In this superb memoir, William L. Shirer describes life inside Nazi Germany from his six-year perch (1934-1940) as a foreign correspondent for newspapers and CBS radio. Readers get a feel for everyday life in Nazi Germany as Hitler consolidated his power, crushed (or killed) his opponents, and put the jobless to work building a war machine for future conquest.
Shirer begins by describing his days in Vienna, Afghanistan, Spain, and France, but the book's heart comes with his posting to Berlin in 1934. Readers learn about Gestapo terror, prewar rearmament, increasing anti-Semitism, and the devotion of many (but not all) Germans to their violent Fuehrer. Shirer also examines the inexplicable appeasement policies of France and Britain - policies that leave one as baffled today as in the 1930's. The author recounts joining Ed Murrow at CBS Radio in 1938 and then broadcasting events such as the Anchluss (takeover) of Austria, the betrayal at Munich, and the German invasion of Poland. Shirer also recounts traveling with the German army as it tore through Belgium in 1940, seeing Paris under Nazi rule, and broadcasting the French surrender. The book's nicely readable prose vividly recreates the stifling atmosphere and the unfolding, utterly preventable tragedy.
Journalist-author William L. Shirer (1904-93) wrote superbly readable eye-witness accounts of 20th Century history. This 1984 memoir was his final bestseller on Nazi Germany, and every bit as readable as the earlier two, BERLIN DIARY (1941) and RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH (1960).