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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Audiobook

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

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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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  •  
    M.S. Valdez FORT COLLINS, CO, United States 04-30-16
    M.S. Valdez FORT COLLINS, CO, United States 04-30-16 Member Since 2012

    Avid reader all of my life! Favorite author: Stephen King. Favorite book: Hyperion.

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    "50+ hours and enthralled the entire time!"

    This historical analysis about how Germany and Hitler rose to power, began the conquest of Europe, and ultimate demise is easily one of the most (if not the most) spell-binding listens I have come across. When I first got the book, I felt daunted by how long it is (57hrs), but once I started, I could not stop. The author provides incredible insight into the events that led up to Hitler's rise to power, and the responses to Germany's growing strength by the many countries of Europe.

    This is a must-listen for any history buff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 04-29-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Required Reading"

    I fully expected this book to be boring and difficult to get through. I was wrong. It is true that it was painful to review the atrocities exacted by the inhumane treatment of fellow human being who became more beastly than human. It helped answer some questions I always had regarding the German people and continues to haunt me every time I read of anti-Semitic attacks that still exist in today's world. Let us not repeat history or allow it to be repeated. Let us learn from this account of one of the darkest periods in world history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Young Golden, Colorado USA 04-27-16
    Bill Young Golden, Colorado USA 04-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    "An Important Book"

    I had been meaning to read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" for years. With Audible, I've done that. The book did not disappoint in any sense. A fine history, and a sense of WWII from Germany's and Hitler's perspective.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jason D. Fletcher Winchester, VA USA 04-25-16
    Jason D. Fletcher Winchester, VA USA 04-25-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Inside the belly"

    The author's perspective as an eye witness reporter lends to us a unique opportunity in the telling of history to see it from the inside. The account is evidenced with primary sources, including captured Nazi war and political documents; speeches of Hitler and Goebels are re-examined for context and insight into their strange machinations. Hitler's Mine Kamp is surveyed for historical and philosophical relevance. It is as comprehensive a book on the subject of the military and political rise of Nazi Germany as I would expect or want in a single work and the Narration is excellent, taking the listener fluidly through foot notes, quotations, and narratives. This is an excellent product both in content and delivery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 04-24-16
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 04-24-16 Member Since 2009

    Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.

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    "A Compendium of Evil and its Unleashing"

    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany is a non-fiction book by William L. Shirer chronicling the rise and fall of Nazi Germany from the birth of Adolf Hitler in 1889 to the end of World War II in 1945. It was first published in 1960. I first read the book in 1964. This time I listened to it on Audible. Either read is highly recommended; to anyone having to know how such a catastrophe could have occurred. Short answer, blind faith in rhetoric that excites the ego, provides irrational answers to one’s inner failure and an urge to dominate as a salve to that inner hurt.

    The two most unique aspects of the book are that it is a complete compendium of occurrences from Hitler’s birth through the fall of the Reich in 1945, and I do mean complete, and it is written by a journalist, which means it is told as though each calamity just occurred and you were being told of it as in reading the daily news. That is a report from the Washington Post, not the New York Post.

    If you are a student of history, this will provide thought, guidance on how to avoid the tragedy again (although I am sure humanity will not have learned anything from its past), and provide concern for the future of man. Read the Rise and Fall and you will know what that War was about, get a sense of its progenitors and their horribleness and finally an explanation of all major European events leading to power, the making of war and the reason the Allied forces prevailed.

    This is a story of how demented people took power, how people are too weak to want to provide full analysis, the less then frail competence of those who carried out orders, and how really voluminous evil unleashed can be. A brilliant study and a truly worthwhile read for any student of history; but be aware, it is sorrowful and thus difficult to learn what occurred.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Lawson 04-20-16
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    "long book"

    long book but a lot of great information . It's a good read well worth the money

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tyler Rathburn 04-19-16 Member Since 2016
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    "An all time classic..."

    What it is: A detailed account of the interworkings of Nazi society, politics, and foreign policy. Shiver makes excellent use of captured Nazi foreign office documents to reveal secret communications between various members of the Third Reich in its most critical moments. You come away with a great sense of the persons involved, the context of their actions, and their goals. You also can grasp the roles of other persons and nations as well outside of Nazi Germany and, though many of their reactions in light of our present knowledge were so inept, you can (almost) see their point of view. I was entertained the whole way through. Sometimes I wish I had more places to drive to listen to it more.

    As an aside: For those who begin listening to it (as I did) and wonder where/when/if he would begin to describe the atrocities of the Holocaust, he saves his description towards the end of the book. It seems a strange timing for this part of the history, but it is nonetheless powerful and unnerving.

    What it is NOT: Shirer was an American journalist during the rise of Nazi Germany. He had met and spoken with (or at the very least had heard and formed opinions of) many of the people who he subsequently writes about. There are clearly those he is not particularly fond of and he deftly hurls a series of "old-school" insults wherever he can (intellectual gangster, morally bankrupt, spineless, lackey etc.). My personal favorite are the times he refers to Hitler as that "one time Austrian waif and vagabond." There is definitely a personal element to this history reading. That said, in my opinion, this only improves the overall narrative and I felt much more connected to and engrossed by the overall story, which it must be said, is painstakingly researched. Most of his insults, by the way, I'm sure have a definite element of truth and also bring you closer to the characters. Do people REALLY think they are going to feel something positive or redeeming about the main Nazi actors given more impartial reading?

    It is also not particularly focused on MILITARY history. Battles are mentioned with some detail, enough to give an overall concept, but this is not the book for you if you are looking for valiant war stories of soldiers and generals involved in particular battles.


    Grover Gardner's narration is one of a kind. His diction has enough of an "old-world" flair to it that makes it seem like he is reading to you right as Shirer was typing it up on his typewriter, smoking a cigarette, and drinking a scotch. I could listen to Grover Gardner read the phonebook. I'm not even sure Morgan Freeman would've done any better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alejandro Asali Michelsen 04-13-16

    Alex A.

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    "Gripping"

    At first I was dazed my the extensive details provided by the author. As I got further into it, I was amazed of the accounts and the story-telling in such a matter-of-fact way.
    Sad, terrible but true this important part of history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    John Doe Cali 04-12-16
    John Doe Cali 04-12-16 Member Since 2016
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    "amazing, sad, thought provoking and important"

    Amazing detailed history of the worst conflict known to man. Must read for all. That Hitler was an awful person.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Hastings 04-11-16 Member Since 2016

    audio junkie

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    "Dear God, not man"

    This is a must listen to book . do yourself a favor and get a copy you won't regret it. it is an extremely long lesson but you can break it up into parts but the world needs to grasp and understand how there's more to this life then your nation your family and your place in history. Jesus put it this way fear not then we have the power to kill the body but fear Him who has the power to destroy both body and soul in hell; if the German people feared God more than they feared the state and feared death, Hitler would have never been able to rise to power.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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