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Life and Death in the Third Reich | [Peter Fritzsche]

Life and Death in the Third Reich

Fritzsche deciphers the puzzle of Nazism's ideological grip. Its basic appeal lay in the Volksgemeinschaft - people's community - that appealed to Germans to be part of a great project to redress the wrongs of the Versailles treaty, make the country strong and vital, and rid the body politic of unhealthy elements. Diaries and letters reveal Germans' fears, desires, and reservations, while showing how Nazi concepts saturated everyday life.
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Publisher's Summary

Fritzsche deciphers the puzzle of Nazism's ideological grip. Its basic appeal lay in the Volksgemeinschaft - people's community - that appealed to Germans to be part of a great project to redress the wrongs of the Versailles treaty, make the country strong and vital, and rid the body politic of unhealthy elements. Diaries and letters reveal Germans' fears, desires, and reservations, while showing how Nazi concepts saturated everyday life.

©2008 Peter Fritzsche (P)2008 Harvard University Press

What the Critics Say

"Fritzsche writes with his customary flair and verve, and packs an enormous amount into a relatively short volume...His immensely readable and intelligent book makes superb use of letters and diaries to communicate the experience of ordinary people under Nazism in a way that few other historians have been able to do." (New York Review of Books)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (60 )
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  •  
    Starlet SAN CARLOS, CA, United States 03-20-11
    Starlet SAN CARLOS, CA, United States 03-20-11 Member Since 2005

    100% of the books I read are in audible format. I enjoy reading apocalyptic, WWII, psychology, classics, contemporary and non-fiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    62
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    "Interesting from Beginning to End"

    This is the first Holocaust literature that I’ve read where it discusses the Nazi policies, their agenda and how and why they endorsed these outrageous demands and cruelty. The author starts from the early 1930’s through 1945, using numerous diaries, letters from the front and other primary sources. The author lets the people of Germany tell much of the tale and it’s a huge piece of coverage….an historical account to the nth degree. It is the story of how Hitler came to power and so much telling about how the Germans reacted, their complicity, their lives during this time, and their lack of power, too. The author takes a wholly objective approach to the subject which is always appreciated by the reader. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the events of that time period, history buffs, and serious and casual students of the 3rd Reich. The mind set of the individuals is absorbing if not truly contemptible.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LifetimeRoad Deep South 01-04-12
    LifetimeRoad Deep South 01-04-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Why don't I like this book very much?"

    Is it:

    1. The narrator who sounds very tired and almost ill?

    2. The fact that I just finished both the 3 book "Third Reich" series by Richard Evans, as well as "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William Shirer?

    3. Or, the dismal and monotonous portrayal of the lives of these Germans?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anja Schmidt Denmark 10-27-12
    Anja Schmidt Denmark 10-27-12 Member Since 2006

    k11923

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    "The rise and fall of a political sect"
    If you could sum up Life and Death in the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    Revealing, explanatory and thorough


    What does David Zinn bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice is quite neutral but perfect for this kind of book. Being so neutral, it does not bring anything extraordinary.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Books and films like "The Wave" shortly and finely explains how movements like Nazism and the idea of the Third Rich come to rise. This is a thourogh description of how this could happen and why most Germans considered themselves innocent after the war because they learned how they had been betrayed by oratory and "mass movement".
    This book describes these mechanisms more thoroughly and understandably than anything I have ever seen or heard before.
    It reminds me of a myth about a Danish freedomfighter, caught by the Germans and sentenced to dead. While the soldier binds him to the pole for assacination, he says to the soldier: "You should know, that it is not you and the normal German we have been fighting - it is the evil that took host in you", and the German understood. A myth, but quite telling though.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Mill Valley, CA, United States 01-21-12
    Michael Mill Valley, CA, United States 01-21-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Life as a citizen in the Third Reich"

    Sometimes fascinating and always detailed account of what it was like to live in the Third Reich, for all walks of life.

    The reader is somewhat stilted, and the production values of this work are sub-standard. For example, there are numerous occurrences in which the reader repeats a sentence or paragraph, or stops in the middle of a sentence to start over. These are normally edited out, of course, in the post-production process. Clearly, whoever did the work on this recording did not do their job well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Atlanta, GA, United States 03-18-14
    Douglas Atlanta, GA, United States 03-18-14 Member Since 2011

    I like to read but listening is better.

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    "The German public during the Third Reich"

    I ended up really enjoying this book. It wasn't a life changer. It's not something I'd bring up if someone said "hey, what's a book I really need to read." But it was interesting and it was actually a fresh look at the Reich, which is sort of rare and refreshing. This book didn't try and excuse the actions or non-action of common Germans during the Reich but it wasn't blindly damning either.

    At first I thought this book was going to be a disaster, and I imagine that many of the people who start listening to this book stop after the intro. This is because the introduction contains an almost unbelievable amount of errors. Apparently the intro wasn't edited at all. Anyone who has read 15 or 20 non-fiction audio books has come across mistakes from time to time. But there's rarely more than 1 in a book (One audiobook I listened to was ruined by persistent errors as well as a particularly pathetic error that took all credibility away from the narrator). This book had at least 8 errors in the introduction.

    I say at least 8 errors in the intro because who knows how many works the narrator said wrong or skipped. A throat clearing is unheard of but there was a loud one in the intro. Not only were mistakes not removed, it seems they didn't bother with a second take as long as the guy managed to spit out the words. Voice dying; mispronunciations; stutters; and minor slips were just played through as if they were running out of tape and working under a deadline.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    reader GREENVILLE, MI, United States 08-20-12
    reader GREENVILLE, MI, United States 08-20-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A Wake-up Call"
    What did you love best about Life and Death in the Third Reich?

    The thorough research


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The diary and letter excerpts


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone who thinks this cannot happen again, should read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Chris
    Fittleworth, United Kingdom
    3/9/12
    Overall
    "Interesting book, shame about the narrator"

    Very interesting topic and cohesively put together, but why, why did they not get someone with a knowledge of German to do the reading? Some of his pronunciations really make me squirm. Despite that, if you're interested in a different perspective on the Second World War, this warrants a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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