war stories of soldiers and generals involved in particular battles.
Grover Gardner's narration is one of a kind. His diction has enough of an "old-world" flair to it that makes it seem like he is reading to you right as Shirer was typing it up on his typewriter, smoking a cigarette, and drinking a scotch. I could listen to Grover Gardner read the phonebook. I'm not even sure Morgan Freeman would've done any better.
At first I was dazed my the extensive details provided by the author. As I got further into it, I was amazed of the accounts and the story-telling in such a matter-of-fact way.
Sad, terrible but true this important part of history.