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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Audiobook

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

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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

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  •  
    S. Herod Australia 09-01-12
    S. Herod Australia 09-01-12
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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
  •  
    Kim GREENVILLE, SC, United States 08-27-12
    Kim GREENVILLE, SC, United States 08-27-12 Member Since 2013
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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 Canada 08-20-12
    Dave Canada 08-20-12
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    "Fantastic - better than sitting in history class"

    I learned more listening to this book than I did in my entire semester of history. And " I am enjoying it!"

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brent 08-11-12
    Brent 08-11-12
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    "Hard to stop listening to this one"

    I've always been intrigued by WW II. This book provides an excellent narrative using an inside view but mostly based on the journals and documents of those that were part of Hitler's inner circle. I highly recommend this book to all.

    Some parts are very disturbing, but we should never close our eyes to the bad side of human nature. The scary part is to think that it happened only seventy or so years ago.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mmgo905 08-10-12
    Mmgo905 08-10-12 Member Since 2013
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    "History to listen to"

    I now want to know more about the second world war. A good way to spend your credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michaelbrent Meridian, ID, United States 07-30-12
    Michaelbrent Meridian, ID, United States 07-30-12
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    "THE Work on the Subject"
    If you could sum up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    Well researched; fascinating.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Wonderful having someone read this; the subject matter being what it was, I sometimes have difficulty digging into the information, so having a narrator along for the ride was extremely helpful!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Horrifying to listen to the way half of the world fell into insanity.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan I. 07-30-12
    Joan I. 07-30-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Long but worthwhile"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is An amazing account of the life and actions of Hitler. It is often very complicated but the writer keeps it interesting. I wish everyone, especially high school students would read this book. It is a piece of history that we don't really know. The holicost is only a piece of the pie. The man was an evil genius. I'm glad I took the time to get through the whole recording.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There are no favorite characters.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    I would never never have gotten through this book by reading it. This recording makes it interesting.


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

    The entire book amazed me. So many time, in the book, the writer tells of an event and then explains that if this hadn't happened, history would have been totally different. Small and large events that all contributed to Hitler's devastating path. It was amazing.


    Any additional comments?

    If you can't get through this book, there must be an abridged version that is a must read. We need to know what this man did and ask ourselves how did he get away with it?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosemarie Fishkill, NY, United States 07-12-12
    Rosemarie Fishkill, NY, United States 07-12-12 Member Since 2016

    rc1000

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    "Important and compelling"
    Where does The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This ranks number one among the nonfiction audiobooks I have listened to so far. Although the audiobook is very long it’s journalistic style is compelling and the overall impact on my view of world history was profound.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The events are told in a frank and even couragous manner.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Midland Park, NJ, United States 07-11-12
    Daniel Midland Park, NJ, United States 07-11-12
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    "Compelling and Complete"

    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a behind the scenes account of the men and madness that brought Europe its darkest hour. Most American accounts of the European war focus on battlefield heroism and the horrors of the Holocaust. Shirer, who reported from German from the early days of the Weimar Republic until the declaration of war on America, focuses on the conversations behind doors, diplomatic confrontations, and generally how decisions were made in this regime. To this end, he seems to have read every relevant diary entry and the minutes from every important meeting. His narrative does not stand aloof with academic objectivity but tells a dramatic story of deception, betrayal, ruthlessness, and sadism dripping with vitriolic contempt for the Nazis and those who failed to stop them.

    Gardner's reading is compelling as well. It definitely kept my attention for the whole 60 hours.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Corey 07-06-12
    Corey 07-06-12
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    "Be prepared for a long haul."
    What did you love best about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    I really like how the author pulls many different sources to give a seemingly well rounded account of events during Hitler's life.


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

    To many. But hearing about Hitler's early years is a plus.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not laugh or cry, unless you count the emotions that are sure to arise when listening to accounts of how human beings treated each other.


    Any additional comments?

    A very long read, but one which I believe needs to be visited. To hear a history of the Nazi party for yourself, and not just hearsay over the radio or television.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • G. Langdon
    UK
    5/14/15
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    "An amazing history"

    A fantastically narrated super in depth history covering all the major players and episodes from 1933 to 1945. Very enjoyable and informative

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Edinburgh, UK
    5/8/15
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    "Brilliant"

    Long but never got bored. Very interesting and well written. Reader is also good with pauses in all the right places.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr S.M.R.Plocki
    4/28/15
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    Story
    "Masterful story-telling."
    Would you listen to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich again? Why?

    Yes, the definative account of the Third Reich, brilliantly told.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    N/a


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The whole is compelling, there are far too many interesting scenes to pick out one..


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Enough to make anyone cry.


    Any additional comments?

