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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

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The series, taken as a whole, sets the standard for WWII history. These cannot be overlooked, or diminished. Indeed, it is difficult to adequately describe how well researched and written are each of these three volumes. I have read or listened to every history of WWII I have been able to find (well over 50) in English, Russian and French, and up until now Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" was, I felt, the definitive historical account of Nazi Germany (if you haven't read/listened to it, you should) even though it was published over 50 years ago. This series surpasses that exceptional work.
This volume is superlative. If you enjoy World War Two history you CANNOT skip this volume, in particular!

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Alan
  • Easton, MA, United States
  • 09-03-10

Excellent history

Well written, well narrated. Most WWII histories dwell on the military aspect, this comes from the other side defining (as well as is possible with such a subject) the thought processes and actions that led to the horrors of the war. The author tells a good story, entertaining, as well as informative while weaving in first person accounts to reinforce his narrative. A long book but you'll be sorry when it ends.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Simply wonderful

The first thing to say about this entire series is that all 3 books form a wonderful history of the Third Reich. It also seems important to mention that this volume is a history of the Third Reich during the war, not the Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine or Wehrmacht, so there is only limited coverage of the actual battles.

Rather this book concerns itself mostly with government policy concerning those living inside Germany itself and the occupied territories. It is very detailed and I found some sections on the extermination camps very emotionally painful to get through. The book also does not cover some areas that I would like to have heard about. For example, how were Allied soldiers who were minorities treated in prison camps? Did the Wehrmacht follow the Geneva Convention rules or not? What was the relationship between the Wehrmacht and the SS? Since the book is about government policy these areas were not covered in any detail.

Regardless this book, as well as the preceding two volumes, form an invaluable history and should be required reading for anyone who wants to know about the Second World War in Europe. I also agree with another reviewer who suggested that these books, along with Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, should both be read since they are complimentary. Highly recommended.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Doc
  • Charlotte, NC
  • 03-28-12

Just do it.

This review is for the entire series. My contribution to the pile of reviews starts with the observation that the work cannot be compared to any other book about WWII or, really, any other history. I'm tolerably well read in the area, and this set of books is unique.

At the outset, I found the narrator troublesome. But, just as I have found on long walks, as I progressed, I realized that his delivery fit the material. Nothing hurried, nothing emotional, nothing dramatic. If you've been to the Viet Nam memorial in DC, you'll know what I mean. It isn't the individual names, but the total list; it isn't the granduer of the monument, it is the monumental display of horror. You, too, will get over it and then take comfort in the methodical recitation of what happened to all the unwanted, particularly the Jewish people.

Some of the reviews complained about the relatively short shrift given to military history and some technological flaws. There are excellent military histories that cover this ground; readers of this book only need that material for contextual reference. For instance, the history of the period we're just passing through isn't about the individual money scams, the individual mortgages and speculations or the indivdual stories of growing disparities in income and assets; rather, it is about the how these individual events came about to overwhelm the financial system as a whole. So it is with Nazi Germany.

For as long as this book is around, it will be difficult for people to deny the Holocaust and it will be difficult to repeat what Hitler and his followers were able to do. Just read it.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Finishing the trilogy

Personally, I was more interested in the time periods covered in the first two volumes than I am in the war period, but I found "The Third Reich At War" to be as well-written, meaningful, and interesting as the previous books. Once again, I am grateful for Evans' resourceful use of primary research materials. I enjoy his writing style and way of presenting a complicated series of events. I found the entire series to be profoundly depressing, but how could it be otherwise considering the content? Still, I feel Evans dealt with the subjects in a fair, even-handed way, without resorting to hyperbole or underplaying the horror.

Sean Pratt's narration got on my last nerve this time. I could barely tolerate him in the first two volumes. Anyone less suited to pronouncing the German language, I cannot imagine unless it's Betty Boop. He cannot manage even basic German place names. To someone who speaks German, listening to him is like fingernails on a chalkboard. His pacing is atrocious. I will never, no matter how interesting the book might be, listen to anything he reads again. But I have no regrets. The trilogy was fantastic and I plan to get copies in hardcover.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 11-15-13

Best of the Series

What do you say about a book as finely researched, as meticulously executed, as solidly paced, as informative and horrifying and shocking as the Third Reich at War? It is a masterpiece and all I can say to Richard J. Evans is, "Thank You." This is an exceptional book that begins with the invasion of Poland and ends with the Nuremburg Trials. You can read it alone or as part of the larger series: The Coming of the Third Reich and the Third Reich in Power. It is a fantastic series and this book is its pinnacle.

