Top critical review
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A thorough history, perhaps too thorough
on 5 October 1998
Shirer is certainly the master of details and narrative. A reader's impression of the book, though, is going to be influenced by what one is looking for... The actual events of 1940 do not appear until after 600 pages of French history. The first part of the book sweeps through late 19th century and early 20th century history well, but in my opinion (and given a lack of reading time), the 1930's are covered in excessive detail, bogging down the reader. If you are prepared for 900 pages, go for it. If you are looking for military history or a brief history of France from 1880-1940, look elsewhere first.