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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

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  •  
    Saud United States 05-08-13
    Saud United States 05-08-13 Member Since 2007

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Informative, but feels biased"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Olaf Tisselt, Belgium 02-25-13
    Olaf Tisselt, Belgium 02-25-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Very intresting book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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


    What did you like best about this story?

    mianly factual ... not a writes view, not condeming book, make your own oppinions.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    anne ATLANTA, GA, United States 11-12-12
    anne ATLANTA, GA, United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2012

    Painter/writer

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    "Great way to revisit this account"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Having read this book the first time in college decades ago, I found listening to this highly satisfying. The narrative that William Shirer wrote lends itself so well to the audio format, perhaps because he was himself a radio reporter. It is chilling to consider how much of Hitler's rise to power that Shirer saw firsthand, and his use of the Nuremberg archives to piece together the whole horrendous tale is masterful. He and the narrator explain the seemingly inexplicable: how a combination of distraction, seduction and domination so led the German people to acclaim "that corporal from Austria" as their Furher.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vadim von Brzeski Milpitas, CA United States 10-16-12
    Vadim von Brzeski Milpitas, CA United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Amazing story"
    Any additional comments?

    One review above mentioned that it "held his attention for the full 54 hours". I strongly second that review. If you only read one book about the Third Reich, read this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathon Provo, UT, United States 09-25-12
    Jonathon Provo, UT, United States 09-25-12
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    "Makes all other WWII books cry like a little girl"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This was exceptionally well written; not dry like other histories I have read. It is also incredibly well researched and expertly put together. He discusses his bias at the beginning of the book, but still manages to remain remarkably objective. It doesn't get much better than this.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Old Bridge, NJ, United States 09-02-12
    Anthony Old Bridge, NJ, United States 09-02-12 Member Since 2012
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    "I can't believe i listened to this whole book"
    If you could sum up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    Detailed, Long, Insightful


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The narrator- The writer of the book was a journalist that lived through the Nazi years in Germany. I like his take, his asides and overall personality.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Beerhall Putsch


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

    Everything you ever wanted to know about Nazis


    Any additional comments?

    The book is read well, and i'm sure it was a challenging task. The books spends the majority of time going over actual journal entries of the men closest to Hitler and even Hitler himself. The book is heavy on military actions, thoughts, and procedures during the Third Reich. It covers Hitler's rise to power, the way the government was fundamentally changed and how that was accomplished, the military conquests, defeats, and fears of the fuhrer. The book is very long but doesn't get boring. If you're interested in how Nazi Germany was possible- look no further.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Herod Australia 09-01-12
    S. Herod Australia 09-01-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Incredibly detailed and often compelling"
    What did you love best about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    The level of detail and the author's personal insight and experiences as an observer of the Third Reich.


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

    The description of Nazi atrocities towards the end, but also a great many of the little details


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

    He does a pretty good hitler


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

    Long


    Any additional comments?

    Contents kind of odd, the first 11 years of Hitler's rule is in great detail, including about 2 hours worth of content just on Czechoslovakia - but the last 2 years of the war are passed through extremely quickly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Campbell Celina, Tn, US 08-29-12
    Terry Campbell Celina, Tn, US 08-29-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A great read"
    Would you listen to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich again? Why?

    This is a great audible book. It was most useful to me to read the book along with the audible book because I could not pronounce, or figure out, the correct pronunciation of the German words. Very well done. tc


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

    Hitlerland, and Berlin Diary. These are accounts of William Shierer's diary and other journalists in pre war Germany which give a good account of Hitler's rise. tc


    Which scene was your favorite?

    N/A


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim GREENVILLE, SC, United States 08-27-12
    Kim GREENVILLE, SC, United States 08-27-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Amazing and Horrifying"

    This is a big chunk of book! It is everything you ever wanted to know about the Third Reich. Shirer is thorough, extremely thorough, yet somehow not boring. The narrator also keeps things flowing, without sounding like a droning history teacher. Very well done.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Maine 08-23-12
    Dave Maine 08-23-12 Member Since 2004
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    "An essential history book; a must listen."

