I just completed all 3 books in the series and enjoyed them. Narrator Shawn Pratt got on my nerves at first but in the long run his voice was comfortable. I would have liked more time devoted to Hitler but that's just my preference. Also, much time was given to details of how Nazism effected every aspect of life. I wearied at times anxious to get to the next segment or chapter. I am thankful that when describing the treatment of the Jews' persecutions, tortures, and deaths Evans used restraint. In other words he could have been much more graphic describing rapes and tortures. The imagination can take care of what is lacking.
I like the fact that he portrayed the leaders of Nazism as brute beast worthy of the worst punishments for the horror for which they were responsible Nevertheless, no book or books will EVER capture the summary of evil that took place in Europe during WWII.
Max Fisher of Rushmore Academy
I'm halfway through this epic piece of research, but I can't take any more. I was hoping for the promised "fresh insights into the conflict’s great events" but instead found an impenetrable listing of one Nazi atrocity after another. From time to time the book threatened to become original and interesting, particularly when examining the Nazi wartime economy and internal power struggles, but these gems were so few and far between the vast and gut-wrenching slogs through Nazi horrors I cannot find the will to go on.
Furthermore, the narrative tying these events together can best be compared to that of a text book (in other words, it's almost absent).
To experience what this book intended, I recommend The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer.
This book is about the Third Reich development during the Second World War and not a history of the war itself. The author describes the steps adopted by the Nazi State in war, since the invasion of Poland. Special attention is paid to the eugenic ideology of Nazism. The mass murder of gypsies, jew and mental sickness are referred. The final solution of the Jewish question produced the murder by german troops of 5.5 million jews (6 million with the help of german's allies). The book gave special attention to it. The war economy and the war machine in german are described and confronted with the allies effort in war time. The main battles in the west and east fronts are mentioned by the author, in order to show the german concept of total war. Interesting and useful remarks are given about the morality of the Third Reich as it appears in literature, movies, theater, radio and arts. In the final chapters, contemplating the defeat of Nazism, the author mentioned the suicides of many nazi officials and the judgments of others. The legacy of the Third Reich, so argues Richard Evans, consists in revealing the possibilities of totalitarianism. One must learn with history.
The Third Reich at War rates at the top of my audiobook list. Richard Evans brings the Third Reich to life as clearly as if it were drawn from today's news. I've listened to it twice through now and will probably give it a third go. I've been reading WWII history for 50 years (yes, really) and this is one of the best I've read.
I've seen other reviewers slam Sean Pratt's narration. He does have odd pauses, but I got used to them and found they helped me absorb the words. This isn't fiction, and shouldn't be read as such. I'm actually looking for more that he's narrated.
At 30 hours + this is a little more than I'd even try in five or six sittings. The whole series, though, including Coming of the Third Reich and Third Reich in Power, combined with this volume, make a stunning summary of the era.
I've recently re-read Rise and Fall of Third Reich, and Evans' history is on a par with Shirer's classic. Shirer has the immediacy of having been in Germany for part of the period, but Evans has the objectivity that time bestows (at least in theory).
retired litigation lawyer; I read history; historical fiction; literary fiction. Narrator ++ important. Story equally so
This series have been extensively reviewed by others, so ( for whomever follows me) I add my .2 worth
First as to Mr Pratt. Narrators are always very important to me, i.e., I will pass on good story with a bad narrator 100% of the time. For years I passed on this series, though it interested me, because of the scathing reviews of Mr Pratt. Finally, though, with nothing else interesting to me at the moment...I just dove in and took a chance with him. He was ....fine. He did not detract from my listening. Hugely bad for many, I acknowledge. Ok for me.
I listened to all 3 series in one go, all 90+ hours, and this very brief review is for all 3
First the good. The 1st book, " The Coming of the Third Reich" I feel is the best of the 3. Anyone who is going to listen to 90+ hrs on Nazi Germany, me included, are familiar with this time in history, I suspect. But many start circa 1933 or so, and Evans gives a very interesting background explanation of Germany 1890 or so-1939. Compelling. Well worth the listen
The Bad: The 2nd book, I agree with so many others, is mind numbing in its minutiae of society under Nazi rule. Everything. Government .Artists. Writers. Teachers. Students. Bankers.Dairy farmers ( broken down into sub categories of dairy farmers.....). On and on and on. Boring. Wish this book was 15 hours, not 35
And what was missing for me: of course Mr Evans covers the persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust in detail ( and then some). But he describes, rather than explores or tries to explain, why it happened. Meaning he tells you ( as an example) german soldiers threw babies against walls to crush their skulls, but does not attempt to explain, or try to explain, how so many became so..evil ( I know he cannot succeed but others have tried). How men such as these could have reached such depravity, or murdered so many millions, with such ( apparent ) indifference ( this is not entirely accurate - he does mention the psychological damage on some, but overall, the reader is left wanting.)
Do I recommend the series? Yes to the first book, yes to the 3rd, and no to the 2nd ( so get only if you are unlike myself who compulsively has to listen to every single minute of an audiobook before I can satisfy myself I have listened to it)
Very compelling stories. Makes you aware of how once evil has taken hold, it holds fast and takes everything down. Personally i thought this was much better than the shrier history (even if less technical).
If you are interested in another chestnut about what those horrible Nazis did to those poor innocent Jews, you'll love this. If you're looking for a well researched account of National Socialist Germany during the 1939-1945 period you will be sickened by the B.S. you will be forced to endure.
This needs to be re-labelled as the propoganda it actually is.