Before I read this book, I didn't really have that much of an understanding of Nazi Germany, at least in terms of events and conditions within Germany leading up to the war. Part of the strength of the book from my perspective is that it not only deals with what the German leadership was saying, but also what the mood on the street was. Shirer does a great job in communicating the sentiments of the German people. The fears of encirclement and the bewilderment at the refusal of Britain to surrender or negotiate peace stand out as two fine examples of Shirer's attentiveness.
The book is also a fascinating exercise in state propaganda and censorship. It's both insightful and extremely frustrating. There is a lot of repitition and one wearies of the daily tallies fresh from the battlefield. As well, Shirer is often forced to broadcast the official Nazi line, leaving one wondering what his real thoughts and sentiments were and what was really happening, both in Germany and abroad. So there to an extent it does lack a little bit of context. Shirer does his best with innuendo and sarcasm, but the strain of the censorship must have been almost unbearable.
I'd recommend people interested in this book also consult "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" also by Shirer, it's a very interesting read and will act as a fabulous companion to this book.
I found "This is Berlin" to be captivating, events unfolded rapidly and there was lots of suspense, which was interesting since of course we already knew the outcome. Reading the book is like unlocking a time capsule, take yourself back to Berlin and ponder William Shirer's commentary.