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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best history of the Third Reich ever written
This is the definitive history of the Third Reich from an American reporter who lived in Berlin until America entered the war.
It is wonderfully written and well researched. I have read it so often that the original book has disintegrated. This Kindle Edition is well put together.
I thoroughly recommend it.
Published on 20 Feb. 2012 by Tony Fisher

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 1* or 5*? best give it a 3* then.
OK here goes.

I never used to be a great reader, perhaps one or 2 books a year, then I got the Paperwhite, now I'm hooked. I've always been interested in history especially WWII so I bought this, "despite" the reviews.

It was certainly the longest book I'd ever read. I wouldn't have attempted it in book form.

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Published 14 months ago by SpoonyA3D


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best history of the Third Reich ever written, 20 Feb. 2012
By 
Tony Fisher (Bearsted, Kent UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the definitive history of the Third Reich from an American reporter who lived in Berlin until America entered the war.
It is wonderfully written and well researched. I have read it so often that the original book has disintegrated. This Kindle Edition is well put together.
I thoroughly recommend it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most entertaining history book ever!, 25 May 1998
By A Customer
I probably have read this book a hundred times, and will keep reading it until it falls apart. Shirers writing has a quality about it that makes the complex very clear, and takes dull facts and transforms them into fascinating reading. Shirer provides insights and descriptions that only a man who saw it with his own eyes could, and the result is that the book is not only an excellent coverage of the war, but it also touches on the individuals who played key roles during this time in history. This book is not always perfectly objective, but the historical account is accurate and among the best I've read. It can also be very funny, and with its outstanding collection of photos it is a very educational and entertaining piece of literature. I've been recommending this book to readers for years, and not one person has been disappointed yet.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellently written and informative, 19 April 1999
By A Customer
This is one of my favourite books. William Shirer presents his material accurately and in a very approachable writing style, which even contains some fine writing. Don't let the vast size of it put you off! It is slightly marred by some references we might now class as homophobic, but we must remember they were quite unexceptionable at the time the book was written. It certainly helped me to understand what was going on, and is a forerunner in style of the BBC series "The Nazis, a warning from history". No one gets off any hooks. Interesting and little discussed elsewhere are Hitler's strange ideas about the nature of British and US society, and what the people of those countries were likely to do.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Monumental Work, 1 Oct. 2010
This book was first published fifty years ago. Yet as an account of the high politics of the Nazi Party and the Nazi Regime, it remains unequalled. The author was an American. As a young man he was a journalist, living and working in Germany during the 1930s as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and CBS. Subsequently, using his in-depth knowledge of pre-war German politics, and based on meticulous research, he compiled this history of the Third Reich. This is not a biography of Hitler, though it does come close to that at times, but it is an account of how Hitler, with the support of his acolytes, went about the grim task of seizing power in Germany and then dragging a continent down to ruin. The threads that ran through the Third Reich; grievance, militarism, nationalism, racism, fascism, duplicity, hypocrisy, arrogance, intimidation, casual brutality, institutionalised barbarism, and a mythic sense of predestination, are all explored in detail.

The ten years of economic boom in Germany that followed Hitler's accession to power, was bought first at the expense of unsustainable inflationary pressures in the economy, and then, before those consequences became manifest, by the plundering of the resources of Germany's neighbours after military conquest. Economic boom and continental conquest secured Hitler's popularity in Germany, but in every strata of German society there remained an undercurrent of disquiet with Hitler and his regime; disquiet that manifested itself in intrigues and plots, and which became more prevalent as the tide of war changed. These too are all explored in detail, as are the countless missed opportunities, personal and diplomatic, over a twenty year period that may have led Germany and Europe to follow a different path.

Shirer's book is no easy read - the paperback version of the second edition runs to more than fourteen-hundred pages - nor is it an account of the battles of the Second World War. But it remains a detailed and fascinating account of the rise and fall of a particularly evil dictatorship. If I have any criticism of the book it is that the author at times seems offer an explanation of events that is insufficiently rounded. A couple of examples - in one part of the book he seems to make the case that, given the socio-political situation in Germany in the early decades of the 20th Century, Hitler's rise to power was almost inevitable; and yet cites countless instances where, if certain individuals had acted differently, events might have taken a very different course - the Weimar Republic is depicted as being on the verge of political and economic collapse at the end of 1923; yet just one year later it is depicted as stable, prosperous and successful. Nonetheless the book is well researched, and is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the how, when and why of the rise and fall of the Third Reich.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 16 Mar. 2012
Quite simply,this book is,in my opinion,the best work of literature on the Third Reich. Well written and researched by an author who actually lived and worked in Germany at the time of the events being described. Mr Shirer explains in great detail how Hitler managed to attain power using democratic methods. When reading this book you will become frighteningly aware of how easy it is for a Government to control it's populace using 'security measures to protect them'. Something we are all seeing today. Although a long read it is never difficult to understand the events being written about due to Mr Shirer's skills as an author. This book is a must buy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most definitive account of those nighmarish years., 15 Sept. 1998
By A Customer
This is one of the best books I have ever read on this subject. The minute by minute account of the events and happenings, from the ascendance of Hitler to power, to his defeat, keeps one totally gripped. The part where Mr Shirer deals with events just before the attack on poland and eventually the start of the war is the best. He tells us history in such an interesting way that it is unbelievable. It is a must for every person interested in knowing such an important part of our past.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never EVER Forget!!!, 14 Feb. 2014
By 
Mr. John Frank Herbert (Greenwich, London) - See all my reviews
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I'm surmising that many people would take one glance and consider this book of 1180 pages a monumental study in boredom.
How wrong they would be!

