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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

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  •  
    Aaron 01-04-13
    Aaron 01-04-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Exhausting, and quite dry in some places."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    anne ATLANTA, GA, United States 11-12-12
    anne ATLANTA, GA, United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2012

    Painter/writer

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    "Great way to revisit this account"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vadim von Brzeski Milpitas, CA United States 10-16-12
    Vadim von Brzeski Milpitas, CA United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Amazing story"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathon 09-25-12
    Jonathon 09-25-12
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    "Makes all other WWII books cry like a little girl"
    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony EVERETT, WA, United States 09-12-12
    Anthony EVERETT, WA, United States 09-12-12
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    "A must read for any history buff"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Old Bridge, NJ, United States 09-02-12
    Anthony Old Bridge, NJ, United States 09-02-12
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    "I can't believe i listened to this whole book"
    If you could sum up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in three words, what would they be?

    Detailed, Long, Insightful


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Beerhall Putsch


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Everything you ever wanted to know about Nazis


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
  •  
    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
Sort by:
  • davybush
    1/18/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Comprehensive Coverage"

    The author brings the vast array of events and personalities into a tightly knitted story. Amazing insight into the way people can be manipulated , even when the folly of their leaders is open for all to see.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jamie Hughes
    UK
    1/8/17
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    Performance
    Story
    "A fascinating insight....."

    Grover Gardiner is excellent and the detailed content of this book lays bare the Third Reich and its objectives.
    The length is required to weave a Rich and full account of the rise and fall of the Third Reich.

    So good I am on my 3rd listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    12/17/16
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    "The definitive story."

    No stones left unturned, don't be put off by the age of the book, it will be read for the next two thousand years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tim
    12/9/16
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    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating and utterly brilliant"

    An incredibly well written and well read history of one of the darkest periods of the last century. This should be a part of every school syllabus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jth
    12/9/16
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    "The best historical audio book i have listened to"

    This is without doubt one of the best historical audio books you can listen to about WW2. The aurthor plotts the rise of hitler so throughly and in such depth that when the final days of the bunker are descibed u can almost feel u are their. The narrator grover gardner did an excellent job considering the length of the narrative and the way william shirer wrote the book through personnal accounts of what happened to bring about hitlers 3rd reich is just brilliant. i cannot recommend this highly enough .The best audio book on history that i have ever listened to...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Akonsumer
    UK
    12/6/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Definitive"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes if they were interested in the topic.


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

    i could compare it to Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb. The depth of detail and information presented in a timeline are quite similar and also the narrator is the same so the audio books feel similar in that respect, too.


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favourite?

    Churchill!


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

    Obviously the sections pertaining to the Holocaust


    Any additional comments?

    I learned a lot, particularly about the lead up to the war and the formation of the Nazi party. How there were several opportunities to avoid the war if Britain and France had shown some backbone, how Russia enabled the war to happen and what a terrible war strategist Hitler was - we were lucky he was an insane control freak else it could have been a very different outcome. Fascinating stuff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Olly Buxton
    Highgate, UK
    12/6/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "monumental in every way"

    fascinating, compelling and comprehensive, and in these febrile populist times, never more important.

    wonderfully read, too, by Grover Gardner, whose voice, appropriately, has the gravelled timbre of a 1950s radio announcer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Goronwy-Wyn
    Cardiff, United Kingdom
    11/22/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An education in every detail."

    I've given my reviews, 5 stars in every category not because this is a great story, but because it's a detailed historical review written by a man who has carried out research so thoroughly such that even in 2016 it has stood the test of time as one of the best histories in the making of monsters.
    Its chilling how much of this history the world choses to ignore.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathon jones
    11/20/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good first part"

    Good start to the series, there's a fair amount of politics, which, unless you are really into politics is hard to follow. Overall tho I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys this part of history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas O'Brien
    Ireland
    11/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An epic and fascinating history of WW2"

    This is one of the best books I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

    The reader is pleasant to listen to and words are enunciated well.

    The author offers a different perspective of the Third Reich , ( he doesn't shy away from the horrors of the war and policies of the Nazi's but also doesn't allow them to detract from giving the history of the Reich).

    The book answers a lot of the why and how of Hitler's rise to power. (Questions I've never had properly explained until this book).

    All of the known historical figure are covered along with the other generally unknown names.

    This is a 2010 production of a book originally copyrighted in 1959. It's an astounding piece of work.

    The production is excellent.

    If you have any interest in WW2 you will be educated buy this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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