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Publisher's Summary

The Nazis presented themselves as warriors against moral degeneracy. Yet, as Norman Ohler's gripping best seller reveals, the entire Third Reich was permeated with drugs: cocaine, heroin, morphine and, most of all, methamphetamines, or crystal meth, used by everyone from factory workers to housewives, and crucial to troops; resilience - even partly explaining German victory in 1940.

The promiscuous use of drugs at the very highest levels also impaired and confused decision-making, with Hitler and his entourage taking refuge in potentially lethal cocktails of stimulants administered by the physician Dr Morell as the war turned against Germany. While drugs cannot on their own explain the events of the Second World War or its outcome, Ohler shows, they change our understanding of it. Blitzed forms a crucial missing piece of the story.

©2016 Norman Ohler (P)2016 Penguin Books Limited

Critic Reviews

"Bursting with interesting facts." ( Vice)
"Extremely interesting...a serious piece of scholarship, very well researched." (Ian Kershaw)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Tim
  • San Diego, CA
  • 03-13-17

One Reich, One God, One Dealer

This is a fascinating rollercoaster ride through the history of third Reich seen through the prism of substance abuse. The premise that the German people, especially their fighting forces, ran on massive amounts of Crystal Meth and Hitler was addicted to Hill Billy Heroin was shocking, but makes perfect sense. How else could Hitler’s armies roll up Europe like a cheap rug in just a matter of days? The work seems well researched and is extremely well performed by Johnathan Keeble. The events it documents are both fascinating and horrifying by turn. I’m a fairly keen WWII reader but this told several tales which I hadn't heard before. I’d heard that Hitler had a serious problem with substances which I always found odd because he was famously keen on health and fitness. The book explains this transition from extreme vegan to severe doper in great detail.

If I have any qualms about the narrative it feels like the author may be over playing his hand, just a touch. He goes in for quite a bit of speculative thinking extending his already startling and well documented theory beyond firm facts. Attributing Hitler’s decline in sanity and health primarily to substance abuse is fascinating but it may be joining up dots which are not really be there. Regardless, this is a marvelous, compelling read. If you have any interest whatsoever in WWII its causes and impact on our world, you will find this an extremely satisfying read.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • San Jose, CA, United States
  • 02-09-17

A excellent narrative.

Holy Guacamole! This audiobook is a blast. Even if you have read more Third Reich books than is good for normal functioning, get this one.

I've rarely have had as much fun learning than I have has listening to this audiobook. The subject is new, it's fascinating, and it keeps you listening. I listened to it almost at one go. While it covers the subjects of drugs in the Third Reich, it's something of a drug itself--very hard to quit.

As a pharmacological history of the Third Reich and a pharmacological biography of Hitler this book can not be beat. It sheds an entirely new light on Hitler and his enabler/pusher Dr. Morel. It also sheds light on how the Wehrmacht can be understood as a Walter White experience gone horribly off the rails.

Thanks to this new understanding we have a understanding on how Hitler was able to power thought the war sustained on junk (both literal and figurative) The number and amount of items Hitler had pushed into his veins by the good Doctor Morel is amply and chillingly documented. The rise and fall of both Hitler and his Reich is plotted with excruciating detail on medical charts and on prescription notes. What a strange, long and ultimately disastrous trip it was.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Butchered German pronunciation

Really liked the content, it opened a whole new perspective on the third Reich. In terms of performance I only wish the reader would have taken the time to research the basics of correct German pronunciation. The way he butchered German names and expression was neither English nor German and just horrible. As a fluent speaker of German I feel it wouldn't have been to much to ask for to do a little research. Other than that the performance was alright.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Top notch audiobook!

This is a gripping historical narrative, offering an unusual perspective on Hitler and the Nazis. It develops a fascinating argument -- that amphetamines and pharmaceuticals were a significant factor in the history of the Second World War. While this is not an *entirely* new argument -- I read a history of amphetamines a few years ago called _On Speed_ that made similar suggestions -- Blitzed caught the pass and ran with it all the way into the end zone for the touchdown. Rooted in scholarship, but very fun to listen to, and well performed by the audio reader. Excellent!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Revelatory

An eye opening account of the endemic use of drugs in the Third Reich: both amongst the Nazi elite and the fighting men for whom meth amphetamine was an essential element in their early successes, especially the invasion of France.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • easyfour
  • Los Angeles, California
  • 03-11-17

Amazing!

Would you consider the audio edition of Blitzed to be better than the print version?

I love the narrator! He's definitely been given some acting instruction by a very good teacher!

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character? Am I allowed to say Hitler? Theodor Morrell is great, but he simply isn't as significant. Perhaps the drugs themselves?

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

He accentuates, signs, pauses, etc. It's fantastic theater.

