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.
“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)
So much content, yet so lucid. The deep insights and the original research which has gone into the content makes it an awesome window into the war and the lives of people who played a major role in this catastrophe . It elucidates in great detail on how a democracy slowly and legally turned to the Third Reich under the megalomaniac Fuhrer, and how the Nazi philosophy could penetrate the minds of the scientific, progressive and artistic people of Germany. It goes on to detail the development of the Nazi policy, and how slowly the Fuhrer captivated the minds and soul of the people of Germany. It goes on to describe the horrific results of those policies and then on to the war itself, again in great detail. The thing which I loved was the way the book made me think on how moments of human weakness, summed up over time could lead to such incredulous consequences, which force people to rethink humanity itself!
Rather than rehash the tired work of biased academics, Shirer uses primary sources (journals, sworn testimony, personal interviews of Nazi officers) and his first-hand accounts as a foreign journalist who lived and reported from inside the country during the war years. Thus, this is an exhaustive, unparalleled recounting of the enigmatic Third Reich; from seed to felled tree. This is a brilliant work of history. You need this in your collection.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich ranks among the top five literary works I have ever read, and is definitely the greatest work of Historical NonFiction I've encountered. The audio performance by the reader is fantastic. This audiobook receives my strongest recommendation.
There were so many things that I didn't know about Hitler's rise. I really didn't understand how he could go from being a "nobody" to being the dictator of Germany.
An incredible work: thorough and objective, yet constantly engaging in its telling. Jaw-dropping details of the horror and oppressiveness of the Third Reich over the twelve years of Hitler's reign. It's so important to understand how close we were from a different world.
The narration is perfect for such a book: engaging style and great pronunciation of names and cities.
If I could give 10 stars I would.
After years of procrastination, mostly due to its length, I finally started to listen to this audiobook. I'm sorry it took so long for me to commit to it. Not only is it well researched, it is unbelievably well written and well performed. I looked forward to putting my headphones on every day for the time it took me to get through this masterpiece.
For anyone interested with how history could've allowed this man, and this party, to rise to power, this is the definitive resource to not justify, but to explain how the turn of events created the domination and insanity that was 1930s and 40s Germany.
While certainly not a short read, it is most definitely a fantastic one. It is no wonder why this is the definitive work on the topic.
In the top three or four.
Hitler's obsession to achieve power first through democratic means.
No, much too long
I read it in high school 50+ years ago. It meant much more after a lifetime of experience and a visit to Auschwitz.
This is certainly the finest book on history I have read period. The plethora of first hand accounts and research of original documents make this accurate and true. The personal touches make it very hard to put done.
Having just finished All The Light We Cannot See, I became somewhat fascinated with the study of Nazi Germany and the WWII time period in Europe. Mostly - "how did this happen?"
This book, while long, is an amazing and detailed account that answers the how question and many more. Brilliantly told through very detailed (and well referenced) anecdotes and events, it provides a very digestible and entertaining perspective that keeps your attention. A "light on a very dark time period" as a New York Times reviewer called it many years ago...and I have to agree.
Narration is spot on and Grover Gardner is the perfect choice to tell this story in an engaging and very believable way.
I've read the book twice since I was a teenager, and listened to this audio book recently and it is just as informative and engrossing as the first time.
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