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)
When I was in high school, I read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". I just listened to it on Audible. It really is an extraordinary book about a truly unbelievable series of events. I really think everyone should read or listen to it at least once. If you think you know the story, trust me you don't. It is long to be sure, but I can't recommend it highly enough. Listen to it. It will change the way you think about everything.
informative, engrossing, emotional
The way that Shirer puts you right in the middle of Hitler's inner circle, and his thoughts, in the months and days leading up to WWII are fascinating. You actually feel as if you are a fly on the wall sitting in on events that would lead up to one of the most terrible events in human history.
This is impossible to answer. Gardner immediately became my favorite narrator of all-time after hearing this book. He brings this epic tome to life in a way that's impossible to imagine without listening to it. It would take something special to live up to the brilliant work of Shirer's work and Gardner is definitely up to the task.
As long as this book is I have listened to it numerous times and have discovered something new each time. I imagine that I will listen to it many more times throughout the years.
If you are at all interested in WWII or the Nazis or Adolph Hitler and are on the fence about this book you need to jump off that fence and buy this book now. If you only listen to one audiobook in your life let it be this one. I cannot praise this book enough. It was the first audiobook I ever listened to and it sparked my newfound love of this fascinating genre.
Fly On Wall.The German leaders documented everything. Very many "private" meetings contained a stenographer, or witness, in order for their historic machinations to be recorded, enshrined, studied, and celebrated centuries later, with the war won and Europe re-formed. Shirer, beginning a decade after the war, spent years reading the enemy's meticulous records of meetings and interviewing persons who were there. HE was there, in a few cases.
No other book so takes you into Hitler's inner sanctum, except Albert Speer's, and Speer wasn't privy to most of the strategy sessions that this book reveals.
A year later I don't recall the narration getting in the way.
It's too long for that.It drags in a few places, but I let it run. The few such areas, mostly early in the book, set the table for the jaw-dropping passages. And very many times, listening, I felt a mental "chink," as my previous understanding of WWII suddenly solidified. Another puzzle piece falling into place - another insight gained, as I realized why things happened as they did.
You learn Why Hitler made the decisions he did. Why, for instance, with Europe well in hand, did he invade Russia? What was he THINKING? You will confidently understand the answer, after listening to this book. There will be many times when you will say to yourself, "So THAT'S it!" This is the glue that links other bits of WWII knowledge, and without it my knowledge of the war was incomplete. Over a year after listening, this book still resonates, and stands out among the scores and scores of Audiobooks I have listened to as arguably the very best.
This book was such a great read and at over 57 hours, it took a while. In fact, it was one of those things, almost like Breaking Bad being over, where you just sat there for a while with silence pondering all that it meant to listen to it. This guy was in Germany during many of the pivotal parts of this time and this book, being written when it was, was a great primary source for so much information. His stories about the Nazi's and Germany itself, were compelling and terrorfying. I cannot imagine a better book to listen too to understand the full depth and breadth of that evil band.
The thing is, any other history prior to this seems to be dated, top hats, roaring 20s, dust bowl, depression, and yet, the reality of this story clamours and vibrates right into the frontal cortex of our brains to this day so obtrusively, that with their type writers, uniforms, planes, cars, we can recognize this world as very similar to our own. And, in an age that tries to stand up high and say we are now above the barbarism of the ancient worlds, this still bears us in the face. We have to ask ourselves, how? We recognize that the people that made up the cities and villages of Germany could not have been too different from us. They look like a lot of peoples' grand parents, and they are too. So, this being the fundamental watershed moment of the 20th century, i suggest you do indeed look it straight in the face here, through this fine production, a classic, based on endless reams of firsthand documentation, riveting.
Now it is a mammoth, and perhaps you will have to take breaks getting through this (i listened to a book or two in between before finally finishing it). It is heavy subject matter, as intriguing as it remains. The perspective is the German government. The inside world of the beuracracy, politics and war rooms. At the center of course is Hitler. At the center is this insane ideology. And a hurricane sparks to save Germany from poverished times through promises of order and stability. They got those things. There is the genius of Hitler's political maneuvering. He becomes a savior.
So much of this story will always of course be beyond understanding. Shirer tells it as it occurred through the remaining documentation and the accounts of the nuhremburg trials. But if nothing else, you as a reader/listener in a way enter into this world. And so from that perspective, you may have as much insight into it as someone who was living there at the time, looking back; though even that, after all is said and done, perhaps isn't worth that much.
strength is power. is an approach to the world that will leave you in shame. hitler was a wolf-person. these are among the key insights i took away from the work.