Any additional comments?

This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read or heard. It's a must-read for any WWII enthusiast.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • JB
  • Nebraska
  • 03-10-17

Rewrite History!

Hitler's drug use has been long known. You can go all the way back to Trever-Roper for Morell's use of "28 substances." Nevertheless, conventional historians have discounted the impact this would obviously have had. The question is only a matter of degree. Unfortunately Ohler, a dreaded non professional historian, overplays his hand with the melodramatic flair, and will be discounted by the mainstream just like the reports of Hitler's doctor, as a quack!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding!

This book blew my mind! Very well written - extremely engaging - very well narrated. I highly recommend it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • United States
  • 01-01-17

The Third Reich Just Got Weirder

Normally this book would not get five stars from me but it is such an idiosyncratic work I must recommend it. I am not a WWII sort of guy but I have listened to all 57 hours of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Shirer so am not a complete novice.

The first part of the book seemed slow going but then I learned the blitzkrieg into France was organized, more or less, out of a desperate Chinese Fire Drill and was made successful by nearly a complete accident of insubordination. And perhaps enabled (or perhaps entirely enabled) by prodigious distribution of methamphetamines. These guys needed to keep awake for something 48 hours straight just to get started.

In addition I did not realize till the book was done that it is a translation! That is a recommendation by itself as something of a natural curiosity. From time to time I caught myself thinking, in the bck of my mind, (pst! Fredrico Felini! ). I will leave the fact checking to others but there simply are a lot of reasonably plausible weird things that any armchair strategist would be delighted to take up in late night beer fest.

Finally, the general theme seems to include an accusation Hitler's personal physician was such a total quack Hitler was lucky to have lived into 1942. What I find amazing is this guys quackery must have worked rather well because otherwise Hitler could be mistaken for a German Rasputin rising from the dead every three or four months till he finally had to do the job himself with a small calibre Walter pistol.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Amazingly good book. Revelatory!!

Fantastically interesting book. I listened to it pretty much in one go. Could not put it down. This sheds an entirely new light onto historical events, not least the supposed invincibility of the German army in the early stages of the war.

Fascinating, absorbing listen. I have been telling everyone I know about the findings/revelations in this book. Totally recommended, plus top-notch narration.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Sam
  • 02-12-17

very interesting

fascinating aspect of history not much reported on. becomes a little bit repetitive over the course of the book but overall very good

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • MrLucyfer
  • 12-19-16

Illuminating

It does not justify the horrible disgusting things Hitler and the Nazis did but it explains many things. Worth a read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles Palmer
  • 12-08-16

Very illuminating.

Well researched and serious history of the overlooked role of pharmacology in the 3rd Reich

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Boobie
  • 04-16-18

Fascinating

A very interesting account of drug use in the Third Reich. It seems as if Hitler certainly and most of the German armed forces and population were drugged up to their eyeballs during WWII.

This may provide at least part of the explanation as to why so many atrocities were committed during that time.

The narration here is good save for one thing (common to a lot of audiobooks, sadly). The German pronunciation is woeful. Practically all the narrator's attempts made my ears grate.

I never quite understand these problems as it would not seem too difficult to learn the correct pronunciations for the limited number of German words in the text. As I say, this seems to be a common problem.

Aside from that a very worthwhile book.

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  • robergene
  • 01-19-18

amazing

amazing book, best ww2 book I've read since beevors Stalingrad, answers many questions I'd always puzzled over, such as Hitler's decisions and the supposed superhuman achievements of the wermacht and ss

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  • David
  • 11-14-17

Beyond belief

A must read for any ww2 enthusiast,very well narrated also,need more books like this!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-29-17

Great book

This book is amazingly well researched and produced for audio. It includes much new information on the Nazi regime and their terrifying ‘drug habit’. Recommended and worth purchasing.

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  • A. C. Anderson
  • 08-16-17

Historical Perspective from The High Ground

What did you like best about Blitzed? What did you like least?

History, always a difficulty to decide from which vantage point to view it. Do you take a top down or bottom up view of events as they unfold? Do you take history from the vanquished or the victor? Powerful or powerless? And so on.The author makes a unique, unconventional and basically un-boring yet plausible argument for taking this picture from the 'high ground'. According to Ohler, Hitler and the Nazis can be best be understood through the hopped up haze of amphetamines, cocaine, morphine and similar substance abuse. The work is rather repetitive, predictably judgemental and sensationalistic at times, but nevertheless manages to keep the reader's or listener's attention. It also perhaps offers another handle with which attempt to manage a relatively firm grip on some understanding of the fascinating and inexplicable existence of the rise and fall of the Third Reich.

What about Jonathan Keeble’s performance did you like?

Clear and concise. Overall a good reading.

