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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

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (7342 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-12-16
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    "Real history."

    Accurately written. Brilliantly rendered. Shirer's magnum opus, no doubt. Gardner is my favorite narrator. Get-it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim 10-12-16
    Jim 10-12-16 Member Since 2011
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    "An extremely fascinating listen"

    Even with this book's extreme length it never became a chore to listen to. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jordan R. Walls Texas 09-30-16
    Jordan R. Walls Texas 09-30-16 Member Since 2014
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    "a book that has it all"

    a most excellent and complete book on Hitler's Germany. I've read as many books as I could get a hold of on Hitler's Germany, and I've watched every documentary I can find on Hitler's Germany. This book contains a nearly complete history of that. However it does lack certain information that we've learned since the fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of their archives. that said, this information was not available to the offer at that time. none the less, it is available to us now. that's my only detracting statement of the book. a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C 09-28-16
    C 09-28-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Lesson"

    "Remembrance of the past helps to understand the present." We were warned. It serves us best to learn.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. A. Wilson 09-27-16
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    "Could Not Get Through It"

    This is a classic history of the origins of World War Two, with lots of first-hand insight from the author, who was a journalist in Europe at the time. The performance is good and the subject matter is interesting, but you might want to ask yourself if you *really* want to listen to a sixty hour audiobook about diplomatic negotiation. I did not think I would have any problem with it----- I like long histories on audio and had just finished reading Shirer's other long book "Collapse of the Third Republic", which I enjoyed.

    But I found "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" extremely tedious and gave up on it about 30 hours in. Part of the problem may be that there is a lot of boring background information early on. Long sections about the early history of the Nazi party and the development of Aryan racial theory which you might skim rapidly through on the page become, in an audiobook, multi-hour long lectures piped into your ear in. I found it hard to take even while cycling.

    There's a lot a good information here. There's nothing wrong with the performance. I just did not find it worthwhile in audiobook form.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blair 09-27-16
    Blair 09-27-16
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    "long read, definitely worth it!"

    the tremendous amount of information provided in this book gives a detailed View into the rise of Adolf Hitler and his government. Absolutely fascinating read. if we do not understand the mistakes of the past we are doomed to repeat them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Foley 09-26-16 Member Since 2015
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    "AWESOME!"

    A gripping story from start to finish. If you enjoy longer, more detailed stories then this is for you!

    There are some disturbing parallels between our current political climate (here in America) and the policies implemented, with popular support, in the 20's and 30's of the Weimar Republic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    george c. ellison 09-24-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Authoritative Story of the Third Reich"
    Where does The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high


    What did you like best about this story?

    Most bios of Hiter or the Third Reich focus on the war or brutality of the Nazi regime. Shirer covers this too but he also covers Hitler's path the whole way and the point of view of the other countries involved.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    zachary 09-22-16
    zachary 09-22-16
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    "can't get enough "

    a must get for beginners in history builds up a solid base to start from.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ginny A. 09-19-16
    Ginny A. 09-19-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Ponderous!"

    Enough detail to keep it fascinating. Organized in such a way that a person with a rather limited history background– – like myself – – could actually follow the progression chronologically. It was horrifying to see all of the times that Hitler might have been stopped were it not for someone's hesitancy. The world indeed has Winston Churchill, Britain and the USA to thank for its survival.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Richard
    rochester, United Kingdom
    12/7/10
    Overall
    "A unique account"

    This was the standard book at school 30 years ago for the study of the Third Reich. Reading it all these years later it has lost none of its impact. The writing style remains modern and clear and in my opinion is unmatched on the subject. Many good books have been written on this subject but Shirer witnessed events with his own eyes meeting many of the historical figures and seeing the bodies before nearly becoming a victim himself. Written in a time when reporting was still a noble art it was criticised as being anti German. For me it lays the facts out and leaves the reader to make his mind up. Despite its length superb narration makes this a stunning a thought provoking listen. Find the time.

    40 of 40 people found this review helpful
  • Colin
    Birmingham, United Kingdom
    2/18/11
    Overall
    "Finished - what do I do now?"

    I listened to all 57 hours in one month during many long drives and not a few late nights. Rarely have I enjoyed history so much. The quality of Shirer's writing has long since been recognised, but this is enhanced even further by the brilliant narration. Yes, there were occasions when my concentration lapsed, but ony because one is inevitably drawn to one aspect of the story rather than another. Most often I was riveted, and now it feels like an old friend has said farewell.

    32 of 33 people found this review helpful
  • Martin
    Carnforth, United Kingdom
    1/17/11
    Overall
    "brilliant, scholarly, riveting and chilling"

    This is a monumental listen which despite its length flies along as the events unfold. The reader is very easy to listen to and never becomes a trial or gets in the way.
    Awesome, epic and illuminating. The examples of demagogues and schemers portrayed remain as relevant in our times. An absolute masterpiece. Strongly recommend it.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Nick
    Chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom
    2/25/11
    Overall
    "Flawed but fascinating"

    Germany under the Nazis is probably one of the most written about periods of history and the seeker after information is spoiled for choice. Plenty of more recent studies have been done on the Nazi era but Shirer's work, now half a century old, still stands for me as the definitive history of the period.