It is not a history of WWII, as that has been done many times. Instead, this is a story of the Third Reich, their leadership at home, their policies, and their wartime strategies. There is, of course, military history here and there is a history of the Holocaust. Both of these sections are told in finite and powerful detail. But this is also the story of Germany and its fall into absolute ruin.

Read these books, they are researched, written, paced, and read with perfection.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellent series of books -- HORRIBLE reader

The series of books by Richard Evans is great, and you really should read them in order - however that is not required. I will say The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a much easier to follow and more entertaining book and it's reader is on a level that this book reader could never hope to obtain. I would highly recommend that book over this series if you could only have one. However I think you'd be best served to listen to both. This series gives more of an in-depth at the day to day lives of Germans and helps you have a better understanding of the war in general and how Germany became the place it did.

I give it a high recommend which would be much higher if it wasn't read by such an amateur. The reader is extremely poor and does a great disservice to this book. After about 50 hours (between the 3 books) I think I finally started to get used to him so I wasn't as annoyed by the readers inability to know when to pause in a sentence and his extremely monotone voice. Overall however the reader is awful and has no business doing so much as reading a 2-line power point presentation.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • alex
  • deltona, FL, United States
  • 11-01-10

The Third Reich at War...fine work!

This series (please consider the other "Third Reich" titles) is positively perfect for the audiobook format. Richly detailed yet very well paced. From the origins of the Nazi's political power through their ascendancy to their final flameout, Richard Evans must be commended for the polish of this excellent work. Sean Pratt's narration is flawless. Five Stars!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Great history well spoken but...

I cannot understand why a history of this quality would have such affectations both from the writer and the narrator. The author in his preface says he's going to Anglicize certain German words for ease of understanding. Mein Kampf becomes "my struggle" and Der Fuehrer becomes "the leader". These two German terms are so well known that it's hard to listen to their being spoken this way. "The leader" is often confusing. Which leader are we talking about now?

The narrator has done a great job with German and other language terms. But there are glaring mistakes. For example the Reichstag is not pronounced as tag as in license tag but as tahg with a soft g, almost a ch sound. Other such gaffs should have been caught in the editing.

All this makes for a feeling of amateurishness, marring an otherwise superb history.

All three volumes are topical and sequential but not a narrative history with in depth treatments of many important topics like the origins of racial policy and the economics of the Reich. How did Hitler pay for rearmament? It's easy engrossing listening that explains a great deal about how a well educated population could be psychically captured by a lunatic. It's a lesson that will endure.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • jon
  • Meridian, ID, United States
  • 08-20-13

Now, the rest of the story...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely. This book does a masterful job describing not only the blow by blow accounts of the war, but also the home front of Nazi Germany. The most interesting aspect was the accounts of life in Germany immediately after the war.

People like me who have an interest in this area of history were brought up believing that the Nazis were a small minority who did not enjoy the support of the German people. Furthermore, the German people had no idea about what was happening in the death camps. This book shatters that myth, and destroys the long professed alibi of the German people that it was all the SS and Nazis who committed atrocities.

The accounts of the Wehrmacht's interaction with the civilian population in Eastern Europe and Russia strips away any pretense that the SS were the only bad guys in the war.

One criticism I have of the book is that the author is a too kind to Soviet Russia, and discounts many atrocities that they committed. Keeping that in mind, it was a good read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • crabbit101
  • 04-30-15


The best history of the third reich I've read. Slightly annoyed by some poor pronunciation by the narrator at times!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-16-14

Good book. Dreadful reader

What did you like best about The Third Reich at War? What did you like least?

I appreciated the effort and research required to portray the reality of the horror people suffered during the post World War I up to the end of world War II experienced. At worst it was sometimes too graphic for too long. That tends to dull the senses.