With the retrieval of thousands of documents after the war, Shirer has managed to incorporate samples of these in such a clever way, that these notes, letters and instructions gives the reader the feeling of actually being there, like a fly on the wall.

Of course it's still an uncanny phenomenon that one man could so hypnotise an entire nation, and in so doing, encouraging a minority of them into committing the most horrendous atrocities against humanity. I must confess that reading about those atrocities in these pages, the callous attitude towards the lives of millions of people across Europe, at times beggared belief.

As a fly on the wall I felt that I was actually there as the drama across a beleaguered Europe unfolded.
As the countries fell endlessly under the jackboot, the impending storm must have brought great trepidation to the British people. But they didn't recognise defeat when it was staring them in the face, and virtually unarmed, they were about to confront the greatest military machine in the World's history.

What did Hitler and his Generals think of the British and Churchill, of the hapless Chamberlain? It's all in this book.
The messages between Hitler and his Generals, the letters between Hitler and Mussolini, the thoughts of the German conspirators on Hitler's life, it's all in this book.

Those last incredible days in Berlin, with the Russians and the Allied forces thundering in, as Hitler (losing the plot by the minute) makes preparations for his suicide pact; his thoughts and final instructions, it's all in this book.

It's simply compelling reading.

I know I'm going over old ground when I say that this book serves as a gigantic warning; that one man, who at first was a complete non-entity, could rise to such a beacon of hope to a despondent nation, and in following that man condemned themselves to a brutal and harsh retribution.
With that warning one must never disregard the possibilities when so called smaller tyrants appear on the horizon.
In that regard were the actions taken against Sadam Hussein so very wrong?

This book should be compulsory reading.
Having read this incredible book I feel like I've almost lived through it all, as ridiculous as that sounds.

I still shudder when I consider the plight of those millions that perished in the death camps, and the sheer terror of those final moments once they became aware of their fate.

Never forget.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, 7 Nov. 2008
By 
Censuwine (Balzan, Malta) - See all my reviews
For people with an interest in 20th century history, this book is a must. I usually associate large hard-bound volumes with reference books - only kept for sporadic reading or for reference purposes; but I found that I could not put this book down.

