The final volume in Richard J. Evans’s masterly trilogy on the history of Nazi Germany traces the rise and fall of German military might, the mobilization of a “people’s community” to serve a war of conquest, and Hitler’s campaign of racial subjugation and genocide. Already hailed as “a masterpiece” (William Grimes in The New York Times) and “the most comprehensive history… of the Third Reich” (Ian Kershaw), this epic trilogy reaches its terrifying climax in this volume.
Evans interweaves a broad narrative of the war’s progress with viscerally affecting personal testimony from a wide range of people - from generals to front-line soldiers, from Hitler Youth activists to middle-class housewives. The Third Reich at War lays bare the dynamics of a nation more deeply immersed in war than any society before or since.
Fresh insights into the conflict’s great events are here, from the invasion of Poland to the Battle of Stalingrad to Hitler’s suicide in the bunker. But just as important is the re-creation of the daily experience of ordinary Germans in wartime, staggering under pressure from Allied bombing and their own government’s mounting demands upon them. At the center of the book is the Nazi extermination of Europe’s Jews, set in the context of Hitler’s genocidal plans for the racial restructuring of Europe.
Blending narrative, description, and analysis, The Third Reich at War creates an engrossing picture - at once sweeping and precise - of a society rushing headlong to self-destruction and taking much of Europe with it. It is the culmination of a historical masterwork that will remain the most authoritative work on Nazi Germany for years to come.
Listen to previous volumes in Richard J. Evans' Third Reich trilogy.
©2009 Richard J. Evans (P)2010 Gildan Media Corp
"Masterful….Evans demonstrates a fluent style and a sweeping grasp of the Third Reich’s history and of the enormous historical literature….Evans narrates the Reich’s end in gripping fashion as the Allies closed in on Germany. Evans’s fellow historians as well as a broader public will listen to this work, not quite with pleasure, for there is little joy in this story, but with admiration for the author’s narrative powers.” (Publisher’s Weekly)
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
Here is a detailed look inside the inner workings of Hitler’s Third Reich. As the accounts of the atrocities pile up Evans manages to break up the horror by documenting some popular jokes that were circulating at the time. I found this third volume less interesting that the first two that depict Germany’s power grabs and control methods. Their administration of the war is a study in incompetence. It does serve to bring the Nazis down to size, a necessary effort, since before the war they seemed to be unstoppable. This is a lesson in the end result of tyranny. If you don’t nip it in the bud, it will strangle everything you love like Kudzu on an a cherry tree. The Nazis at their height only garnered 34.7% of the popular vote. But they were fanatics easily to roll over the majority. Don’t let it happen here.
I appreciate Sean Pratt in giving a dispassionate rendering. A more emotional account would have undermined my efforts to keep the book on a purely intellectual level.
I was presently surprised at the audio quality of this book, in that the audio quality remained consistent throughout the entire book. The previous history audiobook that I bought was jarring to listen to because the reader's voice as well as the audio quality was constantly changing ( I assume this was due to re-reading sections to correct misspoken passages or because the original reading was done on multiple devices and then patched together) which made the reading hard to follow.
This reading is very smooth and consistent and the reader's very slight inflection used to denote a direct quote is very effective and doesn't pull you away from the story.
I have already recommended this book to friends. It's detailed and painstakingly researched.
Not an appropriate question in the circumstances.
Evan's second Reich series includes extensive detail and many insights not found elsewhere--just don't expect it to be the definitive work on the subject. The author is anxious to portray everyday live and reactions to events during the period and as a result ignores essential major events or summarizes them with brief passages. The result is not only unfulfilling but sometimes confusing.
An example is the transition of the Gestapo from control by Göring to Himmler, which is poorly handled in a few lines. Since the book is largely topical (as opposed to chronological), the text inexplicably bounces between the two with readers unfamiliar with the events left wondering what's going on.
The writer also succumbs to the revisionist tendency to evaluate events of the past by present day standards. Thus, for example, lengthy sections deal with the persecution of homosexuals which, although although as tragic as other Nazi crimes, both overstates the case and misleads the reader by not adequately recognizing that attitudes everywhere were much different in the 1930s.
Because of the episodic "everyman" viewpoint the writer consciously adopts, readers may not notice that the number of sources for some conclusions is very small and based upon subjective material that is not adequately evaluated as to quality. We also are not told why some sources were selected and others ignored.
