I remember reading bits of this when I was younger. The book was so dense that I found the idea of reading the whole thing too daunting. However I kept coming back to it for historical research and began to view it as nice roadmap to that tragic era. I just finished listening to the totality of it and I am still impressed. The work has a point of view. That the nazi regime was murderous, criminal, and a low point for humanity. The works of the nazi themselves go a long way to bolstering Shirer's point of view. However he keeps his temper in check while recounting the events that led up to WWII and the catastrophic end of the 3rd Reich. As time goes by this work will only get more important since its author was there, in Berlin, during the rise of that regime. This not an opinion piece. In many ways the story is told through the captured Nazi documents that are oft quoted and printed in their entirety. The most damning condemnations of the 3rd Reich are in the actual words of its adherents.
excellent source of knowledge and understanding of the mind and attitude of Nazi Germany, well written, very well read and a nice flow to the story, even thou a bit long at times it was hard to stop listening.
highly recommended for any one intersted in history
Easily the best and most detailed history of the Nazi era. I thought I knew a ton about the Third Reich! Truth is I learned much more after listening to this intense and well written (read) audio book. The Narration was perfect as well. Invest in this book!!!! Easily the best investment you will make if you love history and war history.
When I was in high school (mid '60s) the paperback version was a must read by numerous classmates. The shear size of the book kept me away for 45 years. The advertised length (57 hours +) of the Audible version was a concern but price is attractive and I loved Shirer's "Berlin Diary" so I downloaded this version.
It's hard to imagine but the 57 hours flew by. The narration is smooth, well paced, and informed. The story-line is chilling. I too noticed Shirer's few moments of homophobia but that was limited to but a few sentences and addressed those in "the enemy" (possible rationalization, I know).
I loved this audio book. It's likely you will also.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history. The personal anecdotes give the whole book an amazing quality of personal narrative, while conveying a huge amount of information regarding WWII in the European theatre. I have meant to read this book for some 40 years, wish I had done it sooner. The narration is also excellent.
Just finished it. It has absorbed my mind for many days as I got through it all (and replayed various parts). Everyone else has already provided the accolades (for both Shirer and Grover) so I wont repeat them. It covers such sweeping breadth and yet provides a personal immediacy in the narrative that captures you from start to finish. It also provides an all important (and timeless) message about the frailty of freedom and the terrible consequences if it is lost.
This book is amazing and I highly recommended it for anyone with even a passing interest in WWII history. Shirer is able to alternately provide a big picture view of the Third Reich while providing the intimate "you are there" perspective that is constantly engaging. It is certainly helpful that the Third Reich was overflowing with characters, both terrible and farcical, that make for fascinating listening. It is equal parts political, social, and military history. Personally, I found the political and social aspects the most interesting parts of the book.
It is hard to believe that after 57 hours he could have left things out, but I wish he had done more writing about the social "on the home front" history of people in Germany after the outbreak of hostilities to match the detail he put in to the effect of the Third Reich leading up to the outbreak of war on ordinary people's lives. But that is just a small complaint within the larger work.
It is interesting some of the things that an author is allowed to do in a long book like this that are not possible in a traditional history book. You get to experience the almost supernaturally charmed life that Hitler led up to 1942 and his amazing ability to make just the right decision at the right time during the rise of the Third Reich. You also get to experience the slow descent into madness that Hitler experienced over the last couple of years and how he took an entire society down with him.
Yes, some of Shirer's attitudes are a bit dated (especially his attitude regarding homosexuality), but frankly what makes the book even more amazing is how smoothly the narrative flows over 50 years later. If all history was written in such an engaging style we would all be much better off. I found his undisguised disdain for some of the German leaders to be very effective in making the story ring even more true.
Finally, I can't say enough about the narration of Grover Gardner. He never lagged and did an absolutely superb job!
This is a LONG book. There is a lot of background story on the minor political details of Germany leading up to WW II. Well written and read, but lost my interest after a couple of hours.
I will soon be eighty one years young. I have had a very interesting life learning from it as well as enjoying it. I just published a book.
A wonderful, enjoyable read that all should read,and be at least be discussed in American schools. Full of details that even though I thought before my reading that I knew somewhat about I gained so very much from the research and style of Wm.Shirer.Yes, it could happen again. Next time it might not be Germany where it comes from. The only thing that can stop evil of this sort occuring once more is knowledge. Today in America there is too little of that. just have a conversation with the average high school student..