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)
Excellent History told superbly. Very good narration. At times I became nauseous while listening. Should be a required text for any world history course of study.
...told by one who was there.
This is a monumental work, but I haven't found an extra word. Very well-crafted and compelling. I'm sure there have been many discoveries that would alter some of the author's assertions, but this is an excellent primer if you're interested in what happened in Germany in the Nazi era.
Grover Gardner delivers a meticulous performance which is a joy to hear.
Chairman & CEO
The book held my attention the entire time and was thoroughly enjoyable throughout. the in-depth knowledge and first hand accounts of life in the Third Reich and the numerous cultural and historical factors that led to the rise of the world's most terrifying demagogue have never been so comprehensively conveyed to me. Too often in any world war 2 narrative they lack the focus on the politics of the 1920s and 30s that led to the rise of facism. Understanding National Socialism's early rise in the Weimar Republic better informs the atmostphere that surrounded global politics in the late 30s and early 40s. By the time 1938 rolls around and territorial ambitions start creeping in, it is understood completely how it was possible for the NSDAP to rise to such high positions.
My favorite thing about the book is that for the first half of it, the author seems to be always wherever the action is happening. Whether that is a Nazi official gathering in the Lobby of a hotel, an overheard conversation at a train station between Neville Chamberlain and Mussolini, or conversations with Nazi officials in the Pub owned by Hitler's older brother. Schirer seems to be present at roughly half of the major events that take place during Hitler's rise to power. because of that, he establishes a credibility that no other historian has been able to match in any other book on the subject that I have read.
One thing to note that made me consider dropping a star on my review is his opinion of homosexuality in this book. It is one thing to make small remarks that would seem bigoted to a modern reader which could be excused by the fact that this was written in the 60's but no such excuse can be made for Schirer in this book. He goes beyond simple homophobia and lumps homosexuality in with the parade of depravity and sadism that was rampant among the early Nazi party. While it is true that some homosexuals were indeed a part of the National Socialist movement (Ernst Rohm is one example), it is plain to see from a modern perspective that their sexual preference was not related to their psychopathy. Schirer uses their homosexuality as a way of explaining why these men were so perverse and sadistic.
As a piece of tremendous historical importance it is unfair perhaps to condemn the entire book for the prejudices of the author. The sheer weight of knowledge and astute analysis demands that this book be regarded as a tremendously important account of Mankind's most destructive period and I would personally recommend it to any lover of history (with my one caveat attached).
There was certainly an anti German element to the book. Many facts have since been exposed. All things considered it was very technical, very informative, I would recommend to anyone with an interest in the world wars & I intend to read it again..
I'm an advertising creative, musician and family man. I like long walks with a dog who won't bug me while I'm listening to a good book.
A very well-written and thorough piece of reportage, penned by an eye-witness to many events who had access to the voluminous secret Nazi documents unearthed after the war. Much has been made about Shirer — a war correspondent — and his less-than scholarly approach to chronicling the Third Reich. Many valid criticisms have been leveled suggesting his strokes are too broad, unbalanced and even a bit prejudiced. Yet, at 57 hours there's no denying the completeness of the work, considering it was published originally in 1960.
However, much of the narrative reflects American sensibilities of that pre-Civil Rights Movement era and can come off as needlessly opinionated by today's standards. Shirer, like most people in 1960, calls homosexuals "perverts" and talks in historical terms about the benefits of "Christian values." He never mentions Goering without reminding us that he was fat. "Corpulent" may be the single most-often used word in the book. His tendency to lump entire nationalities into a single mindset can be jarring.
Remember, too, that at the time of publication we had no idea the death toll suffered by the Soviet Union during the war [not to mention the toll of the Soviet purges]. Shirer can be forgiven, then, for portraying the US as the sole savior of the war. Few historians would make that mistake then. None would now.
Most interesting, though, are his paragraphs about how the development of radar suddenly defeated the submarine "wolfpack." He mentions what an astonishing technological development it was and how the Nazis thought they had a traitor reporting on U-boat whereabouts. Of course, they had no idea the Enigma Code had been broken and neither did Shirer.
Still, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" is an important roadmap over which to lay more complete histories of specific events and people. It's a solid overview and a worthy addition for the history buff or WWII enthusiast.
Science, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Military History, Thrillers, Great Courses, Horror, and anything with a good story. Please forgive errors.
All the information and how well it was presented.
He did a very good job.
Yes but it is too long.
Very interesting and compelling telling of the 1,000 year Reich by someone who was there and gathered some great information. Nothing can compare with this telling of Hitler's Reich.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This book had been sitting on my bookcase for thirty years. It had always intimidated me, whether it was the nearly three inches it covered on the shelf or the prominent swastika on the spine, I never had the spine to read it. Now that I have finally adopted the technology to listen to it, plugging in my ear-buds seemed to be an easy was to cover this material. I found the first part of the narrative, The Rise, to be very informative. Having read or listened to many WWII books I was familiar with the general series of events surrounding Hitler’s rise to power, but Shirer’s account made it all make sense to me. I can now relate with some sense of confidence the importance of the Beer Hall Putsch. I had always though of it as some sort of comedic blunder but now I realize it to be the pivotal event propelling Hitler into the National Socialist he would become. This behind the scenes information is the best feature of the book. What I did not get from this book is the overall sense of the progress of the war. Shirer is focused solely on the machinations of the Nazi Party and the megalomania of Adolph Hiler. The amount of narrative space given to the attempts on Hitler’s life, including the famous Valkyrie plot, is enormous considered against the backdrop of the Third Reich. This account does give one a sense that Hitler was a figure of destiny and nothing was to deter him from accomplishing his nefarious goals. I enjoyed this narrative history very much, the lacuna concerning the balance of the goings on of the was have rekindled my interest so that I will certainly seek out more WWII history.