For example, there are some anecdotes from William L. Shirer, but most of the journalist's writings (which often qualify as first-hand sources) appear to have warranted little or so consideration.
The broad conclusion readers will draw from the work is that the Nazi administration was mostly inept, corrupt, and filled with semi-educated party gangsters. The question left unanswered by the book is, if this picture is correct, why was the government so undeniably successful in achieving its early objectives?
Minor irritants: Evans insists on translating most German descriptive titles into English, with the intent to both clarify and avoid pretense. Readers familiar with the subject thus frequently have to recall how he is translating the usual terms (not always straightforward or adequately described). One is left to wonder why describing things German with German words worse than applying new (sometimes imperfect) English descriptions.
The narrator has trouble even with the reduced German content, as most phrases are mangled and even some English ones dismissed too casually. A good narration fades to the background--this one is understandable and mostly clear but could be less intrusive for that reason.
Again, an interesting book worth your time--just be aware of shortcomings.
I'm on a WWII kick right now. I just finished listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which I thoroughly enjoyed despite Shirer's inability to keep his opinions out of the narrative and some of his suspect theories.
Anxious to keep the WWII theme going, I found the Third Reich at War and was very excited to start listening.
I'm about 8 hours in and I don't know if I can keep going.
The narrator is atrocious. He has a flat afflect that lends no drama or emphasis to the material. As noted in other reviews, his pronunciation of German words (even words commonly heard and spoken in the English language such as "Reichstag") is poor at best. I truly believe he is better suited to reading stories for children rather than historical works dealing with important and heavy subject matter. His diction is full of insufferable, ill-timed pauses between words, especially with lists.
As for the book, I'm conflicted. It seems to be well researched, despite the lack of citations in the narrative (I understand there are citations as an appendix in the printed book) but the story follows no clear progression. Despite it's length, important events that warrant more focus are passed over in one or two sentences. Instead, the book seems to be full of example after example of Nazi atrocities with so much minutiae included.
Within the first hour of the book I had a more clear perception of what the Nazis intended for Poland than I had to date. But two hours later I was more than tired of receiving examples of the same atrocities over and over.
One other item of note that has been raised in other reviews, which I wholeheartedly agree with--the choice to use english translations of commonly known and accepted German terms such as Fuhrer (leader) and Mein Kampf (My Struggle). It's almost insulting. I would love to know the intent of this decision. Was it to help the reader understand? Or take some of the negative "power" (words fail me at this point) away from these terms?
I'm sure the book deserves a place among the extensive litereature on WWII and Nazi Germany. I just don't know what it is. It's certainly not a great work of history. Nor is it a good narrative of WWII. But it's something.
Probably not as I was only interested in that exact topic
Competent History of that topic, nothing startling or any new slant.
Even though this book covered the period that I felt I knew the most about, it exposed me to so many things I didn't know. As well written and compelling as the first two in the series, it gave what I found was a very objective look at the NAZI's attempt at war, and how and why they failed so resoundingly at it (fortunately). It penetrates and goes beyond the myth and romanticism that many have and treats things in a realistic way.
It also handles the more important Holocaust well. A very difficult topic, and one that leads most authors to just focus on the horribleness of the act. I felt that I was left with an understanding of how it happened, how rational humans can loose all sense of reality and perpetrate such an act. All lessons we should watch for so that it never happens again.
This series is was enlightening and depressing at the same time, enlightening because of the scholarship and writing, depressing because of the events it brings to light.
A must read for anyone looking to understand the past.
Max Fisher of Rushmore Academy
I'm halfway through this epic piece of research, but I can't take any more. I was hoping for the promised "fresh insights into the conflict’s great events" but instead found an impenetrable listing of one Nazi atrocity after another. From time to time the book threatened to become original and interesting, particularly when examining the Nazi wartime economy and internal power struggles, but these gems were so few and far between the vast and gut-wrenching slogs through Nazi horrors I cannot find the will to go on.
Furthermore, the narrative tying these events together can best be compared to that of a text book (in other words, it's almost absent).
To experience what this book intended, I recommend The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer.
This book is not about the Third Reich at war. The vast majority of this book is dedicated to all the ways the Third Reich killed jews. And as horrible as the genocide of the jews was, all this book does is go into every detail of how they were killed. Every event, and different methods of extermination, etc. Little to nothing about any actual battles, or anything else. It should be titled "The Thousand Ways the Nazis killed jews.". Overall, very repetitive and monotonous.
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