    This should be compulsory reading for all studies in human nature and politics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • FJ
    4/14/15
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    "Exceptional"

    Absolutely brilliant, it's the first book I've read/listened to and thanks to it, certainly will not be the last!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kdl
    2/27/15
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    "Remarkable account"

    I love to listen to long and detailed historical accounts. This is a fantastic piece of work that draws together the political and human events and the madness of a group of men that had lost all sense of reality that allowed the Third Reich to be born and its inevitable death. For anyone interested in history or with an ounce of curiosity of why Europe is shaped the way it is today, this book is a must. I listen to it over and over again and never get bored.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • B. Pend
    Didsbury, Madchester
    8/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "FASCINATING"
    What did you like most about The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

    An enthralling listen from the start to the finish.
    I listened to the book in two hour blocks as I drive frequently, due to my work. If you want to really know about the Second World War, then this book is a must listen.
    It is based on the war files found after the war in the German archives and reveals the true machinations of the Third Reich.


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

    The book is comparable with the World at War television series.
    I found the time line of the different battles fascinating. The initial battle in Europe was a over in weeks after Hitler invaded Belgium and Holland. Why did he stop his tanks from cutting off the British withdrawal?


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    The narration is superb.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    There is a chapter towards the end which goes into more detail about The Final Solution. Truly horrific on every scale. I found this chapter very hard to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    Britain got a lot of flack for initially appeasing Hitler. I am sure America would of played a large part in advising Britain in this period, although this is hardly mentioned.
    At one stage he even says that the King's consort was pro German. He fails to mention that she was American and probably reflected America's views on Hitler at that time.
    The author was an American correspondent based in Berlin. He negates to mention his own failure in alerting his fellow countryman.
    He also fails to mention the breaking of the Enigma Code, which was a vast help to the allies?
    Overall a great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • N. Sumner
    North West
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fascinating look at Hitler's bizarre story"
    Would you listen to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich again? Why?

    I might not listen to it again - it's a big work. But also, it's very clearly described and didn't leave me feeling like I needed to revisit parts to properly understand them.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There was a lot in here, particularly regarding Hitler's extraordinary rise to power and the events leading to the outbreak of the Second World War, that I knew nothing about. Some of the political manoeuvring is fascinating, and Mr Shirer had a very close view of it, living and working in Germany prior to the war.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Mr Gardner's performance is very measured, unhurried and evenly paced. I didn't find his delivery jarring or annoying, and for me, I will always associate his voice with Mr Shirer's words.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I'm not sure this subject needs any more films, but it would be something like, "The story of how an angry Austrian nobody caused history's biggest conflict - and destroyed himself."


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kieron Edwards
    London, London, GB
    6/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A brilliant (if long) history of the Third Reich"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you want to understand how Hitler came to believe what he did, how he came to power, how Germany allowed this to happen and then how the second world war was planned and fought then this book tells it all.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    A slightly odd question to ask of a book like this. Molotov comes off well I suppose. Churchill too.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Again - not the best question to ask of a history of war.


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

    There are, by necessity, some chapters covering the Nazi atrocities. These cover more than just the final solution and were hard going. The author does not imagine or exaggerate and simply reports from documentation provided to the Nuremberg trials - however - it's upsetting stuff.


    Any additional comments?

    I wanted to understand (in light of recent international events) how fascism rose in popularity and how National Fascism came to power. I've also wanted to understand how Hitler came to start the war, and how he lost it.

    This book is brilliant in being very detailed and written by a gentlemen who was there, as a US journalist, in Germany during the rise of Hitler and the start of the war. Shirer was there - he met or saw these people and so paints a very colourful picture of events.

    It's an old book (published in '59 I think) so some of the language is a little quant on occasions (if you hear the phrase "pulling his chestnuts from the fire" several times it sounds very odd these days).

    It ends with the author noting that no one would buy the book (the publisher only printing 12,000 copies) however it deservedly sold well (apart from in Germany oddly enough).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul Billington
    Switzerland
    5/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cute and pointless. Hobby writer."
    What would have made The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich better?

    Having read just the preface, I think I am in for a hurrah for US of A book. Why? Because it start by referring to Chamberlain's appeasement in Münich as a surrender. Any competent historian would realise that there can no surrender before war is declared, and Britain was the first nation to declare war on Germany, without first being attacked. It is as a fact that the USA only reluctantly aligned with the Allies, halfway through the war, which left the UK and France heavy in debt to the USA and the USA benefitting from the war premium.


    What was most disappointing about William L. Shirer’s story?

    Baias and pointless personality digging which many historical figures would not stand up to.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Grover Gardner’s performances?

    I doubt very much.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Poetic and clear prose.


    Any additional comments?

    This should be listed under amateur historian, so as to clearly separate it from real historians like Simon Schama,
    I would suggest those who like David John Cawdell Irving works might also like William L. Shirer's work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Greg
    4/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant, reads like a thriller"

    Over 50 hours may sound rather long, but trust me it isn't with this pacey and exciting audiobook, even though we all feel that we know the story. The reader is superb, and the narrative rattles along like a thriller and is packed with the incredible unbiased telling of the rise of Hilter and his band of Nazi cronies. If only my school history lessons could have captured my imagination like this book, then I would have been an academic. I managed to listen to it whilst driving, cooking, doing chores or just relaxing. Other audiobooks may seem stuffy and short after listening to this this treat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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