Do you think Blitzed needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

An engaging author. It would be interesting to see what he could add to this book.

Any additional comments?

Recommended as worth a read, or in this case a listen on Audible. Overall-3.5, but not quite 4 stars.

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  • Paul
  • 08-13-17

An excellently researched new insight

A genuinely new insight into a much studied period of history.

This should be read by anybody with an interest in the Second World War or the abhorrent depths of the Nazi leadership of Germany.

Perhaps it goes some way to explaining the unprecedented progress of the Wehrmacht invasions (on both Western and Eastern fronts) and the effectiveness (however much one would prefer not to acknowledge it) of the German soldier throughout the war. As well as the startling degradation of Hitler in the latter stages of the conflict.

I first heard of this title in Dan Snow's History Hit podcast, and I'm grateful to him for highlighting this fascinating and surprising title. I expect it'll influence the analysis of other historians work in future.

An important and welcome addition to cannon.

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  • A. Hill
  • 05-31-17

Fascinating...

No idea why this story hasn't been told before. A real insight into an already unbelievable horror story of Germany under the Nazis and their dependency on drugs

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  • neil bailey
  • 04-11-18

brilliant book!

This is a facinating book, brilliantly written and narrated, highly recommend it! truth truly is stranger than fiction.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-03-18

great - very interesting but has slight flaws..

very interesting book and highly recommended. my only issues with the book are the authors opinions, explanations/descriptions and representations of certain drugs in the book and their effects. I'm a recovering heroin / speedball addict with, unfortunately, a lot of experience in the chemicals covered in the book.for example the authors description of oxycodone's (eucadol (sp?)) effects seem very naive and are, frankly, incorrect. it, compared to high quality heroin, is actually not particularly strong when injected and in no way could be considered stronger, more addictive, "harder" or as some kind of wonder drug, in my opinion. it is just another opiate, it does have specific effects that are useful for treatment of pain (it doesn't cause the same drowsiness that some others opiates do) but it is certainly not some kind of one-drug magical speedball and has none of the same uniquely powerful effects that a "true" (whatever that really means) speedball has - i.e. a mixture of heroin and either cocaine or methamphetamine has upon injection. I've personally injected oxycodone and meth many times and it is very different than injecting oxycodone on its own. oxy is just a relatively strong opiate eith fewer side effects (including causing less drowsiness, nausea and itchiness) than morphine, and could be considered approximately equal in strength with morphine (which, medically speaking at least, is considered the "gold standard" of opiate painkillers that other opiate painkillers are measured against). also the authors description of and elaboration on the other drugs in the book seems naive and the opinion of someone who has not had any experience with "hard" drugs, other than what he's gleaned from reading about them (and imo most non-fiction concerning "drug facts" seems like it's about 20+ years behind current research and experience, and in no way represents my own experiences). finally the author appears to have little experience with drug addiction, im not saying he's got the wrong end of the stick necessarily - im just saying I don't agree with some of what he says, however he does have some interesting ideas. he should read some of gabor mate's books on addiction (highly recommended, at least from this addict's point of view!!) other than the above griping I thought this was a very fascinating and well thought out and presented book, and I think it breaks new ground on the downfall of the Nazis and Hitler in particular. sorry for all the () and -'s guys - also hopefully this doesn't come across as promoting drug use, which I am certainly not trying to do :)

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  • Mark
  • 04-02-18

An astonishing read/listen.

Well researched, written and read.
Almost unbelievable but makes so much sense of the madness of world war 2, Nazism and the holocaust.

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  • Adam Webb
  • 03-25-18

A new perspective

I had little knowledge about the pervasiveness of amphetamines in WW2 Germany but the evidence is there. It provides an interesting perspective into the course of the war from the view of drug use and abuse. There’s good content there and it’s worth listening to. There’s a lot of overly harsh critiques of this work. Probably best to make up your own mind.

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  • fishcakesgirl
  • 09-05-17

Wonderful insight into NAZI WW2

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
After all the information I have read on WW2, I didn't think there was more to unfold about this sad period in the history of the human race. This information has left me with new thoughts on such a tragic rise of evil and the power

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  • Nadja
  • 06-03-17

A good read, interesting throughout

Although mainly concerned with Hitler's private physician the book still casts an interesting light on WWII and the Germany of the time and how the war of drugs was paralleled by Hitler himself.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-08-17

well written

loved this book. I didn't know much about Nazi history but to read the history of drugs and world war 2 was very fascinating.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharon
  • 05-29-17

A suprisingly intersting single topic history

This book looks at the rise and fall of Nazi Germany through a single lens; that of drug use. This is probably not ideal if the reader / listener doesn't know anything else about the period, but if you already know some of the history, this book provides a fascinating extra dimension.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful