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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

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Michalis Petrou 10-31-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent account of the Rise and Fall of Nazis"
    What did you love best about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    The first hand account of the author when he was in Nazi Germany. I basically loved everything about the book. Excellent listen. I cannot recommend it enough. It goes into detail on things that need to be detailed but it talks about mostly everything that have to do with the Hitler's regime. At the end of the book, you will feel much more knowledgable about this dark period of humanity.


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

    I did not listen his other performances before but this one was excellent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan N. Kilmer 10-30-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Amazing recount of WWII from the Nazi perspective."
    If you could sum up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    Amazing, exciting, terrifying.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The most interesting part of the book was how exactly Hitler managed to start the war "peacefully". It started with absolutely no shots fired and Hitler taking control of its two closest and well defended neighbors through fictitious plebiscites in which Hitler was able to win public opinion through trickery. It's a very interesting and genius way to take control of a territory and come out looking like the savior. It draws VERY similar ties to the way Russia is dealing with Ukraine right now. It's very interesting how history truly does repeat itself.


    Any additional comments?

    The entire book was packed with great information on how Hitler came to power and how he very quickly overtook most of Europe. It was a little slow to get started with the war, but the first few chapters provide critical details and introduce characters which play a big role later in the book. If you've ever wondered how an evil, war mongering, heartless man can win over a nation, wonder no more. This book reveals all those secrets and more.

    There is not a book I could more highly recommend for anyone interested in history, especially WWII.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Burgener Atlanta, Ga 10-16-14
    Richard Burgener Atlanta, Ga 10-16-14 Member Since 2016
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    "The foundation for learning about the Nazi era"
    Would you listen to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich again? Why?

    Definitely. There's so much information that no one can absorb it all from listening to it once.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Well, it's non-fiction, but I would say the most colorful accounts are the secret German papers and the personal diaries that recount candid quotes of the real Adolf Hitler.


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

    it is too long to do that


    Any additional comments?

    This is the definitive tome for this period in history. It can get very dry and tedious in parts but if you really want to learn more than what the history channel tells you about Nazi Germany, this is the book. You can learn everything of importance that happened, sometimes in great detail, sometimes in passing. But if you're like me and you think it is important to truly and deeply understand the "virus of national socialism" this book is very dependable. At times the author's bias and understandable moral stance seems a little too pervasive and the historical tone of the book veers of the road a little. It feels more like a 40's radio address in places (even American Propaganda), but this is understandable, given the author's personal experience with the Nazis. There is one frustrating part where the author refers to the gay members of the SA as "homosexual perverts". While these brutal Nazis may well have been perverts, it seems to imply they were perverts strictly on the basis of their being gay, which is definitely 20th prejudice. But these remarks are in passing and should not interrupt the listener's enjoyment and learning experience.

    Definitely an important book on an important subject.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bokworm 10-04-14
    Bokworm 10-04-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent Book"

    There is no way in an audible format you can listen and retain all the names, places, dates, etc. But you can listen and retain most of it in a more general way. This is an EXCELLENT history and Shirer did a great job in compiling facts. Performance, overall, story--extremely well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cristian 09-29-14
    Cristian 09-29-14
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    "A brilliant piece of history"
    Where does The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is definitely the best history book I have read/listened to. And it is also one amazing value, it contains over 50hs of history that you can buy with a single Audible credit.


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

    The chapter The New Order, where the author describes how Germany transformed under Nazi rule and how they treated the people that suffered their horrors.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Grover Gardner is excellent, his voice is vivid and his tone keeps the story moving forward. He also has nearly flawless pronunciation skills for German and French names (could use some improvement for slavic names but you can't blame him).


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

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


    Any additional comments?

    If you have even the slightest interest in European politics and history, get this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glen Canada 09-19-14
    Glen Canada 09-19-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Great work of history"
    What did you love best about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    Although written many decades ago, it's still very relevant as a remarkable work of history. The detail presented strikes the right balance throughout the work for the non academic listener.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Very well delivered.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tomas 08-14-14
    Tomas 08-14-14
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    "An insightfull look at the evil that men can do"
    If you could sum up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    Long, very long but so worth it because it explores the Third Reich in a way that lets you see into the minds of it's leaders.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Rommel and Churchill


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He reads it very well giving the long tale written by Shirer good pacing and by the end your so used to his voice that it's almost like your own.


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

    It made me think more than any thing else, think about the lives lost, the sacrifice, the tragedy, the heroism and the will of one person being able to change the world whether for good or bad.


    Any additional comments?

    covers the actual war quite well but if you want to listen to something more aimed at the Japanese and the 2nd world war in the pacific then I'd recommend another book but for the war in the west it does a superb job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Santa Clara, CA, United States 07-10-14
    Scott Santa Clara, CA, United States 07-10-14 Member Since 2011

    No B.S. reviews. I'll never soft-pedal bad writing or inept narration.

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    "Excellent"

    This is a chilling and superlative insight into the politics of the Third Reich. We've heard of the battles, the bombings, the Holocaust, the slaughter—but this book details the political maneuvering of Adolph Hitler and his gang of pseudo-idealogues in a very unique way.
    William L. Shirer was there, and his perspective as a correspondent through the rise, the fall, and the war trials, carries intrigue, adventure, and fascination.
    Grover Gardner is, of course, the best at this kind of reading, and is flawless.
    Highly disturbing, highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pete 07-06-14
    Pete 07-06-14
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    "Very in depth book on all aspects of WWII"
    What did you love best about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    Gives insight into the political concerns and thoughts of the day which plays a large role in some of the decisions made.


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

    None, unique complete book.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Well narrated.


    Any additional comments?

    In depth, accurate, insightfull.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colton 06-27-14
    Colton 06-27-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Incredibly detailed and enjoyable"
    What did you love best about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    The book is incredibly detailed in the story of Nazi Germany. If you want to learn about the history the Third Reich, this is the book to buy. I took a WWII history class in college at the same time I was listening to this book and honestly feel that I learned a lot more from the book than the lectures. This is an amazing book that nobody who is interested in learning about history should miss.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Richard
    rochester, United Kingdom
    12/7/10
    Overall
    "A unique account"

    This was the standard book at school 30 years ago for the study of the Third Reich. Reading it all these years later it has lost none of its impact. The writing style remains modern and clear and in my opinion is unmatched on the subject. Many good books have been written on this subject but Shirer witnessed events with his own eyes meeting many of the historical figures and seeing the bodies before nearly becoming a victim himself. Written in a time when reporting was still a noble art it was criticised as being anti German. For me it lays the facts out and leaves the reader to make his mind up. Despite its length superb narration makes this a stunning a thought provoking listen. Find the time.

    36 of 36 people found this review helpful
  • Colin
    Birmingham, United Kingdom
    2/18/11
    Overall
    "Finished - what do I do now?"

    I listened to all 57 hours in one month during many long drives and not a few late nights. Rarely have I enjoyed history so much. The quality of Shirer's writing has long since been recognised, but this is enhanced even further by the brilliant narration. Yes, there were occasions when my concentration lapsed, but ony because one is inevitably drawn to one aspect of the story rather than another. Most often I was riveted, and now it feels like an old friend has said farewell.

    28 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Paul Conder
    Auckland New Zealand
    2/15/11
    Overall
    "Fabulous history on the ipod"

    Don't be put off by the length the reader of this fabulous audio book captures you and continues to hold you as the history of Nazi Germany unfolds.

    The book itself remains a classic of World War II covering the broad history of the Third Reich from first tentative developments to the downfall and collapse in the Fuhrer Bunker.

    You will find it difficult to do anything else until you finish listening.

    The producers and reader have remained faithful to the work and the horror of a world war without getting dramatic.

    You will only find a few works that achieve the quality you find here.

    22 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Nick
    Chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom
    2/25/11
    Overall
    "Flawed but fascinating"

    Germany under the Nazis is probably one of the most written about periods of history and the seeker after information is spoiled for choice. Plenty of more recent studies have been done on the Nazi era but Shirer's work, now half a century old, still stands for me as the definitive history of the period.

    Of course, it has many flaws, not least Shirer's own very subjective take on the personalities and the events he documents. Shirer was a journalist, and he wrote as a journalist, not as an historian. But what the book might lack in terms of perspective, it gains tremendously in recounting Shirer's own first hand experiences of Nazi Germany. He lived and worked in Germany during the early days of Hitler and personally attended many of the events he described. he was also fortunate, as he describes in his introduction, to have been present when German government documents were seized by the advancing allied armies and to have been one of the journalists allowed to comb through this rich source of information.

    He describes, with frightening clarity, the failure of Britain, France and America to understand the danger posed by Adolf Hitler and the terrible results of the pre-war policy of appeasement, not least for the many millions who died in appalling conditions in Nazi extermination camps. The reader shares his frustration at the willingness of the western powers to sacrifice Austria and Czechoslovakia in order to buy a few more months of peace.

    This is a very long book which I read first when I was in my teens. The audio version is unabridged, and runs to an incredible 57 hours but the narrative will sweep you along. The reader perfectly captures the tone of the written volume. For those who want to find out how a madman can come to power in what should be a civilised country, there is no better source than this book.

    34 of 35 people found this review helpful
  • Kirstine
    Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom
    3/28/11
    Overall
    "History brought to life"

    Don't be put off by the immense length of this audio book: it's a riveting story that keeps you listening. I first read this book over 30 years ago and, though I had forgotten much of the detail, the power of its narrative had left an indelible memory. Listening again, rekindled the shock and amazement at this dark period of history. At times harrowing, it's like a fast-moving crime thriller. And, oh what crimes! What's so shocking is that it wasn't just a small band of psychopaths who had taken over Germany, but that so many people were willing to perpetrate unbelievably cruel treatment on other human beings. With the benefit of hind-sight one can see turning-points that changed history and the many missed opportunities by both sides to triumph or be defeated; or for peace or continued conflict. It's fascinating, if chilling, to see how Hitler started out as a consummate tactician, but latterly sunk into a megalomania that ruined his country.

    The book had involved an immense amount of research into captured secret papers of the Reich and greatly benefits from the author being an eye-witness working as a journalist for a US broadcasting company at this tumultuous period in history.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Martin
    Carnforth, United Kingdom
    1/17/11
    Overall
    "brilliant, scholarly, riveting and chilling"

    This is a monumental listen which despite its length flies along as the events unfold. The reader is very easy to listen to and never becomes a trial or gets in the way.
    Awesome, epic and illuminating. The examples of demagogues and schemers portrayed remain as relevant in our times. An absolute masterpiece. Strongly recommend it.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    London, United Kingdom
    5/2/11
    Overall
    "A Masterful Work"

    This is a truly masterful and objective history of the third Reich based on the mountains of captured Nazi documents after the war and therefore is not subject to a particular historians interpretation of events.

    Although long and sometimes a little difficult to digest due to - for example - the large number of individuals dealt with, this book is nevertheless an incredibly thorough coverage of Hitler's rise to power that will reward the reader with a wealth of knowledge throughout its scope.

    This has to be one of (if not, the most) complete treatment of the subject matter. I was amazed to read actual extracts of conversations that had been carefully documented with typical German efficiency. There is just so much here that I find it amazing that one man could write such a mammoth volume.

    A word on the narration; This could be a most difficult book for a narrator due to the frequent use of German names, places and other foreign language references. However, this is handled with superb skill by Grover Gardener who's delivery is both confident and precise. It is not surprising then perhaps that he has narrated some of the largest and complex volumes on other matters such as the American civil war.

    In summary, this is a long, but worthwhile masterpiece of work into some of history's darkest days which offers incredible insight into the mind of one of history's most infamous men.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Mair
    Co LeitrimIreland
    10/11/10
    Overall
    "a gripping riveting listen"

    I've only listened to half so far, and its gripping stuff. Not dry dull writing, but its alive, full of personalities and happenings, one steamrolling onto the next. And the reader is excellent. While its v.long, and I'm not sure I'll take it to the end, I dont think this matters, because its fantastic value, even if I only listen to the first half, as my main interest is in the rise of nazism.

    21 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Heather
    Forneth, Perthshire
    5/3/11
    Overall
    "Terrifying and compelling - don't miss this one!"

    Shirer lived through the years when Hitler came to power and brings his own observations to the narrative, but also much historical expertise. He had complete access to the archives of meetings and communiques between the key players in Germany and across Europe, plus the transcripts of the Nuremburg trials of the Nazis. This is impressive source material and Shirer deals with it brilliantly.

    The terrifying build up to a world war and the errors politicians made are important for today's international politics. It's a seriously scary read, totally gripping. His analysis of events is fascinating, but you'll be haunted by the impact it has on your own perspective on current world events.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas
    Leeds, United Kingdom
    2/13/11
    Overall
    "Totally amazing"

    Wow, what an audiobook. It was long, but I can't see how this particular book could have been shortened.

    It's all based on diaries, letters, minutes, logs of phone calls, direct quotes and other direct sources than just other historians material. This makes it all more compelling.

    Some parts are a little heavy - but that's to be expected, and they don't last that long.

    The whole period is truly staggering and to here details of it in such detail is truly amazing.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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