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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

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Glenn Calgary, Alberta, Canada 02-22-13
    Glenn Calgary, Alberta, Canada 02-22-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "History buffs will love this"

    My dad also listened to this and he loved it. It can be a bit repetitive at times and sad from a humanity perspective. I liked the book but could only take the depraved nature of the history in bit sized chunks. With that aside there is not a piece of the Nazi history that is not talked about ... very in depth ..... well spoken ....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher S. Butera Lehrberg, Germany 02-19-13
    Christopher S. Butera Lehrberg, Germany 02-19-13 Member Since 2006
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    "A definitive history of the Third Reich"
    What made the experience of listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich the most enjoyable?

    The details were gripping without being mundane or superfluous. This gave the book a great context.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Grover Gardner's inflection really made the book listenable.


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

    William Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" is not only definitive but extraordinarily informative and without bias. Being unbiased is crucial in order to get a real grasp of the historical truth.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bodacious Wonderment San Diego, CA USA 02-12-13
    Bodacious Wonderment San Diego, CA USA 02-12-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Crickey, why did I go so long without reading this"
    Where does The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Just outstanding. So very very good.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The juxtaposition of the history of the Nazi's along side the author's personal interaction with the events has they happened gives a multidimensional feel to the book. By book's end, you feel you not only have a good grasp of what happened, but you feel that you have some feeling for what is was like to have been there.


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

    Narrator was good, sounded like a journalist should sound.


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

    World gone crazy.


    Any additional comments?

    GET THIS. Very good history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy L. Collins 02-08-13

    Nancy Collins

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The puzzle is now complete"
    Any additional comments?

    I have been gobbling up books about this period in time so I can understand completely what happened and why. This book completed the puzzle. It is a long book, but because I had a good understanding of who the characters were in the Nazi story and what parts they played, I appreciated the added details this book offered. I'm not sure this book would appeal to those who are new to the subject. Thank you William Shirer for wading through all the German documents and presenting this masterpiece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    larry Navarre, FL, United States 02-04-13
    larry Navarre, FL, United States 02-04-13 Member Since 2005
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    4
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    "great book and great narration"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    recommend! complete and concise history of Nazi Germany


    Any additional comments?

    This is a must read by future generations

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary VIENNA, VIRGINIA, United States 01-30-13
    Mary VIENNA, VIRGINIA, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2013
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    3
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    "Prodigious accomplishment of historical writing"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    For anyone who wants to know more about the horrific era of the Third Reich, this is the source to read first. I highly recommend it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    The discussions between Hitler and Chamberlain concerning the "Munich accord"


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

    I was repeatedly amazed and moved by the writer's descriptions of the horror perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews, Germans, other European states and virtually anyone that opposed the Nazis


    Any additional comments?

    The book was exceedingly well narrated by Grover Gardner

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clyde Vorster Hillcrest, South Africa 01-30-13
    Clyde Vorster Hillcrest, South Africa 01-30-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Must Listen Classical Recount?"
    Where does The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Being fairly new to Audio Books I have listened to 13 book by authors such as Tom Clancy, Tom Lutz, Vince Flynn and Lee Child. Being interested in the Second World War is what drew me to listening to this book. Never really getting into reading non-fiction works I was truly surprised at how thoroughly I enjoyed this listen.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    Listening to how Hitler so easily manipulated some of the most well-known statesmen of that period.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I cannot say there was any particular scene that I could call my favourite. Knowing half truths about the war, my eyes were certainly opened when I listened to a more in depth history of what actually occurred. Learning about the characters was for me fascinating as I did not realise the complexity of some of them.


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

    I listened to this book in my car, to and from work. I often, once I reached my destination sat and listened to the tale until time constraints forced me to switch off.


    Any additional comments?

    A must listen for younger listeners who have an interest in the war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stephen Haverhill, Ma, United States 01-30-13
    stephen Haverhill, Ma, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Outstanding Audio Book"
    What made the experience of listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich the most enjoyable?

    The reader has a great voice that is easy to listen to. It was long but very engaging. I thought I was knowledgeable about WW 2 but I learned a great deal from this book. I highly recommend this for any history fan.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul PITTSBURGH, PA, United States 01-30-13
    Paul PITTSBURGH, PA, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2011

    Pablo

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    "A stunning work, both in breadth and depth"
    Where does The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    An epic historical masterpiece. This is one of the best works of non-fiction I've ever read.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Gardner's performance is pretty close to perfect in its tone and cadence. He is understated and very matter of fact, but does a fantastic job of mirroring the author's own tone.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vikki Overton, NV, United States 01-29-13
    Vikki Overton, NV, United States 01-29-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Spellbinding"
    Would you listen to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich again? Why?

    Yes. To be reminded of that time in history so as not to repeat it.


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

    Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Both were heroic and appalling-mans capacity for good and evil.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The whole narrative was excellent but I suppose the final fall was the most satisfying.


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

    Riveting!!


    Any additional comments?

    The book should be read or listened to by everyone that loves freedom. Grover Gardner's narration was superb!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 181-190 of 267 results PREVIOUS118192027NEXT
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  • Margaret
    Linlithgow, West Lothian, United Kingdom
    1/1/11
    Overall
    "Excellent read (or listen)"

    Read this book and, (still have it) keep going back to it, as a reference point when needed. Unfortunately, with such a momentous work, it's difficult to remember absolutely everything. I find having both spoken and audio formats available very useful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    11/21/14
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    "Epic and riveting history"

    This really is the authoritative account, especially regarding the events which the author witnessed first hand. It's a mammoth book to listen to, but don't be put off - even if you are already familiar with the history, the narrative takes you along from start to finish.

    I would add a word of praise for the narrator, Grover Gardner. He reads like he knows he's narrating an epic that will be listened to for years to come and does a fantastic job. It must be a daunting task to take on such a marathon read, but his even, measured approach brings the events to life, being both gripping while also bringing the right note of pathos and reflection. Probably as good a narration as you will find in any audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Farniboy
    Wirral, UK
    10/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Understanding Absolute Evil."
    What made the experience of listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich the most enjoyable?

    The book is so well written. Shirer witnessed many of the events first hand as a reporter in 1930's Berlin and he tells us of the apathy of the Germans and the High Command in the late 30's to Hitler. It was only after the stunning earlier successes that the German's were seduced by the ideals of Nazism.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    The diary extracts and reports of Shirer's add to the authenticity. He saw the gradual seduction of Germany to Adolph Hitler.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Grover Gardner narrated the story brilliantly. What could of been a dry dusty tome read like a Le Carre thriller.


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

    The treatment of the civilians and the Jews can't help but move you. Plus the bravery of the little people who stood upto Hitler and his thugs and who were crushed by them.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm in my mid 40's and grew up with older relative's who had fought in WWII. Over the years I've read lots of books dealing with certain battle or campaigns in the war. I hadn't really delved into the Axis side of the story. I've learnt so much about Germany, and Hitler through this book. I was amazed that the General's in the High Command could have stopped Hitler several times during his brief but deadly career. Its an easy listen and I could not recommend the book too highly. You don't need to be a WWII scholar to enjoy this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • R. Pendleton
    Didsbury, Madchester
    8/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "FASCINATING"
    What did you like most about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    An enthralling listen from the start to the finish.
    I listened to the book in two hour blocks as I drive frequently, due to my work. If you want to really know about the Second World War, then this book is a must listen.
    It is based on the war files found after the war in the German archives and reveals the true machinations of the Third Reich.


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

    The book is comparable with the World at War television series.
    I found the time line of the different battles fascinating. The initial battle in Europe was a over in weeks after Hitler invaded Belgium and Holland. Why did he stop his tanks from cutting off the British withdrawal?


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    The narration is superb.


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

    There is a chapter towards the end which goes into more detail about The Final Solution. Truly horrific on every scale. I found this chapter very hard to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    Britain got a lot of flack for initially appeasing Hitler. I am sure America would of played a large part in advising Britain in this period, although this is hardly mentioned.
    At one stage he even says that the King's consort was pro German. He fails to mention that she was American and probably reflected America's views on Hitler at that time.
    The author was an American correspondent based in Berlin. He negates to mention his own failure in alerting his fellow countryman.
    He also fails to mention the breaking of the Enigma Code, which was a vast help to the allies?
    Overall a great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • N. Sumner
    North West
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fascinating look at Hitler's bizarre story"
    Would you listen to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich again? Why?

