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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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  •  
    AverageJill 05-29-12
    AverageJill 05-29-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thrillingly told is an extreme overstatement"

    If you like your history dry as toast, this book is for you. Overly academic and overly detailed chronology. Narration is definitely NOT thrilling. A real snoozer!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Isabelle Middlesex, VT, United States 03-04-11
    Isabelle Middlesex, VT, United States 03-04-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Five Stars"

    A masterwork, from an eyewitness of the many of the events. Some of the scenes described are incredibly dramatic, and it's like we're in the room while it's happening. A very impressive, absorbing book, that shines a bright spotlight on a subject that's so often referenced, but never so well understood as when reading this account.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rsteinmetz 08-14-14
    rsteinmetz 08-14-14
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    "everything you wanted to know and more"
    What did you like best about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich? What did you like least?

    The thoroughness is most admirable. However the detail goes so deep as to border on the tedious. If the narrator would have used some peaks and valleys in his narrative...avoided a monotonic reading, I believe it would have negated the frequent urge to fast forward through portions. I was afraid I might lapse into a coma. The education it provided was however worth the effort.


    Any additional comments?

    I found it was best listening to this recording in half hour sessions. Anything longer was beyond my level of patience.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael WOODSTOCK, GA, United States 01-12-14
    Michael WOODSTOCK, GA, United States 01-12-14 Member Since 2011
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    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    since there is no way to mark books as read in the library I thought this might be a way to mark them


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 09-20-13
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 09-20-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Haunting Reminder"
    If you could sum up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    People Don't Change


    What did you like best about this story?

    The matter of fact way it was written and narrated meant that it never dragged. It was very interesting, when it was not terrifying.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Never dry; always worthy of my attention.


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

    It can happen here


    Any additional comments?

    While the book was a good historical documentary, it was also a clear reminder that we are all human and all are prone to the temptations of wealth, the toxicity of power and the fickle fate of the tyrant. 2013 is a very good time to read this book and to look for how the nature of mankind always tends to show-up in our lives.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    krisjs1767 Mercer Island, WA USA 05-15-13
    krisjs1767 Mercer Island, WA USA 05-15-13 Member Since 2012

    krisjs1767

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    "History at its best"

    Can't say enough about the content and production of this audio work. Subject matter is beyond compelling. Narration is superlative. It's really one of the best I've ever downloaded from audible.com.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    greg Yonkers, NY, United States 03-07-13
    greg Yonkers, NY, United States 03-07-13 Member Since 2006

    Geek, Gamer who hates wasting credits.

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    "A very import book needs to be read by all and a c"

    When a sat a listened to this massive book, what struck me is how timeless it is. It is not just an excellent almost journalistic view of the war in Europe , but, if looked based on the issues we face around to the US and the world, it also a cautionary tale for our times

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis 01-09-13
    Phyllis 01-09-13 Member Since 2015

    5 stars - books that I will listen to again and again. 4 stars - books that I might listen to again someday. 3 stars - books that I probably won't listen to again. 2 stars - books that I know I will never listen to again. 1 star - books that I should have never listened to in the first place.

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    "If You Could Read ONLY ONE Book on Nazi Germany!"

    If you could read ONLY ONE non-fiction book on Nazi Germany, this has got to be the book that you read!

    Firstly, William L. Shirer was NOT a Jew. I have read several postings and critiques of his work on the internet that incorrectly state that he was a Jew - WRONG! Shirer was born in Chicago in 1904 and was raised a Protestant. He attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, graduating in 1925. After which, Shirer worked his way to Europe on a cattle boat to spend the summer there, he ended up remaining in Europe for 15 years.

    Shirer was the European correspondent for the Chicago Tribune from 1925 to 1932, where he lived and worked in France. From 1934 to 1940, Shirer lived and worked in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. As such, this book is a product of its times and one must keep in mind that the horror of the Nazi regime was still very fresh in the mind of the author, as well as the minds of the world. This book was first published in 1960 (roughly 15 years after the end of WWII) and is considered the definitive record of the twentieth century’s blackest hours.

    This book was and still is the BEST, first attempt at a history of Nazi Germany. Shirer's sources include the personal diaries of several of the highest-ranking Nazis and records from the Nuremberg Trials. He also had plenty of face-to-face time with the men who were the architects of the greatest war in modern history. The detail with which Shirer wrote his book and the unspeakable evil that was Hitler's Germany is at times almost too much to take. Some of the descriptions, particularly towards the end are simply horrifying. Shirer puts the reader in the front row, giving many an explanation as to why so many Germans were so willing to be taken in by Hitler. And even though the book starts out a bit slow, towards the end you won't want to stop reading/listening to this almost unbelievable history. I say almost unbelievable because it DID happen, it had happened previously in ALBANIA, it happened afterwards in BOSNIA and it is most likely to happen AGAIN. Throughout history there has NEVER been a lack of evil perpetrated by man and I personally don't foresee the future being very much different in that aspect.

    This was the second time I have read/listened to this book. The first time I picked it up was in 1979 while living in England. You cannot imagine how much better it is to read this book over thirty years later with a much more mature and discriminating mind. Not to mention that I have had the opportunity over these past 30 years to visit many of the places mentioned in this book and several concentration camps in Germany and Poland. Scholars have been citing this book for over 50 years, and in my opinion this book really stands the test of time. If you have any interest whatsoever in the inner workings of Nazi Germany, read/listen to this book. The detail is mind-blowing and the FACTS still seem incomprehensible. I dare you NOT to be horrified by this incredible non-fiction, history book.

    Grover Gardner does an exceptional job at narrating this immense work of historic fact. This book is easily a five star listen, worth every single minute of my time invested and I am sure to listen to it again.

    Highly Recommended!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Bothell, WA, United States 11-12-12
    Mark Bothell, WA, United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Definitely a winner"
    What made the experience of listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich the most enjoyable?

    This is well written, and fascinating history. The narrator was also excellent. Who'd have thought that after 57 hours I would not want it to end. I found myself asking "what happened next?"


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renee 10-11-12
    Renee 10-11-12
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    "Excellent Listen"
    What made the experience of listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich the most enjoyable?

    The narrator is one of my favorites and Mr Shirer's written account of historical events are both "Top Notch".


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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