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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

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Grover Gardner

57 Hours 21 Minutes

Blackstone Audiobooks

July 2010

Audio Book 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 twentieth 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, 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. Although 1600 pages long, this is such 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.

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  • Corey Blevins

    Such a detailed, in-depth look at how the Nazis came to power and the internal machinations of the Nazi machine and its leaders. Sadly, it was filled with juvenile, sadistic men (and women) who were hyper-racists and who are responsible for more death and destruction than any group of individuals ever on the planet. It is beautifully composed and easy to follow (save a couple of uninteresting tangents), and will have you caught up on the Third Reich. Lastly, it is stunning how close the Nazi war machine came (and many times) to total European domination (including defeating Britain and Russia). Small pivot points in history, usually Hitler's boneheaded decisions, helped save us all an uncertain, likely gruesome fate.

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  • Terry Rister

    Exceptional read. Just what I was looking for to round out my understanding of this period of our world history.

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  • Jami R.


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  • paul b

    about all one needs to know about wwii. shirer gives a well thought out and researched account of history from post 1918 to the nuremberg trials.

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  • Brad L

    A great, thorough book on the matter. Heavily leans toward political and diplomatic topics rather than war strategy. Although given Hitler's maniacal mentality maybe the one broad statement that could be said about the war is that Hitler oversaw it and the rest just obeyed orders. Undoubtedly the "generals" were very talented to have been the real draftsmen of such successful early strikes

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  • Pete Coffee

    Outstanding, great historical book with great insight on the Third Reich.

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  • James D.

    Essential reading.

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  • John M.

    I enjoyed this book tremendously. I attempted to read in the traditional manner and struggled to complete it. Not so this time! This detailed and exhaustive investigation into the madness that was the Third Reich needs to be completed by any fan/historian/teacher of this era. The lies and deceit of the Nazis bordered on comedy and the end result of their methods begat the destruction of the German state and the lives of innocent people. I find it humorous that a man like Hitler and his supposed genius, that would surround himself with so many dolts and mindless stooges, that I'm actually surprised the struggle lasted as long as it did... The typical cowardice of many top-ranking Nazi officials to resort to suicide rather than face their punishment was also stunning to me.

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  • Khatchig T.

    lots of info.

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  • Zbigniew P.

    An astonishing material, powerful insights and detailed history of fake ideology.

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