    I might not listen to it again - it's a big work. But also, it's very clearly described and didn't leave me feeling like I needed to revisit parts to properly understand them.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There was a lot in here, particularly regarding Hitler's extraordinary rise to power and the events leading to the outbreak of the Second World War, that I knew nothing about. Some of the political manoeuvring is fascinating, and Mr Shirer had a very close view of it, living and working in Germany prior to the war.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Mr Gardner's performance is very measured, unhurried and evenly paced. I didn't find his delivery jarring or annoying, and for me, I will always associate his voice with Mr Shirer's words.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I'm not sure this subject needs any more films, but it would be something like, "The story of how an angry Austrian nobody caused history's biggest conflict - and destroyed himself."


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kieron Edwards
    London, London, GB
    6/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A brilliant (if long) history of the Third Reich"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you want to understand how Hitler came to believe what he did, how he came to power, how Germany allowed this to happen and then how the second world war was planned and fought then this book tells it all.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    A slightly odd question to ask of a book like this. Molotov comes off well I suppose. Churchill too.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Again - not the best question to ask of a history of war.


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

    There are, by necessity, some chapters covering the Nazi atrocities. These cover more than just the final solution and were hard going. The author does not imagine or exaggerate and simply reports from documentation provided to the Nuremberg trials - however - it's upsetting stuff.


    Any additional comments?

    I wanted to understand (in light of recent international events) how fascism rose in popularity and how National Fascism came to power. I've also wanted to understand how Hitler came to start the war, and how he lost it.

    This book is brilliant in being very detailed and written by a gentlemen who was there, as a US journalist, in Germany during the rise of Hitler and the start of the war. Shirer was there - he met or saw these people and so paints a very colourful picture of events.

    It's an old book (published in '59 I think) so some of the language is a little quant on occasions (if you hear the phrase "pulling his chestnuts from the fire" several times it sounds very odd these days).

    It ends with the author noting that no one would buy the book (the publisher only printing 12,000 copies) however it deservedly sold well (apart from in Germany oddly enough).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul Billington
    Switzerland
    5/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cute and pointless. Hobby writer."
    What would have made The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich better?

    Having read just the preface, I think I am in for a hurrah for US of A book. Why? Because it start by referring to Chamberlain's appeasement in Münich as a surrender. Any competent historian would realise that there can no surrender before war is declared, and Britain was the first nation to declare war on Germany, without first being attacked. It is as a fact that the USA only reluctantly aligned with the Allies, halfway through the war, which left the UK and France heavy in debt to the USA and the USA benefitting from the war premium.


    What was most disappointing about William L. Shirer’s story?

    Baias and pointless personality digging which many historical figures would not stand up to.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Grover Gardner’s performances?

    I doubt very much.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Poetic and clear prose.


    Any additional comments?

    This should be listed under amateur historian, so as to clearly separate it from real historians like Simon Schama,
    I would suggest those who like David John Cawdell Irving works might also like William L. Shirer's work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Greg
    Greenwich, United Kingdom
    4/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant, reads like a thriller"

    Over 50 hours may sound rather long, but trust me it isn't with this pacey and exciting audiobook, even though we all feel that we know the story. The reader is superb, and the narrative rattles along like a thriller and is packed with the incredible unbiased telling of the rise of Hilter and his band of Nazi cronies. If only my school history lessons could have captured my imagination like this book, then I would have been an academic. I managed to listen to it whilst driving, cooking, doing chores or just relaxing. Other audiobooks may seem stuffy and short after listening to this this treat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Basingstoke, United Kingdom
    2/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent recounting of the facts"

    Highly recommended as a summary of events and insight into the Third Reich, including the pivotal events of the war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robin
    London
    2/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A difinitive study on the Third Reich"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it is a very thorough and well researched book, which is also well read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The personal experiences of Shirer provide a unique perspective, which makes this book rather unique.


    Any additional comments?

    Obviously this text is a little dated, and a little primitive in some of its conclusions. Nonetheless it is well worth reading, a good book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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