This was my first listen to a Shakespeare Appreciated production. I love Shakespeare but I am not an expert. So usually for me experiencing a play is more about how wonderful the words sound and the overall story. What was different about this listen was that they stop they provide lots of background up front, during the reading of the play, and after. Insight into things I would have otherwise missed or not understood. I very much enjoyed it and it brought several new dimensions to the play, which I though I knew fairly well.
I will be listening to others in the coming months.
Even though this book covered the period that I felt I knew the most about, it exposed me to so many things I didn't know. As well written and compelling as the first two in the series, it gave what I found was a very objective look at the NAZI's attempt at war, and how and why they failed so resoundingly at it (fortunately). It penetrates and goes beyond the myth and romanticism that many have and treats things in a realistic way.
It also handles the more important Holocaust well. A very difficult topic, and one that leads most authors to just focus on the horribleness of the act. I felt that I was left with an understanding of how it happened, how rational humans can loose all sense of reality and perpetrate such an act. All lessons we should watch for so that it never happens again.
This series is was enlightening and depressing at the same time, enlightening because of the scholarship and writing, depressing because of the events it brings to light.
A must read for anyone looking to understand the past.
For me, this book walked that fine line between scholarly and popular efforts. Just the right mix of details and higher level impressions. And I found the conclusions that th author drew were not too biased towards one political view or another. So many books on this period have such a strong foundation in a given ideology that they are annoying to a a moderate like myself. I learned a lot about this important time in history that I didn't know and that will always be relevant - how a minority fringe party was able to openly seize power. How extremism becomes mainstream. I was riveted throughout and found myself sitting in my parking lot at home or driveway at home listening to "just 5 more minutes" But, I did find it intellectually draining to absorb, constantly trying to relate what was being said to my existing knowledge, other historical events, and to current affairs. So I'm going to listen to some lighter books before I return for the second volume.
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