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Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941 Paperback – 17 Apr 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 648 pages
  • Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press; New Ed edition (17 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801870569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801870569
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,544,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

There is absolutely no better book by an American about the rise of the Third Reich. A gripping -- and harrowing -- view from inside Hitler's Germany.

(Lamar Graham)

The most complete news report yet to come out of war time Germany.

(Time)

About the Author

William L. Shirer (1904-94) was a newspaper correspondent and radio journalist in the years before and during World War II. His many books include the critically acclaimed bestseller The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, This Is Berlin, and The Nightmare Years.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 19 May 1998
Format: Hardcover
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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By A Customer on 10 Aug. 1999
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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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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A fascinating read but I was still in 1934 when I turned a page and found myself in the index at the back. I thought it was me. Tried to go backwards which took forever then went to the start and found my way back to where I was. I read a few more pages then it did it again. In all this has happened about six times and I have given up reading a book that was a real eye opener. The book version proper should be required reading for all those studying that period, its just a shame about the technical difficulties.
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William L Shirer was an American journalist who played a major role, alongside Ed Murrow, in waking his fellow countrymen up to the dangers of Nazism and the impossibility of US neutrality in the face of the existential threat to the liberal democratic world posed by Hitler. His most famous work is The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, in my view one of the best works of narrative history/journalism ever written. This book contains his diaries from when he was correspondent in Berlin, initially for two of Randolph Hearst's wire services, then for CBS. He arrives in the German capital at a time when "Hitler and the Nazis have lasted out a whole year in Germany and our friends in Vienna write that fascism, both of a local clerical brand and of the Berlin type, is rapidly gaining ground in Austria". World war is still of course, well over five years away, but Shirer is more prescient than many.
He chronicles the rise of fascism and collapse of social democracy in Austria, then the familiar litany of Hitler's advances, the Rhineland, Austria, the Sudetenland, the rest of Czechoslovakia, and finally Poland before Britain and France wake up to the threat and finally abandon appeasement and stand up to Hitler. He is an excellent writer and brings home clearly the drama and horror of events as they unfold, in the sheer rapidity of the German advance into Poland and of the Blitzkrieg across northern and western Europe in 1940, which year covers half of the entire text of the book. Reading this account as the events unfold is very different from reading a historical account written with the hindsight knowledge of Nazi defeat in 1945.
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