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)
Utterly required for any student of 20th century history, or WWII buff. This book is unusually well written, and very well read. One of the best bargains in the Audible Library.
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.
I think that William Shirer suffered from the perspective of being too close to a situation to be able to explain it succinctly.
From this book I learned a lot about Hitler's background, how he rose to power in Germany, and now have fair understanding of the state-of-mind of the average German at that time (as well as seeing the stance of many international leaders of the day). Yet, after 40+ hours I have reached my limit.
This book was exhausting to listen to. I found my thoughts wandering away from the story as it delved deeper into details, despite my best efforts to concentrate and stay on-topic. I had a hard time when people were mentioned in context, of whom I had never heard before, but who were being spoken about as if they were a household name. So while I thought about them, the story moved on... and I moved further and further away... until I would lose the thread altogether. The author was certainly passionate enough about his subject, but that could not save the history lesson from becoming boring at times, which did not help my cause any.
With that said, this book would add a wonderful addition of first-hand knowledge/insights from an experienced journalist, to the reader/listener who already has a fair knowledge of the events surrounding Hitler, WWI and WWII.
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.
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.
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.
I have read many books on the civil war and revolutionary wars, but realizing that I didn't know much about the specifics of WWII, I began to look for books about this time. Naturally, I came first to this book. It promised to answer for me what I felt is the big question as you look back at the atrocities of WWII, "How could someone like Adolf Hitler actually come to power and rule over a large nation like Germany?", "Why was he tolerated,even when his regime was so obviously brutal?" This book answered these questions completely and revealed atrocities and intrigues that I had no idea of. I believe that every American, indeed every human, should read this book, so that something like Nazi Germany has very little chance of occurring again. Even if you are familiar with this time period, you may be surprised, as I was, at the visionary genius of Hitler. A mad genius, to be sure, but he clearly knew what he wanted to happen and planned out all aspects of his rule far in advance, including the surprise attacks and extermination of anyone who might oppose him. You also get a sense of what the world would have to expect if Hitler had succeeded, simply because he had already crafted his plans for all the territories that he hoped to occupy. In many ways this book is the most terrifying book I have read, because it shows how evil man can be.
This book combines the authors notes as a war correspondent, research into public records from the war and most importantly, secret documents of the Nazi military and government bureaus. It provides a historical "man on the street view" and a "behind closed doors" view of Hitler's inner circle.
Detailed, Long, Insightful
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.
The Beerhall Putsch
Everything you ever wanted to know about Nazis
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.
"Insulting, Incorrect, Ignorant"
This is not a history book. It is a subjective story from the authors perspective!
The Performance is gripping.
This book is not to be taken serious but its a good story... . Its not an objective account of history.
A bit dated. Some new facts have emerged since it was written but still a great book.
The fact that he knew most of the leading historical characters and lived in Nazi Germany and saw events personally gives it an edge over purely historical histories of the Third Reich.
Would recommend this without hesitation.
"Important History for Everyone"
I have listened to this book twice: once on its own, and once using Audible in conjunction with the hard copy book. I recommend the latter.
The final scenes of the Third Reich live with me to this day from the book. The fall and folly of the once mighty.
No. But after listening to him for over 60 hours reading this epic I feel I have known him for years!
This book is recommended reading for everyone. It leaves you thoughtful as you see similar scenes playing out across the world 70 years later. Why does the human race never learn lessons from history.
"The Ultimate Story of WW2"
This was a mammoth listen, with such great detail and clarity. Too much to absorb in one go, will replay again later in the year.
A history and an education, bringing together lots of different sources in one text, stating where others are conflicting
"Very informative and interesting"
Slow to start but detailed and full of pictorial language to set the scene and make you feel you are within the time
This was one of the most insightful and enjoyable reads i have had in a long time and also learning in the process.
cant think of any thing else as insightful and informative as this
learn our leason
An excellent audiobook, which I completed in just under a month. Grover Gardner's voice really adds to the content of the narrative. Aside from William L Shirer's outdated views on homosexuality, which are typical of his era, I have only praise for this audiobook.
"Great book but not if ur homosexual"
Great history book , good narrator but completely home phobic . He list home sexuals in the same category as a rapist , killers and perverts saying hitler would let anybody in his party. Maybe showing it age a bit on that front
"Brilliant book well read 😄"
Nothing to dislike enjoyed very much
From the beginning to the end I would recommend this book to history lovers .
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