Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.
Now, many years after the end of World War II, it may seem incredible that our most valued institutions and way of life were threatened by the menace that Hitler and the Third Reich represented. Shirer’s description of events and the cast of characters who played such pivotal roles in defining the course Europe was to take is unforgettable.
Benefiting from his many years as a reporter, and thus a personal observer of the rise of Nazi Germany, and availing himself of some of the 485 tons of documents from the German Foreign Office, as well as countless other diaries, phone transcriptions, and other written records, meticulously kept at every level by the Germans, Shirer has put together a brutally objective account of how Hitler wrested political control of Germany, and planned and executed his six-year quest to dominate the world, only to see Germany go down in flames.
This is a richly rewarding experience for anyone who wants to come to grips with the mysterious question of how this menace to civilization ever came into being, much less was sustained for as long as it was. The answer, unfortunately, is that most of Germany, for a whole host of reasons, embraced Nazism and the fanaticism that Hitler engendered.
©1990 William L. Shirer (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“One of the most important works of history of our time.” (The New York Times)
”A splendid work of scholarship, objective in method, sound in judgment, inescapable in its conclusions.” (The New York Times Book Review)
I read this book in hardcover as a teen; listening to it a second time forced me to listen to everything and I realized how thorough this book really is. It is definitely a political history rather than a military one, though of course it necessarily deals with a lot of military components. The pace is very good, though I do feel that Shirer spent too much time on certain aspects of the Third Reich - especially the conspiracies to murder Hitler. Since these were ultimately unsuccessful and incompetently handled, it felt strange that he would spend so much time talking about them.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book - it is a classic for a reason. As long as it is, there are of course some passages that seem to drag, but not as many as you would expect. Grover Gardner was the ideal reader for this book. He has a very even tempo and his voice is excellent.
If you're interested in WWII history and have never read this book, I give it my hearty recommendation.
Probably not - kind of long.
I don't know maybe "Les Miserables" for length.
Not sure that I have.
That would be physically impossible.
I wanted to echo a previous reviewer's comments about "start to finish". This book does hold your attention and interest the whole way through despite its length. Of course, there is a natural revulsion to the subject matter in spots, and so that slowed things down a little bit here and there as I had to take a break and regroup.
Near the top
Thoroughness of detail and realism
When the good guys started winning.
Extreme, yes -- my experience with literary villains has been mostly fictional -- Darth Vader, Sauron; or ancient, such as Pilate and Herod. What amazed me about this book is that although fictional authors can write their villains to be as evil as they want, none of them even came close to the evil of this reality.
It really made me think about where God was in all this.
There is no need to write a long review of this book as it it is already recognized for its brilliance...and for good reason. What you might not know is that the author was there during many of the momentous occasions making the narrative absolutely engaging and 100% authentic. It is long and comprehensive but the performance and the quality of the work is so outstanding that it is a highly recommended journey. As shocking and depressing as some of the material is, the intelligence and deft writing hand of the author carries us through. Upon its completion I was inspired to return to several other books on WWII (Storm of War) to put together the missing parts of the story that only this book could provide. Again, the narrator is among the best I have ever heard.
This book was obviously extensively researched and therefore both convincing and convicting. That a cultured, educated, modern society like Germany of the 1930s could be duped by a madman, megalomaniac, criminal, bigot (take your pick) like Adolf Hitler is a definitive reason that we must learn from history or risk repeating it. The book produced the strongest possible evidence that indeed "absolute power corrupts absolutely." As my "headline " says, this is a lengthy book (I actually listened to it in "pieces"), but it was extraordinarily engaging, the more so because the reader's intonation and emphases added immeasurably to the compelling content. I consider that several professional historians negatively criticized this "history written by a journalist" nothing less than petty jealousy.
This was a gripping story, however, the seventh part ended well prior to where the actual book ends. It is a shame that this unabridged version omits so much material.
In parts, not straight through
I've studied history for a long time, but the details about the Nazi brutality to Jews, Russians, and all people not "desirable", though well known, was well covered including the complicity of the average German. A most powerful portion of the book.
William Shirer (an American journalist) succeeds in his attempt to comprehensively chart the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. Written in 1960, the book is largely based on captured Nazi documents found after the war. The author also includes personal reflections from his time as an American journalist living in Berlin during the 1930s. A warning to potential listeners of this audio book. This is NOT a World War 2 history lesson. I was very surprised to find that this book is about 70% finished before the outbreak of World War 2. Hence the book concentrates mainly on the rise of Nazi Germany and its initial acts of aggression and subsequent appeasement by the Western powers. Consequently, at times I found the middle section of this audiobook rather tedious. I must admit, however, that despite the books length (57 hours) I was still quite engaged for the majority of the time.
Tremendous work, excellent narration. To say this is worth the time is an understatement.
I the quality of this writing is only outweighed by the truly unbelievable underlying story. We shall Never.... Never.... Never....
I've been a member here for a few years now. Nothing will ever replace printed books for me, but I do enjoy lots of things Audible has!
Of course this book is historically accurate; Shirer was there! It is a little bit of a misrepresentation to some people though. For example; this isn't a book for you military history buffs out there. Why? Because the little bit of military history is hidden in between the lines of the political story of Nazi Germany. Thats right, if you hate politics, than this book is not for you; the majority of this history is exactly what the title says: Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Mostly about the political party and governance. But it is indeed, a complete work on Nazi Germany.
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