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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 (4190 )
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  •  
    Bill Brock Chicago, IL, United States 01-19-12
    Bill Brock Chicago, IL, United States 01-19-12

    Bill Brock

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    4
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    "essential history:great presentation"
    What made the experience of listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich the most enjoyable?

    Shirer is a wonderful historian, and the book holds up extremely well. Gardner is a very sharp narrator. Highest recommendation.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff DULUTH, MN, United States 01-12-12
    Jeff DULUTH, MN, United States 01-12-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Great unexpected detail"
    What other book might you compare The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to and why?

    I've been into collecting and researching war and specifically ww2 since i was 10 im now 30 and this is the most descriptive single resource of the line of reasoning in the third reich i have come across. love it


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Edmonton, AB, Canada 01-03-12
    Matt Edmonton, AB, Canada 01-03-12 Member Since 2014
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    13
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    "Fabulous"

    I read this book as a teenager and reading it 20 years later I can see why I had such awful nightmares. The author shows the prejudges of the age by proving the psychotic Nazi leaders moral underpinnings suspect sue to homosexuality but that aside this is a magnificent work; Broad, compelling, intimate and horrifying without succumbing to often to sadistic voyeurism in the telling itself. Grover Gardner's narration is very fine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott United States 12-27-11
    Scott United States 12-27-11

    I like History and Christian Fiction. I like to recommend books that are descriptive, but not something I wouldn't recommend to my kids.

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    "Very In Depth And Entertaining"

    I loved this book. I'll be listening to it many times because there's a lot here, and because it reads like a novel. I enjoyed the authors writing style, and there were many times I found myself laughing at the things he said about Hitler and some of his minions.

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history, and especially anyone interested in WWII. I'm not a scholar of history, but I found there was a lot I didn't know about the war, and especially Germany.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Davis, CA, United States 12-23-11
    Patrick Davis, CA, United States 12-23-11 Member Since 2006
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    "A little dated....a little biased"
    Would you try another book from William L. Shirer and/or Grover Gardner?

    Probably not.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting part is that the author was personally in Germany during the war.


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

    NA


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    The author is not a historian but a journalist. Althouth this is not necessarily a fatal flaw, I felt he did not have a good sense for the lessons of history and what things were important. He seemed like a American reporter from the 1940s with the sort of opinions that might imply. He ranted quite a bit about how much fault the people of Germany must bear but made not attempt to relate that to how other people's behaved under similar circumstances. He goes on about Nazi atocities, but glosses over relavent incidents cause by allied powers. I think this author is not a good source to learn the history. He is too deeply vested in American bias and he is writing too close to the war to have the perspective that only time can provlde.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LifetimeRoad 12-20-11
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    "Did not disappoint"

    I read the 3 book "Third Reich" series by Richard Evans first, then this. Both are good. The narration is much better with "The Rise and Fall." It's hard to criticize Shirer's near perfect work.
    I guess if I had any criticism at all it would be that this book focuses intensely on the leaders and political details of the Third Reich and not much on the feelings of the common man and woman witnessing and suffering the "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". Having said that , it simply is a great book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bobby 12-13-11
    bobby 12-13-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Excellent"
    If you could sum up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    Unbelievable, amazing, wow


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stalin. Cold and calculating.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    the beer hall pouch.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The day after the first bombing of Berlin.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is so amazing, I found it hard to believe it was non-fiction. The story told is so insane the human brain does not want to believe it. I will have to read it a second time to take everything in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bobby 12-13-11
    Bobby 12-13-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    151
    4
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    "Excellent"
    If you could sum up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    Unbelievable, amazing, wow


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stalin. Cold and calculating.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    the beer hall pouch.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The day after the first bombing of Berlin.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is so amazing, I found it hard to believe it was non-fiction. The story told is so insane the human brain does not want to believe it. I will have to read it a second time to take everything in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerardo Corregidora, Mexico 12-01-11
    Gerardo Corregidora, Mexico 12-01-11 Member Since 2012
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    "Very Complete"

    I liked this audiobook. The story told seems to be very complete and well documented. The reading is good and the voice clear. I would recommend it as a first book to newly interested in the subject.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Brightwood, Virginia, United States 11-27-11
    William Brightwood, Virginia, United States 11-27-11 Member Since 2011

    Capt. Moroni

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    "Outstanding"

    As an audiobook, this is excellent. Grover Gardner is a superb narrator! The work is just as advertised. It is monumental. I am astounded at learning how this evil empire actually came to power. In context this book brings to understanding how it happened. But also, the total horror of the evil of the Nazi regime is explained. This event is not even a century behind us. I was not bored in the least as the author takes you in detail through each event, each diplomatic conversation, each attempt to appease the Austrian Corporal to no avail. I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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