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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars book worth reading
I liked this book. The conflicting reviews caused me to read it. I wanted to judge the work for myself. I am sure that Mr. Shirer has embellished his deeds in the reworking, and some of it comes off like allied propaganda of the day. I think you can learn a great deal from actual accounts of what people thought and felt at the time. He makes some unflattering...
Published on 19 May 1998

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A flawed but valuable account of the early part of WW2.
An interesting if flawed book, with some gems of information casually dropped but rarely followed up. The revelation that nearly half of Germany's Jewish population had applied to US officials emigrate to the USA, and only about 10 per cent approved is a case in point. Schirer seems to lack imagination and perhaps intelligence, and his diaries only come to life in his...
Published on 23 Nov. 2012 by N


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5.0 out of 5 stars A very personal perspective on a critical period of history., 1 Feb. 2013
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This isn't a novel, or even a non-fiction analysis of history, so it can't be judged by the usual critieria. It's a very personal perspective, by someone who was not only right there in Berlin as the Nazis took over power and then went to war, but also as a journalist was able to attend many of the key events. There are some fascinating snippets: an observation of Hitler's odd gait, as well as thoughts about how he was able to tap into the German people's fears and aspirations to gain an almost hypnotic control of them; how the propaganda machine operated to deny the people any other versions of what was going on but what Goebells wanted them to hear, and the gradual cynicism this led to; why, in spite of all the hardships, the people generally supported the war. And also some interesting glimpses into what the Allies were doing or not doing, and the effect this was having. If you're interested in this critical period of history, don't miss this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting personal view, 11 Oct. 2013
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Read this in a very few sittings - its full of incidental details of life in Berlin and occasionally elsewhere in Western Europe in the run-up and early stages of WW2 (a running battle with the Nazi censors, dodging shrapnel, just who bombed the library...). It is a diary rather than a historical study and so is a personal view from a personal standpoint and you have to read it as an appendix to any study of the time. It is also written by a journalist/radio reporter and so it would be interesting to know exactly how much was added with hindsight: I'm not convinced he'd know of the Nazi death camps in 1941 when the diary ends yet makes a reference to them. Sadly his almost prescient judgements are somewhat suspicious but if he had only half the insights at the time then a most remarkable observer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than I remember it, 6 Oct. 2013
I read this book several decades ago, and found it excellent.I wondered how I'd feel about it now that I've read quite a bit more (and watched movies and TV programs) about the same topic. Remarkably, I found it better. The spooky way the evil develops into apocalypse is amazingly well portrayed.

Remarkably, the book also reads almost like a novel. I've recently read several counterfactual books on the same topic, notably be Harry Turtledove, constructed in essentially the same way: snippets of narrative strung together. This diary reads rather like them, except, remarkably, it was written in real time. Turtledove knew what was coming on page 234 while he was writing page 27. That Shirer did not makes his book even more amazing.

And of course, it's all true.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An insite, 5 Nov. 2013
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Anyone with an interest in the history of the second world war should read this. It is an interesting look at the American view of Hitlers' Germany from the American point of view and is as such shows pretty much why the Americans behaved as they did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read, Especially For Those Familiar With Shirer's Other Works, 19 Mar. 2013
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Andrew McCann (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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Having read Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich during the 1960s and revisited it recently in its Kindle version, I found that Berlin Diary, which I read recently for the first time, to be an excellent complement.

It is particularly interesting in the respect that it provides significant detail about the author himself and his life and times as an American foreign correspondent in Berlin, prior to the German declaration of war on America.

Significantly his reflections on aspects of life, important and influential characters in the German hierarchy and his interactions with everyday acquaintances provide a fascinating insight into life in Berlin at that time, as the threat of war emerges into total reality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Perspective on the Start of WWII, 7 Oct. 2013
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Shirer's private diary, written from the viewpoint of a newspaper correspondent and latterly as a CBS reporter working mainly from Berlin in the lead up to, and the early years of, the Second World War paints a gripping and chilling picture of the descent into total war. We see how propaganda from both sides tries to obscure the facts, the outsider's perspective being fascinating in a time when, 70 years on, we as a nation still tend to be relatively uncritical of the UK's role. But Shirer is certainly not pro-Nazi; on the contrary, he finds himself increasingly threatened in trying to present the truth to America.

The fact that this is a diary, revealing events "as they happen", makes it a difficult book to put down.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, 7 Mar. 2014
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I thought it was a very readable account of events and did give of the atmosphere in Berlin and Germany prior to and during the early part of the Second World War.

What I think I missed was an account of what sort of personalities people like Goering, Goebbels and Hitler really were. He obviously did not like them as is evident from the very start of the diary but the reasoning for him having developed this view early on, earlier than others as far as I can guess, is something in which I would have been interested.. I may have expected too much as after all it is a diary and that of a newspaper/radio reporter at that..

I certainly don't regret having taken the time to read the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 17 Feb. 2013
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I enjoyed this book. There are many gems of insight and really interesting observations. Shirer is a little too disparaging of the German people at times but he is also critical of the allies and their lack of pre war action. His commentary is matter of fact rather than imaginative but this I think actually adds to the impact. I get the impression that some of his more prophetic comments may have been added at a later date, however the book is thoroughly engaging, informative and I would certainly recommend it, not least as a way to learn the chronology of the war. Shirer's diary really does provide the reader with a feeling of being there and I was at times unable to put it down. Enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best WWII read of life in Berlin pre Pearl Habor, 22 Feb. 2015
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Great diary, so full of snippets of wisdom, understanding of ills of a nation gripped by Nazism, and of the weakness of western governments in the lead up to 1939 and after. The economic war with Germany failed and the excuse to invade to unite German speaking peoples is so similar to the Ukraine at present. Some fantastic background facts, some convinced by 1940 that Nazis would not stop persecuting jews until all were exterminated, and that press coverage of extermination of mental hospital patients was limited to death notices of those gassed and cremated. In other words large proportion of society aware of the horrors, some rebelled and were then taken care of, so to speak.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It is absolutely fantastic. Well written and very interesting, 24 Oct. 2014
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Bought this book twelve months ago as it was a kindle daily deal,at 0.99p. Kept putting off reading it as I felt it might be to heavy. Boy what a mistake that was.

Started reading it 10'days ago and I can't put it down. It is absolutely fantastic. Well written and very interesting, not too deep but written by a family man who was doing his job under very trying conditions.

I am enjoying every minute of it. If you want to read the true version of what the German put up under the Nazi Party then this is a must read.

Next buy now is "rise and Fall of the Third Reich".

A must buy.
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Berlin Diary: Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941
Berlin Diary: Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 by William L. Shirer (Hardcover - Oct. 1997)
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