This is an impressive book on a fascinating subject, but flawed in a few important ways. Obviously, because it covers the history of more than a decade, and a momentous one at that, it is forced to gloss over many details despite its length. This made it quite frustrating, therefore, when the author spends chapter after chapter devoted to German conspiracies against Hitler which, by his own argument, failed to do anything useful. The endless repetition of plots that went nowhere quickly grew tiresome, and, since I already knew they failed to kill Hitler, I found the stories of their ineptitude rather beside the point.
More generally, this book suffers from a problem of tone. The author was a journalist in Berlin before the war, and therefore was not a young man even when writing this book in the 60's. His personal anecdotes of meeting many of the people discussed were interesting, but many of his portrayals are colored by these impressions. He shows his age also in his moralizing tone, especially with regard to homosexuality, and his, um, 'old fashioned' terminology with regard to race (nipponese? really?).
Finally, it is important to know going in that the author is a journalist and not a historian, and it shows. His tone is not nearly as objective as I would have liked, and his focus wanders. I went into this book knowing nothing about the author, who is very present in the book, and so expecting a more objective work such as we might see about the napoleonic wars. This is not that book. That is not to say it is a bad book. It does cover this period in much greater depth than any single volume I've ever read, and the author's personal reminiscence is sometimes quite interesting. If you are looking to learn more about the war or Nazi Germany, this book will probably help. Just be aware that it might not be exactly what you were hoping for.
Enjoy long books, history and lots of classic British stuff.
One of the must read books of all time
Takes a long time to read but worth all of the 57 hrs plus
If you haven't then this is a must read book. The narrator makes the book far more interesting.
It has taken me forever to finally listen to this book. I'd being putting it off for many months always preferring something smaller and less complicated to cater to my ADHD mind. However I finally took the plunge and wish I had earlier. This is a marvelously written book and Grover Gardner is a fantastic narrator, one of my favorites.No doubt those with a finer appreciation of some of the historical points will find some or other factual error or incorrect interpretation, but this is an audio book well worth investing the time to listen too. The story flows naturally and without boring the reader or becoming slow and ponderous. The author clearly knew how to keep ones attention and you will get much pleasure from listening to this audio title.
Impossible I think for a book of this length although if I could I surely would!
Best book ever
This book is in a league of its own
Hitler's vagabond days were very interesting.
This is the most thorough, well-researched, informative book I have ever read (well, listened to). Unbelievable details about the Third Reich, from Goebbels' diary to the day to day communications of the foreign office it's all here in this book. And the performance is spectacular. Highly recommended!
Putting books on the back burner.
I've been reading WWII for many years, but I have never read the most comprehensive book about Nazi Germany and Hitler until I bought "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." I cannot say enough of this book. It is by far the best book out there on the subject and the most complete to tell what went on the enemy's side.
Most books that I've read thus far has always been troops, fighting the German and how we conquer each battle and ultimately won the war, but I never read anything in depth on what went on with Hitler and his troops and the demolishing their iron curtain.
Instead of reading about battles, troops on the fields, air raids, and street parades of winning the war, The Third Reich is all about a history of Nazi Germany. There is no happy ending for them during that period of time. The book is overwhelming at times because there is so much information that has not been presented by other authors, but even at 57 hours and 13 minutes, I manage to finish the book in 10 days.
There are no other novels out there that explains about the enemy besides this one.
Simply, it's a must read for any history major on what really went on besides the war.
I beg to differ that you will find any new information that William L. Shirer already presented in "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich."
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.