Of course, it only recounts the entire history of the Nazi party to a certain level of detail. So many years, which included a world conflict, can only be covered in detail by other works that focus purely on a few aspects of the party/war. Nevertheless, I cannot praise this book enough.
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100 of 110 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book to remember, 16 May 2001
By A Customer
William Shirer was an American journalist in Germany from 1934 until presumably 1941 (when Germany declared war on the USA after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour). Shirer occasionally mentions his participation in reporting history from Berlin or the front lines and admits to having been influenced by the endless barrage of Nazi propaganda. Occasionally his sharp post-war opinions on the characters of the various leaders depicted breaks through. The book is based on the huge amounts of documentary and verbal evidence that became available after the war and the Nuremberg trials. The book represents a huge work of research - one wonders, however, whether the author's motivation is an atonement to his blindness (along with many millions of others) to the monstrosity of the Third Reich as it actually happened.
On reading the book (a rich 1200 pages!) one wonders whether it should not have been called "The Rise and the Fall of Adolf Hitler" for it centers around Hitler and his generals and seems to almost forget Goering, Goebbels, Himmler and other Nazi leaders after their initial appearances. A central conclusion from the book is, no doubt, that the Third Reich and World War2 would not have come about were it not for this one man - Adolf Hitler. All the other players in Shirer's story pale into insignificance beside the genius, charisma, madness, vision, evil, manipulativeness, leadership and single-mindedness of the one man. The only other "heros" of the book, although not covered in great detail, are Stalin and, rather more so, Churchill whose vision, inspiration and leadership changed the course of history.
[Reviewer's personal note: WW2 and the Holocaust are themes of enormous importance to me personally. Both my parents were born in Germany and, had it not been for Hitler I would have been born a German. Once the Third Reich existed I might not have been born at all were it not for Churchill, and I almost certainly wouldn't have been living in Israel if weren't for WW2 and the Holocaust. The realization (sharpened after reading this book) that my life ,and that of so many millions of others, would have been so different were it not for two men is quite shattering.]
Besides Hitler, Churchill and Stalin most other players in the drama of the Third Reich appear in Shirer's book as sycophants, ditherers, brutes or nonentities. The weakness and blindness of pre-war England and France are difficult to imagine. The blind neutrality and unpreparedness of the governments of Belgium, Holland and Norway is also noted. The world's blindness is all the more noteworthy considering, as Shirer carefully points out, that Hitler laid out his philosophy and intentions very clearly in Mein Kampf which he wrote in the mid 1920's.
In hindsight, one is open-mouthed at the success of Hitler's bullying which allowed him to annex Austria and dismantle Czechoslovakia without firing a shot. Hitler also intimidated his generals who dared not disobey him even if it cost the lives of thousands of their troops and endangered their own. As the war progressed more and more of them either resigned or were fired in Hitler's increasing rage and frustration at ever increasing failures. It is quite amazing to read about the chain of events which led the ex-Austrian corporal to take over direct command of the German armed forces in the first place. There is no doubt that, during the early stages of the war, Hitler's ideas of where and how to attack and invade were smarter than those of his generals, as was his assessment of the procrastination and unpreparedness of the countries to the north and west.
However Hitler had a number of critical blind spots that were to cost him the war. He underestimated the will of the Russians to fight for their homeland as he misjudged the tenacity of the British and readiness to fight of the Americans. Hitler was more paranoid about the dangers close to home to his regime and his person. He made sure to eliminate (literally) any real or supposed opposition including the many members of the July 1944 plot. Shirer documents the various attempts within Germany during the war years to overthrow the Fuehrer which all failed from combinations of bad luck, ambivalence, mutual distrust and lack of resolve of the plotters.
The book's main themes are the rise of the Nazi Party, the build up to and then the conduct of the war until its demolition of the Third Reich. From a history of the Third Reich, I would have expected something more on the instruments of government and power under the Nazi regime. There is also little on the Nazis' innovative, systematic and extremely successful uses of deception and propaganda to further their aims. Shirer, however, chooses the more exciting stories and gives us a tantalizing insider's view of the Reich. The detail furnished by some of Hitler's loyal subordinates of meetings give us the feeling of having been there in the Chancellery or in Berchtesgaden as it happened. For those of us who grew up on the Allied story of the war, this glimpse into the enemy camp is a memorable one. I will not forget this book for a long time.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is absolutely impossible to put down., 20 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
William Shirer's book recounting in extremely fine detail one of the most covered subjects in world history has a unique, magical quality. I will not dwell on its accuracy and breadth of documentation, other reviewers have already noted it. The sheer quantity of original and secret material from the Nazi administration archives Shirer was able to use as a background to write this book boggles the mind - and he himself admits it would've taken many men many lifetimes to go through it all; but this is not my point. My point is that in anyone else's hands, this material would probably have resulted in a jaw-droppingly boring listing of names and minutes from cabinet meetings. What truly astonished me about this book were its overpowering demand for attention, its totally consistent clarity, its lightness of style and exposition that never, ever forgot precision and in-depth observation. I read this 1,100+-page book in two weeks, and not once through it I felt I wasn't understanding what it talked about. I'm not a faster or smarter-than-average reader: it was simply impossible to let the volume stand there, so much so that for two weeks I brought it with me everywhere I went, using every minute of free time (and also a few hours of work time) to read a few more lines, a few more paragraphs, please, just two more pages, I promise. For all the countless historical characters and extremely complex situations presented here (how could there not be, given the subject?), Shirer leads the reader through them with such powerful grace and insight that you have to strain to remind yourself this is not a Dashiell Hammett mystery, and that Adolf Hitler wasn't simply any Little Caesar. Though Shirer's judgment on the whole story is fairly explicit - and please let me add that it should simply be any reasonable person's judgment - he never lets it cloud his narration. People here are mostly shown through their actions, not ex-post interpretation or psychobabble. They lunge for your throat. Even the first page starts, so to speak, in mid-action, at the end of January 1933, with Hitler rising to Chancellorship after 14 years of founding the NSDAP. As you turn the pages, as story - and history - unfold, you feel the same uncertainty with which life itself unfolds, as if the Third Reich is growing day by day before your eyes and you actually don't know what tomorrow and the next page will bring, as if you didn't already know how the story ended. Shirer's book is the perfect example of how all history should be written.
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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer (Hardcover - Dec. 1987)
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