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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany | [William L. Shirer]

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Martin Praha 518, Czech Republic 03-13-14
    Martin Praha 518, Czech Republic 03-13-14
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    "Extraordinary book"

    I find this book really extraordinary. First, I was rather put off by the length. Then when I started, I was captivated. The book tells the story of the rise of Nazis from the perspective of someone who was a direct witness of the beginning of the tragedy. It is very well written and narrated.

    It reminds one how terribly actual it is. Would Europe be able to stop a similar development if it were to arise now? It makes you think, remember recent tragedies like Yugoslavia, and see the events in Crimea in different light. And it makes you realize how special the time we live in is.

    It is not an amusing book but it is really great and should be read by as many people as possible. Some parts made me literally shudder, and so they should.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    andrew Reserve, LA, United States 02-27-14
    andrew Reserve, LA, United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2013

    I enjoy history, biographys, and nerdy/ dorky things.

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    "Wonderful, detailed account of the 3rd Reich"
    If you could sum up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    Masterful, detailed, sad


    What other book might you compare The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to and why?

    I've never read anything this detailed before. At 57 hours it is a masterpiece of history.


    Have you listened to any of Grover Gardner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, I listened to Titan, a biography about John. D. Rockefeller. Grover Gardner has a fantastic voice, and again does a great job with this book.


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

    In school we were taught about the horrors of the 3rd Reich. However learning of these horrors through the written letters, and reports of SS, and Gestapo officers is very sad. Not just because of the crimes, but that human beings could treat other human beings so, in-inhumanely.


    Any additional comments?

    Any book this long has it's slow points. In section 3 or 4 the book really slows down. This is dedicated entirely to Germany acquiring Austria, and Czechoslovakia. This was the only issue I had with the book. I didn't think 8 hours needed to be spent on such a subject. Learning about Hitler's upbringing, background, soaring victories, and finally embarrassing defeats were a joy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Tyler 02-27-14
    J. Tyler 02-27-14
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    "Long but the definitive narration of WWII"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to be better than the print version?

    Yes, I preferred the audio version since the length of this book made it hard to read.


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

    His voice is perfect for narration. The cadence and speed was great. He put pauses and emphasis in just the right places to draw your attention to certain points and it made it more engaging to listen.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The portion regarding the concentration camps and resistance movements understandably are difficult to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    As has been previously mentioned on several websites - this book contains some very prejudiced and bigoted statements. Remember that it was written in 1960 and it thus contains the mentality and paradigm from that era.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Kansas City, Missouri, United States 02-05-14
    William Kansas City, Missouri, United States 02-05-14 Member Since 2015
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    "The only way to avoid a repeat of history"
    What made the experience of listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich the most enjoyable?

    The narrator is superb, and the content chilling. As German democracy, then Austria, then Czechoslovakia and then Poland fell, I wanted to scream "Can't you see what's happening?"

    Hitler was insane. That would be a three word summary of a 57 hour book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Claus von Stauffenberg- a hero. When someone finally stands up and says, enough: "This must stop even if it costs my life." That's a hero. This part of the book read like fiction.


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

    Molotov is pretty good. A calculator in the line of great Soviet chess players, many moves ahead of his competition.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The jewish revolt in Krakow moved me to tears.


    Any additional comments?

    Give it a listen, you won't regret it. Only criticisim is Shirer's homo prejudices. Maybe a sign of the times, but he ably shows the Nazis to be thugs, criminals and psychopaths. Didn't need to call them perverts, too (without mentioning the "perverts" on the Allied side).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Perth, Australia 01-31-14
    Amazon Customer Perth, Australia 01-31-14
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    "A brief introduction"

    I realised I had never done any serious reading/listening on WWII history. To cure my ignorance I bought The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich, and 57 hrs 13 mins later, I do not regret the decision at all. I was a bit suspicious that I might feel like I had done enough in the WWII department after this book, but now having completed it, my interest has grown and not diminished. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louis Madigan New York, NY USA 01-28-14
    Louis Madigan New York, NY USA 01-28-14 Member Since 2000
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    "Nothing Better"
    Where does The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This must rank amongst the top histories available on Audible.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Among the best.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The inside details from beginning to end


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Jacksonville, Florida, United States 01-18-14
    Larry Jacksonville, Florida, United States 01-18-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Very Informative"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend to a friend but only one that its a history buff like myself .


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed how factual and in depth the story was .


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    There is no way you could finish this all at once .


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Placentia CA, United States 01-10-14
    Robert Placentia CA, United States 01-10-14 Member Since 2013

    Iranians keep their nukes, Americans lose their insurance.

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    "Spellbinding"

    No book other than the bible has ever moved me like this one. My father was a POW and fought in the war, and he said this book is the launch code for Nazi Germany. He was right. I got this book because it was 1 credit. Only 1 credit for 57 hours! God bless Mr. Shirer and... Grover Garder you are amazing. Amazing! Bill Shirer would have been proud.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Frederick, MD, United States 12-30-13
    Amazon Customer Frederick, MD, United States 12-30-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Meticulous Historic Work, Magnificent Narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to be better than the print version?

    I have read the print version and while the author has done a superb job at gathering the historical facts and presenting them in an entertaining documentary fashion, the audio narrative adds a new dimension to the documentary.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to the book in my car and I actually looked forward to sitting in traffic just so I could continue listening.


    Any additional comments?

    Grover Gardner's portrayal of the historical characters is outstanding. He also does a phenomenal job at capturing the essence of William Shirer's viewpoints. Highly recommended listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A User daphne, al, United States 12-17-13
    A User daphne, al, United States 12-17-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Gripping and thurough narrative of Nazi Germany"

    William L. Shirer has created an absolute masterpiece. Even 53 years after it was first published, this audiobook stands strong. It kept my attention for all 57 hours and Grover Gardner's narration was superb. After so long an audiobook Gardener's voice and this book became a companion, keeping your entertained as you carried out those mundane activities which we substitute audiobooks for entertainment. When the book ends, it is a bit sad but satisfying to have completed such an amazing journey. I found no flaws with this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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