    Shirer was in Germany during the nazis rise to power and this monumental historical account is based on what he personally observed (often in the same room as Hitler) as well as original documents seized by the allies after the war. Grover Gardner's performance is excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 51-60 of 258 results PREVIOUS156726NEXT
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  • SeaEagle1453
    UK
    3/26/13
    Overall
    "A very good book"

    I thought this was an excellent book which provided both a well written account of the whole life cycle of Hitler's evil regime and how by degree the web of fate gradually entangled so many in Germany and the inexorable slide from triumph to total disaster. The role of the army is well dealt with and a clear picture of the political class' inability to deal with the situation and Adolf's continual gambling instinct which at first serves him well, before bringing catastrophe, are described in detail. Shirer's personal perspective as an eye witness to all this adds greatly to the piece. The reason I did not give it 5 stars centres on the narration which I felt was slow in places. On the whole an excellent book and I would recommend to anyone interested in the period.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    GLOUCESTER, United Kingdom
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "Overall very good"

    Overall an excellent listen, informative and detailed and the narrator does a good job by adding dramatic tone where appropriate. The book sometimes lingers on the peculiarities of the third reich for a little too long and in contrast skips other periods all too briefly which causes me to question the priorities of the writer on which areas he focuses on.

    Overall this results in an interesting listen on a dark period of history that is difficult not to reccomend and is essential listening for those interested in the the second world war, focusing on nazi germany.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • leeyue
    United Kingdom
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "Lee"

    This book is epic. Well worth the reading time for anyone who is interested in the WWII.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • eamonn
    United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "A tour de force"

    With some trepidation I approached this mammoth task ... some 56 hours. I can now say with certainty that this was one of the greatest investments of my time ever. The narrative and flow is superb with tangents used beautifully to add details and enhance understanding. If the subject of nazism interests you from either a sociological or anthropological viewpoint this historical account is a perfect starting point. Truly entertaining and brilliant. EJK

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David Richardson
    UK
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "A fantastic read!"

    This is my first Audible purchase and it's wonderful! I read this book in hard copy many years ago and Grover Gardner's narration really brings it alive, with no annoying mispronunciations. This book has been my companion on many running sessions and has helped the miles fly by. It is also incredibly good value especially when bought via subscription - I would recommend it to anyone!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • andrew
    winsford, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "an Ok book"

    very intersting but gets a bit repetitive after a while . plenty of facts and information but nothing really new.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kevin
    OMAGH, United Kingdom
    11/24/12
    Overall
    "Best narrator ever - great (but flawed) book."

    The narration of this is at a level of professionalism several levels above anything else I have heard, and I have heard a lot of audiobooks. Grover injects meaning into every syllable.



    The book is by a journalist of the times and as such should be considered as more a work of journalism than a history text. At times the author is very happy to share his personal opinion as if it were fact. As long as you keep this in mind and don't take it all as gospel then you can enjoy it for what it is, which is a superb listen which is a real insight into the history of the Nazi's and the Second World War.



    It has certainly given me a new perspective on my own life and I hope younger people read it. There is so much we can learn from history. Oh, and it is well long - so really good value. You won't want to put it down ;)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Philip
    Stafford, United Kingdom
    7/24/12
    Overall
    "Better than any novel"

    This is a long book, but it's so fast paced and well written it still feels far too short - I honestly could have listened to this had it been twice as long. Shirer was a journalist, not a historian, so his style is much more emotional and descriptive than a straight history book would have been. At times he perhaps lets his opinions colour his writing a little too much (especially with is dated view on homosexuality), but by and large the tone is just right.

    One thing I would point out though - this is a book focussed almost exclusively on Hitler and those close to him, so the actual campaigns of WW2 get little attention. I'm sure there are other books that will fill those gaps of course.

    If you have even the slightest interest in WW2, and what lead to it, this is a must have, and is brilliantly narrated by Grover Gardner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Wirral, United Kingdom
    3/5/12
    Overall
    "Simply a great book"

    This marathon of a book kept me gripped the whole way through. It gives a detailed account of the rise and fall of Hitler. Anyone wanting to know a bit about WW2 should read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ade
    WALLINGTON, United Kingdom
    2/16/12
    Overall
    "Please Peruse this Volume."

    There's a reason this work remained on my selves for 30 years, it is long, 1356 pages of dense text. It is an almost scholarly work that suffers from having been written shortly after the war and the language is rather socially unsophisticated and often time offensive (of the German people) by the standards of today. The grammar is at times ropey.

    It is a long book, and in essence a history of the 1939 -1945 war. While the recent entanglements in Gulf of Persia are mismanaged misadventures which are a matter of bitter regret - after all old, or even middle aged men in comfy chairs do not fight wars, this book might be a slightly sympathetic prism through which to view those wars - I mean, who wants to go down in history as 'an appeaser'. The length of this book is necessary to chronicle how WWII came about and that it shouldn't have.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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