Grover Gardner is for me an acquired taste. His high-pitched nasally voice grates on my ears. But over the course of the first few hours I came to enjoy his perfect pronunciation and steady pacing. He became the voice in my head for William L. Shirer; he became transparent. Perhaps it is good to have a monotonous reader for works of history thus allowing the direct transmission of the words on the page to the brain. I found Gardner’s lack of intonation to be an obstacle to be overcome. That it can be overcome is a testimony to the dynamic force of the narrative.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
This book started off with the author saying he's going to try to be as objective as possible, and he puts a bit of an effort. But then there are parts where his perspective and apparent surprise at how "stupid" some Germans are comes as a surprise. Granted, I know Hitler committed a lot of crimes against a lot of people and is extremely hated for it. That's why I hoped this book would try and see through the propaganda for pro-Nazi and anti-Nazi individuals and try to explain exactly what happened.
For the most part, it did not disappoint. But because of the author's many attempts to fill in the holes with information he most likely had no way of knowing for certain, I take away a star from the overall rating.
I listened/read a bit about the topic so was a bit skeptical.
the book is not about the "wrong" nazi regime, it is all too easy to call it evil. The writer takes you an a journey first prior to the nize period. trying and succeding to show what the living conditions of the different groups in pre- nazi germany.
The french occupation of the rine land and the things that made party's like those of hitler possible. Never to fall in golifying nor ridicule the movement.
The reads gets facts, raw data, and if the writer gives his view, what not ofthen happens and when it does to put things in persective, it is clearly noted.
the writer is not scared to state "hitler was a genius", yet not read it the wrong way, he is no fan of the regime but recognise trhe fact the 1 person, not ever the favorite in his party can make it to dictator, using the democratic system.
but is not just state, explains how germany and Hitler came to these ... honestly, factual and detailed.
i would say a must read for everyone intersted in the topic,
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it
mianly factual ... not a writes view, not condeming book, make your own oppinions.
An epic historical masterpiece. This is one of the best works of non-fiction I've ever read.
Gardner's performance is pretty close to perfect in its tone and cadence. He is understated and very matter of fact, but does a fantastic job of mirroring the author's own tone.
The author brings the vast array of events and personalities into a tightly knitted story. Amazing insight into the way people can be manipulated , even when the folly of their leaders is open for all to see.
"A fascinating insight....."
Grover Gardiner is excellent and the detailed content of this book lays bare the Third Reich and its objectives.
The length is required to weave a Rich and full account of the rise and fall of the Third Reich.
So good I am on my 3rd listen.
"The definitive story."
No stones left unturned, don't be put off by the age of the book, it will be read for the next two thousand years.
"Fascinating and utterly brilliant"
An incredibly well written and well read history of one of the darkest periods of the last century. This should be a part of every school syllabus.
"The best historical audio book i have listened to"
This is without doubt one of the best historical audio books you can listen to about WW2. The aurthor plotts the rise of hitler so throughly and in such depth that when the final days of the bunker are descibed u can almost feel u are their. The narrator grover gardner did an excellent job considering the length of the narrative and the way william shirer wrote the book through personnal accounts of what happened to bring about hitlers 3rd reich is just brilliant. i cannot recommend this highly enough .The best audio book on history that i have ever listened to...
Yes if they were interested in the topic.
i could compare it to Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb. The depth of detail and information presented in a timeline are quite similar and also the narrator is the same so the audio books feel similar in that respect, too.
Obviously the sections pertaining to the Holocaust
I learned a lot, particularly about the lead up to the war and the formation of the Nazi party. How there were several opportunities to avoid the war if Britain and France had shown some backbone, how Russia enabled the war to happen and what a terrible war strategist Hitler was - we were lucky he was an insane control freak else it could have been a very different outcome. Fascinating stuff.
"monumental in every way"
fascinating, compelling and comprehensive, and in these febrile populist times, never more important.
wonderfully read, too, by Grover Gardner, whose voice, appropriately, has the gravelled timbre of a 1950s radio announcer.
"An education in every detail."
I've given my reviews, 5 stars in every category not because this is a great story, but because it's a detailed historical review written by a man who has carried out research so thoroughly such that even in 2016 it has stood the test of time as one of the best histories in the making of monsters.
Its chilling how much of this history the world choses to ignore.
"Good first part"
Good start to the series, there's a fair amount of politics, which, unless you are really into politics is hard to follow. Overall tho I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys this part of history.
"An epic and fascinating history of WW2"
This is one of the best books I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
The reader is pleasant to listen to and words are enunciated well.
The author offers a different perspective of the Third Reich , ( he doesn't shy away from the horrors of the war and policies of the Nazi's but also doesn't allow them to detract from giving the history of the Reich).
The book answers a lot of the why and how of Hitler's rise to power. (Questions I've never had properly explained until this book).
All of the known historical figure are covered along with the other generally unknown names.
This is a 2010 production of a book originally copyrighted in 1959. It's an astounding piece of work.
The production is excellent.
If you have any interest in WW2 you will be educated buy this book.
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