    Of course, it has many flaws, not least Shirer's own very subjective take on the personalities and the events he documents. Shirer was a journalist, and he wrote as a journalist, not as an historian. But what the book might lack in terms of perspective, it gains tremendously in recounting Shirer's own first hand experiences of Nazi Germany. He lived and worked in Germany during the early days of Hitler and personally attended many of the events he described. he was also fortunate, as he describes in his introduction, to have been present when German government documents were seized by the advancing allied armies and to have been one of the journalists allowed to comb through this rich source of information.

    He describes, with frightening clarity, the failure of Britain, France and America to understand the danger posed by Adolf Hitler and the terrible results of the pre-war policy of appeasement, not least for the many millions who died in appalling conditions in Nazi extermination camps. The reader shares his frustration at the willingness of the western powers to sacrifice Austria and Czechoslovakia in order to buy a few more months of peace.

    This is a very long book which I read first when I was in my teens. The audio version is unabridged, and runs to an incredible 57 hours but the narrative will sweep you along. The reader perfectly captures the tone of the written volume. For those who want to find out how a madman can come to power in what should be a civilised country, there is no better source than this book.

    40 of 43 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    London, United Kingdom
    5/2/11
    Overall
    "A Masterful Work"

    This is a truly masterful and objective history of the third Reich based on the mountains of captured Nazi documents after the war and therefore is not subject to a particular historians interpretation of events.

    Although long and sometimes a little difficult to digest due to - for example - the large number of individuals dealt with, this book is nevertheless an incredibly thorough coverage of Hitler's rise to power that will reward the reader with a wealth of knowledge throughout its scope.

    This has to be one of (if not, the most) complete treatment of the subject matter. I was amazed to read actual extracts of conversations that had been carefully documented with typical German efficiency. There is just so much here that I find it amazing that one man could write such a mammoth volume.

    A word on the narration; This could be a most difficult book for a narrator due to the frequent use of German names, places and other foreign language references. However, this is handled with superb skill by Grover Gardener who's delivery is both confident and precise. It is not surprising then perhaps that he has narrated some of the largest and complex volumes on other matters such as the American civil war.

    In summary, this is a long, but worthwhile masterpiece of work into some of history's darkest days which offers incredible insight into the mind of one of history's most infamous men.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Paul Conder
    Auckland New Zealand
    2/15/11
    Overall
    "Fabulous history on the ipod"

    Don't be put off by the length the reader of this fabulous audio book captures you and continues to hold you as the history of Nazi Germany unfolds.

    The book itself remains a classic of World War II covering the broad history of the Third Reich from first tentative developments to the downfall and collapse in the Fuhrer Bunker.

    You will find it difficult to do anything else until you finish listening.

    The producers and reader have remained faithful to the work and the horror of a world war without getting dramatic.

    You will only find a few works that achieve the quality you find here.

    24 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Kirstine
    Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom
    3/28/11
    Overall
    "History brought to life"

    Don't be put off by the immense length of this audio book: it's a riveting story that keeps you listening. I first read this book over 30 years ago and, though I had forgotten much of the detail, the power of its narrative had left an indelible memory. Listening again, rekindled the shock and amazement at this dark period of history. At times harrowing, it's like a fast-moving crime thriller. And, oh what crimes! What's so shocking is that it wasn't just a small band of psychopaths who had taken over Germany, but that so many people were willing to perpetrate unbelievably cruel treatment on other human beings. With the benefit of hind-sight one can see turning-points that changed history and the many missed opportunities by both sides to triumph or be defeated; or for peace or continued conflict. It's fascinating, if chilling, to see how Hitler started out as a consummate tactician, but latterly sunk into a megalomania that ruined his country.

    The book had involved an immense amount of research into captured secret papers of the Reich and greatly benefits from the author being an eye-witness working as a journalist for a US broadcasting company at this tumultuous period in history.

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Mair
    Co LeitrimIreland
    10/11/10
    Overall
    "a gripping riveting listen"

    I've only listened to half so far, and its gripping stuff. Not dry dull writing, but its alive, full of personalities and happenings, one steamrolling onto the next. And the reader is excellent. While its v.long, and I'm not sure I'll take it to the end, I dont think this matters, because its fantastic value, even if I only listen to the first half, as my main interest is in the rise of nazism.

    22 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Colin
    WATFORD, United Kingdom
    6/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A simply astounding work..."

    This book is nothing short of astounding, and has kept me gripped for over 2 months on my daily commute between London and Coventry. Having an interest in WW2 I have read many books on the various aspects of the war, but none even come close to this title.

    It is meticulously thorough, and sets out the background to not only when and how Hitler came to power, but also the circumstances and national psyche that enabled him to do so. I've also been surprised on many ocassions by how people we thought we knew have so many other sides to them. Mussolini the Peacemaker? Who knew?

    Grover Gardner is outstanding in his part as narrator of this dark and yet fascinating story.I cannot imagine anyone doing a finer job.

    An absolute must-have title for your collection..

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Heather
    Forneth, Perthshire
    5/3/11
    Overall
    "Terrifying and compelling - don't miss this one!"

    Shirer lived through the years when Hitler came to power and brings his own observations to the narrative, but also much historical expertise. He had complete access to the archives of meetings and communiques between the key players in Germany and across Europe, plus the transcripts of the Nuremburg trials of the Nazis. This is impressive source material and Shirer deals with it brilliantly.

    The terrifying build up to a world war and the errors politicians made are important for today's international politics. It's a seriously scary read, totally gripping. His analysis of events is fascinating, but you'll be haunted by the impact it has on your own perspective on current world events.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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