This is the classic account of Nazi Germany written by an eyewitness to historical events. This book is thoroughly researched and brimming with painstaking references to the captured secret documents of the National Socialist regime and to the Nuremberg trial archives. A truly magnificent history book by a non-historian. Mr. Shirer was a journalist, one of Edward R. Murrow's "boys," which means this book is written in an engaging and dynamic fashion. I personally love how he repeatedly refers to Hitler as "the tramp from Vienna" or "the former corporal." This is a "big history" book, concerned with big men and big events. I would suggest listening to it along with Richard J.Evans' trilogy on the Third Reich, which gives a "man on the street" account of Nazi Germany, and you will have as good an understanding of this subject as can be expected from a lay person. The performance by Mr. Gardner is spot on.
Phew, finally finished. This book is only exceeded in length by War and Peace and the Bible, and finishing it is a serious accomplishment.
This book is outstanding. The narration is flawless and perfect for the subject. When I bought it, knowing the length, I thought it was going to feel like a painful undertaking. Within a chapter, I was totally engrossed, and that continued to the end. I kept reading because I truly wanted to. I had no idea the history of the Nazis would be so fabulously entertaining. For one of the lowest moments in human history, it's an amazingly interesting. I think the 30s and 40s were so profoundly different than now, not to mention the German people so different, that it's compelling to learn about them in that time. Surprisingly, despite being nearly 60 years old, it does not read as old.
This book, in a way, plays with your psychology, in a way I had not expected. You know the horrors of the Nazis. You know they were horrible people, murderers, and heartless butchers. Yet while reading this, I'm almost embarrassed to admit, being written mainly from their point of view makes you almost root for them, at times. Of course, the book is quick to remind you of the millions who lost their lives (including millions of brave Americans), of the horrible treatment and annihilation of the Jews, and of the rampant racism that was seemingly acceptable at the time. This psychology makes it almost possible to understand how the German people could get wrapped up in a charismatic leader who propped them up as a superior race.
Part of the charm of this book is that it describes so many things completely unthinkable, yet it is a work of historical non-fiction. It's almost unthinkable today that the Nazis would speak openly at rallies of Jews needing to be eliminated, and of the superiority of the German race, while thousands in the crowd cheered. In fact, it was usually the main topic of their rallies. Hitler openly published his desires for the end of Jewry and the domination of Europe years before he was in power, and despite Mein Kampf being a best seller, the world didn't seem to pay attention, or didn't mind. Anything even remotely close to this today would be immediately condemned, so it is so hard to imagine that this was acceptable in the 1930s.
It was also amazing to learn how close the Nazis came to ruling Europe. It is quite possible that, if Hitler hadn't made some serious grievous mistakes (mainly, attacking Russia, and even then if he had attacked Russia before the winter), Germany would've ruled the entire European mainland. Had this happened, we may never have known of their butchery, of their crimes against humanity, or it may have been too late for European Jews, or we may have been powerless to stop it even if we had. History is written by the victors, and I doubt a victorious Germany would've let the world know of it's holocaust. It is highly doubtful we would have had the relatively peaceful second half of the 20th century that led to the modern and stable western world we have today. A dominant Nazi Germany with time to develop the atom bomb was shockingly not far from a reality, as this book makes all too clear.
This book is built from the personal experience of the author who was a reporter in Germany during the rise of the Nazis, as well as extensive research of the wealth of documents that survived. It does an outstanding job of wrapping your head around the unthinkable truth, supplying you with all the gory details, while being thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end.
Will read (or in this case, listen) to just about anything.
Truly excellent book. While incredibly long with some passages that go on and on, it's utterly fascinating. And how one party could take over the minds and wills of an entire country's population is nothing short of terrifying. Strongly recommended. The narration is also perfect.
Detailed, well-written, relevant.
Grover Gardner narrates well, and his voice is clear and compelling. Unfortunately, his pronounciation of the German names and places was enough to significantly distract me so I found myself waiting for the next German name (of which there are many) and shouting the correct pronounciation to the distress of fellow travellers. This was enough to make me stop and give up after a few hours... in fairness, though, Grover Gardner IS a good narrator and I will be actively looking for other books narrated by him.
Yes, the pronounciation of the German names and places made me cry ;-)
If you are not a German native speaker, I strongly recommend this audiobook as well as Grover Gardner's narration.
older listener -- enjoys books rather than california traffic. enjoys running while listening -- or is it the other way around?
I orignally listened to the books-on-tape edition (circa 1985). This was really a great learning experience
The Hitler histrionics
This is really supurb
Please -- this is about the most dastardly war monger of the world. It makes you sit up and notice
Listen to it -- do yourself a favor
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