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on 19 May 1998
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 generalizations about the German people as a whole but he lived the frustration the time. I think that holding this book up as a book to be taught in history class is a mistake. Everyone has a window on the World and Mr. Shirer is letting us know what he saw from his. He does point out some British newscast that did not jive with what he saw. I enjoyed the book and would recommend this book.
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on 10 August 1999
As an example of you-are-there journalism, Shirer's work is as good as it gets, and that's why Columbia University ranked it as one of the century's top 100 works of reportage recently. But Shirer, writing before the U.S. even entered the war, shows himself to be an incredibly prescient analyst of why Hitler decided against invading Britain, for example, as well as how the German-Russian alliance would end and how the U.S. would get involved in the war. All around, this is an excellent book. After finishing it this past weekend, I wanted to drop Shirer a note to say how much I enjoyed it; unfortunately, he died in 1993. All journalists should read this book.
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on 1 November 2013
I learnt so much about the stages leading to the outbreak of war and the progress of it. I understood for the first time how each step lead inexorably to the next and how the relationships between all involved had so much influence on the allies decisions. Very absorbing and easy to read.
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on 4 September 2015
I was really pleased to get a second hand copy of this book. It was described as good condition - I would have said no more than fair but not bad considering the age of the book. The author was an American radio journalist who spent the late 1930s and the early part of the war in Germany and other parts of Europe. It is very much an American view of Europe generally and Germany in particular. I suspect it also reflects the author's personal prejudices. For example, he frequently refers to the Germans as "hysterical" as though this was an inherent national characteristic. I also wonder how much editorialising there was in preparing the diaries for publication as the author seems remarkably prescient at various points. However, the book does not pretend to be a measured, authoritative history - it is a diary and benefits greatly from its immediacy and the fact that the author was an eye-witness to many of the most remarkable events of the period. The accounts of some of the Nuremberg rallies are particularly interesting.
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on 7 June 1999
Mr Shirer can truly make you feel like you're in Europe in the 30's. He has a knack for balancing his emotions and his objectivity (more so in "The Rise and Fall...") without detracting from the excitement of the events at hand. It's certainly not cliche to say that his books are hard to put down.
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on 23 November 2012
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 descriptions of Gemany's 1940 offensives on western Europe. He does lack an interest or an ability to express more than a stereotype of the Germans he meets, even if he, in my view, rightly describes nazism as barbaric and needing condemnation. Prior to the outbreak of war his diary is very flimsy and feels highly selective to provide the apparence of prescience.
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on 26 October 2013
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich has always been one of my favourite books, but Berlin Diaries is equally essential in understanding the Third Reich. Perhaps the best parts of this book are when Shirer demonstrates his insider's knowledge, some gained in visits to the countries involved (the reports from Poland and France are truly memorable) and some from his closely guarded sources. The most famous foreign correspondent in Nazi Germany proves to be an engaging, principled and self effacing diarist.
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on 1 February 2013
I found this a fascinating read. William Shirer was in the heart of Europe during the rise of Nazism and the first two years of the Second World War.

Despite knowing the history, knowing what happened, I was still caught up by the events he described in his diary. Day after day, week after week, month after month, Shirer catalogued the unstoppable Nazi war machine as Hitler turned his attention to one European country after another. Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, France and so on, Shirer criss-crossed the continent to report on events for American radio.

It was fascinating too to see the Second World War in Europe through the eyes of an American. I'm British, so reading Shirer's thoughts on the people, strategies and characters of my country was very interesting. So too was his description of the Germans and the German populations reactions to Hitler, the Nazis, the war and their views of other countries. Some of the blatant lies the Nazis peddled as propaganda are simple staggering.

Shirer's diary showed me a view of the war that I've never seen before. I found it to be quite the page turner despite knowing what was coming. Definitely worth a read if you're at all interested in the Second World War.
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on 14 October 2013
This book contains a lot of detail of the interior situation of Germany in the late pre-war and early war period. I have read a lot about this period in many ways, but I learnt an enormous amount that I didnt know and showed how the population felt about and reacted to the actions of the Nazi government. Lots of little details. Pity that it ends at the end of 1942, would have been very interesting for it to continue until the US declaration of war.
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on 11 December 2013
This is just fantastic. Shirer was a war correspondent based in Germany before and during the war. After the war he wrote the first classic history "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". But this diary is almost better. It is his day by day notes of living and surviving in Europe as Hitler came to power. In his broadcasts he may be a carefully censored war correspondent, but in these private notes he rages against the Nazi's and Hitler and the arrogant power of Germanism. He cannot believe the stupidity of the allies failing to see the coming threat. He bemoans the hollow-chested bespectacled insurance clerks from Liverpool, captured by the physically superior blonde Aryan youth. He despairs. He sees defeat. He bitterly complains about Churchill's lack of courage in not coming to the aid of the Norwegians. The balanced broadcaster is left behind. Here we have the coruscating criticism of a very angry man who has to report on the war and survive in Berlin with his wife and baby.
It is so readable. Read it!
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