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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

4.5 (3946 )
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  •  
    Tyler Red Deer, AB, Canada 04-07-13
    Tyler Red Deer, AB, Canada 04-07-13 Member Since 2015

    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!

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    "Excellent book, historically accurate."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Westlake, La, United States 03-29-13
    Sandra Westlake, La, United States 03-29-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Great Book!!!"

    This book is very long but I must say I could hardly put it down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Fredericksburg, VA, United States 03-22-13
    Michael Fredericksburg, VA, United States 03-22-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Required Reading"
    What did you love best about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    The fact that this book was based on original sources, actual captured documents from the Nazi Government and interviews, letters, and diaries of the actual Nazi and Allied characters.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story is riveting because it is true. The history of Nazi Germany as taught to me in school was watered down. This story takes you inside the lives of those involved with viceral descriptions of the events surrounding Hitler's terrible rein, mostly through the words of the people involved.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    I've enjoyed many Grover Gardner narrated audio books. He has a great gift for giving personality to the characters of the story. He also has the ability to convey through his voice the rye humor used by William Shirer in the writing of this book.


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

    Probably not possible given the length of this book....however I did find myself remaining in my car after arriving at work or at home to finish some engaging part of this story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita G. Wwilkerson martinsburg west virginia 03-18-13
    Anita G. Wwilkerson martinsburg west virginia 03-18-13 Member Since 2014

    anitawilkerson

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    "extraordinary"
    What did you love best about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    It was written by someone who was there, and written in a timely fashion. Excellent writing skills and readability.


    What did you like best about this story?

    couldn't put it down.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hitler killed himself and the other monsters were hung.


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

    One reflects and wonders


    Any additional comments?

    I wish I had read it years ago.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Waykuy 03-12-13
    Waykuy 03-12-13 Member Since 2012

    kas7946

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    "A story that needs to be read!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! Although it is a painful chapter in history, it is one that we need to learn from. All voters should be familiar with this era.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There are many lessons here to be learned. Unfortunately, history is barely taught in schools these days and the history that is taught is molded to fit a particular political view. This book gives you the facts and leaves it to you to decide what could have been differently. Churchill called WWII the "unnecessary war". Had the world only listened to him millions of lives could have been saved.


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

    No.


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

    Never let it happen again!


    Any additional comments?

    WWII was the worst war in the world's history and it could have been avoided. Everyone should read this book and others like it to understand how.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Royal Oak, MI, United States 03-11-13
    C. Royal Oak, MI, United States 03-11-13 Member Since 2014

    CJ

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    "Can't believe I waited so long to read this"

    Fascinating front-row seat through a journalist's eyes--not a historian, but a writer who saw it as it happened. Interesting insight into the Mussolini/Hitler relationship.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Damian Fairfield, Australia 03-06-13
    Damian Fairfield, Australia 03-06-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Gold standard in popular history"

    It's hard to beat this famous book for sheer listenability. Shirer has a gifted journalist's ability to describe complex patterns of events in a compelling, direct and extrordinarily lucid way. No wonder the book has been so widely read. Grover Gardner's performance is simply remarkable. Over dozens and dozens of hours he manages to bring the text to life, never flagging and never becoming monotonous. How he manages it is something of a mystery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Max Purcellville, VA, United States 03-04-13
    Max Purcellville, VA, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Great historical book"
    If you could sum up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    THE storry of rise and fall of Hitler


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

    The weakness of will of the UK, France and USA at the time


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Nicely done


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

    While the west slept


    Any additional comments?

    none

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Raleigh, NC, United States 02-25-13
    Steve Raleigh, NC, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2014
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    "One for the Generations!"
    Any additional comments?

    Few books have the interest holding capacity to warn future generations about that which has happened in the past as something that could again happen in the future without sounding apocryphal, banal and gloomy. As horrifying as Hitler's insidious reign was, more horrifying was the ease at which he was able to gain ascendancy within arguably one of the most literate and sophisticated cultures of Western Civilization:1920-1930 Germany. After reading this book, it put the tired political slogan "it's the economy stupid" in new light. Granted we do vote our pocketbooks, but we must never forget that is exactly what the German's of the 1930's did as well. When the primary desire of elections reflect purely economic security and stability, we then could fall into the same trap as the Germans a few generations ago. We could sacrifice all our liberty for a piece of bread. The indictment against the culture then was that they were willing to forego in an almost absentmindedness the learning, philosophy, culture and freedom earn by previous generations, for a short-lived and eventual economic mirage of stability and industry. The warning to us is that we must love liberty, freedom and be willing to pay the price for those precious virtues for ourselves and others or we risk becoming civilized, prosperous slaves, ultimately becoming inhumanly insensitive and numb to those deemed less desirable. What essentially is so poignant and frightening about Shires book is not about how evil the the Third Reich was--as true as that was-- but how "normal" the Germans that Hitler led were and in that normality could descend into cultural madness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Richmond, KY, United States 02-22-13
    Chris Richmond, KY, United States 02-22-13
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    "History is the best educator, ur Ph.D awaits"

    The Author, shifted through 485 tons of Reich records, personal diaries, telephone logs and more to take you step by step exactly how this Nazi enterprise sprouted, took root and grew. Also, demostrating the gullibilities of democratic and monarchial governments. Hitler was a master at reading the lay of the political landscape, exploiting every opportunity he created or observed. To sum it up, Brilliant expose` of the Nazi Reich's Rise and Fall. I am still stunned by this intense exposure to "man's" darkest character, I'll never see politicians, persons of ambition or govt as harmless again. G. Washington said; "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The German Generals had many opportunities to take Hitler out in the late thirties, all were held back by their personal ambitions and addiction to the euphoria enveloping them. Until Col. Claus Von Stauffenberg came along. Worth every minute of your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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