What did you like best about this story?

The horror of war is not to be liked. At best we can learn and remember not to repeat it.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

In every possible way. I have never listened to three books - read successively by the same reader - that were read with such sad neglect of proper pausing, intonation and whatever other crimes a narrator can be guilty of. One would have thought or hoped that there had been an overseer of sorts who might have been able to guide the narrator. If it had been my books -I listened to the series of three - i might have torn my heart out. I often had to rewind to get the correct meaning when a sentence ended in mid-air, so to speak. I hardly think the author inserted all those unappropriated commas and full-stops.

Did The Third Reich at War inspire you to do anything?

Yes, to avoid the narrator at all cost.

Any additional comments?

This book and its twi predecessors were done an insult.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Roo
  • 11-15-17

Unanswered Questions

The question continually occurred to me as the story unfolded.
How did the Jews acquire such a disproportionate amount of wealth compared to ordinary Germans?
Would this not have caused a huge resentment amongst the poor non Jews in the the interwar period? When reparations forced Germany into bankruptcy?
How did the Jews remain so prosperous during those years?

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  • A. C. Anderson
  • 09-30-17

Very Good Historical Written Documentary.

The author's successful attempt at a relatively unjudgemental treatment of an extraordinary period of time and stream of events. The narration, while not brilliant, is at least clear and Evans' writing is certainly strong enough to withstand the mediocre delivery.

I listened to this and the 2nd volume in the series, The Third Reich in Power via Audible. The narration is clear, relentless and unambiguous. The author collates and digests what must have amounted to vast quantities of data to give a taut, dense, gritty feel to his histories. The visceral, gutsy way he treats his version of history works exceptionally well in the way he attempts to encapsulate the experience of what it meant for many to live through this period in time.

This is the type of historical writing that resonates the best with me. When an author can reveal concepts in a such way that the reader can reach out, grab ahold of, tilt and turn to get at different angles of the thing in question, a kind of magic happens. This is the kind of descriptive magic that allows the reader an access to a historical reality as if it were woven from the fabric of his own life experiences.

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  • E
  • 06-11-17


Loved this and the 2 previous books in the series.I learnt a little bit more about the Nazis when I thought there was nothing new.These 3 books should be made into a documentary series akin to the old World at War but in 3 parts covering each book.I will listen again to all 3 aometime soon

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  • John
  • 08-08-15

Promising title

A good broad sweep of the history. OK for a basic introduction to the subject. Not always as objective as one would like.

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  • Quincy
  • 11-13-14

This is not a military history of WW2

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This book is about the Germans at War rather than about Germany at war. Its a social account primarily rather than a military one.

Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Performance was very good.

Was The Third Reich at War worth the listening time?

Yes, but not as a military history. There are many more complete books out there which cover it in greater depth and detail.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Eva
  • 11-15-13 war

What did you like most about The Third Reich at War?

As with previous two books in this trilogy, the writting was perfect- easy to follow and narration without any faults. Perfect combination of great book and great reader.

What other book might you compare The Third Reich at War to, and why?

There are so many books one could compare this book with on the market, but hands down- this one best for me as I rather like story of the "little people". Here on audible there is a bit outdated, but still great book, by american correspondent William L. Shirer, one of the best books written by somebody who actually was there. It is called "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and while not completely up to date on quite a few facts and with some obvious onesided beliefs which are now known to be incorrect, it is also a great listen. It is also worth to read Albert Speer's memoirs as while now known to be full of half truths and complete lies, it does portray the era pretty well. There are many of the diaries and letters which were later published by themselves and which Evans uses in this trilogy and they are all great background read.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • TIM
  • 04-13-13



1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • MR
  • 06-03-13

Very interesting and complete history

I always wanted to understand more about the Nazis and how they went about coming to power and then going to war, so this was a very good way to get some insight into what really went on. It is long but well worth the listen.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 04-13-17

Not great

It's an average book, with little to make it distinctive from any other books on ww2 Germany.. It also has a very heavy focus on the Holocaust rather than the military story of the Third Reich.