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The Third Reich: A New History Hardcover – 8 Sep 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 965 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; First edition (8 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333644875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333644874
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Humans have a fascination with evil. We long to identify it, quantify it and understand it. To this end, newspapers frequently splash photographs of murderers with the caption, "The face of evil." Heading most lists of the 20th-century's most evil people would be Adolf Hitler but, as Michael Burleigh's tour de force makes clear, evil is not always as cut and dried as we would like. The Nazis could not have come to power and committed Germany to a policy of war and genocide without the tacit consent of the German people. This makes Germany as a whole responsible for the crimes committed in its name, but it is clearly wrong to label each and every German as evil. Through his painstaking research and direct prose, Burleigh slowly builds up a picture of a people desperate for identity and economic prosperity who, bit by bit, closed off their conscience as the price of their dreams. There was no one cathartic moment when Germany, under the Third Reich, lapsed from goodness into badness; rather there was an incremental realignment of a collective morality. Burleigh's explanation of this phenomenon is so simple and yet so obviously right, that you can only wonder that it hadn't become the generally accepted currency years back. Instead of viewing Nazi Germany in purely social, political and economic terms--though he doesn't ignore these spheres --Burleigh wraps them all into a picture of a country gripped in a religious, messianic fervour and that which had previously felt inexplicable suddenly seems crystal clear. If you want the nitty-gritty details of the Second World War and the genocide, then they are here, as well, if not better, retold than many of the other histories of this period. But it's Burleigh's take on the ordinary people of Germany that makes this book so special. Above all, with similar genocidal wars currently being fought in Kosovo, Rwanda and Iraq, it makes you think, "Would I be able to resist becoming complicit in such regimes?" This is a must for every 20th-century historian.--John Crace


'This is a monumental book.' Richard Overy, Sunday Telegraph 'If I had to recommend one book on the Third Reich, this would be it.' Daniel Johnson, Daily Telegraph 'It is a breathtaking achievement, at once broader and deeper than any other single volume ever published on the subject. Indeed I would go further: it is the product of authentic historical genius.' Niall Ferguson, Sunday Times 'Happily, Michael Burleigh now fills that bibliographical gap, with a readable and highly knowledgeable account of that ghastly period. You will never be bored by this extraordinary book.' Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Burleigh's history of the Third Reich carefully avoids the blow-by-blow immediacy of other classic histories such as Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". Instead, he concerns himself with the psychological landscape of the Reich; the conceits and lies that led a a nation and a continent to the brink of destruction.
Readers who are looking for the whys and wherefores of defeats on the battlefield will not find them here - this is not a simple military history. Readers who are looking for moral insight into why regimes as evil as the Third Reich can develop and thrive will be richly rewarded by a masterful portrait of an evil state.
Never has Arendt's "banality of evil" been better illustrated than in this remarkable book.
A chilling warning of the horrors that complacency, apathy and uncritical acceptance of our political leaders can bring about. A masterpiece.
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Format: Hardcover
It's most disappointing to read comments from readers, which misrepresent the work under review. Michael Burleighs extraordinary The Third Reich: A New History is the most subtle, sensitive and authoritative book I have yet read on this most difficult subject. Obviously a distillation of years of intense reflection, reading and research it is hard to imagine a future scholarly work that will match the skill with which Burleigh engages the reader so successfully in the moral and ethical dimensions of this terrible story. Driven by a sensibility that pours scorn on simplistic 'political' judgements, Burleigh attempts to confront the difficulty of understanding the Nazi system from a perspective (and style) which means that this brilliant work is not for those that seek easy answers. In this sense, The Third Reich is a work that announces a challenge to the simply historical or political.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a thoroughly compelling read, a superb exposition of the Third Reich. This is by no means an easy read, in terms of length, subject matter and the author's pretentious use of language. I was left in no doubt of the horrors of the Third Reich, not only with the Holocaust, but of the eugenics and euthanasia programmes too. Along with the harrowing account of the Holocaust, subjects include the decline of the Weimar Republic - hated by both left and right wing groups, its massive unemployment and inflation problems - collaboration in Europe, the token resistance to Hitler within Germany, and an account of Nazism's turning Germany in to a police, totalitarian state. This is presented as a "New History", and in some way it is, for me at any rate. In discussing the Holocaust, I was previously unaware of Romania's participation in exterminating the Jews, and the horrors on the Eastern Front - the atrocities committed by the SS, Einsatzgruppen, along with Ukrainian partisans and the Soviet Union come to mind. Although people tend to focus on the evils of the Third Reich, it is important to remember that Stalin was as much a murderer as Hitler. Sadly, a common thread through all this is anti-semitism, even among victims of Nazi aggression.

The book's greatest asset, which makes it stand out, is the constant use of primary sources - accounts of Holocaust survivors, children who had escaped "euthanasia", Jewish victims of the Kristallnacht or general persecution. True to form for the historian's role as an impartial observer, Burleigh also includes accounts of their oppressors, not only hard-core Nazis but also those who joined the Nazi party, SS or other organisations, and were not necessarily card-carrying Nazis.
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Format: Paperback
Although it is not an easily readable book, for the general public, if you have a serious interest about the history of the third Reich, make no mistake: you will not be able to overlook this book, which will surely be a classic. It is a thoroughly well researched contribution about the connection between religious beliefs and mass fanaticism; the interaction between the "new" domestic and international values, based on aggression; and the other causes involved in the rise (and fall) of the III Reich. From a different perspective from other mainstream historians, this winner of the Samuel Johnson prize for non fiction, has accomplished quite an original scholarly feat, one which will enlighten the comprehension of this particular period of history. No wonder many international critics have found the subtitle of this opus -A new History- particularly well deserved. Of great interest is the chapter related with the demise of the rule of law, a thorough analysis of the penetration of the judiciary and the subordination of the police and government to the totalitarian Fuhrerprinzip.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being German and with my Grandfather having fought in the war (who is one of the most gentles soles I have ever met) I developed a huge appetite to establish as to how one organisation, the Nazis, could turn a nation into killers.
Having read numerous books on the topic each of these took a particular area and “fleshed out the facts on a time line” leaving me to piece together the human elements to try and establish the “bigger picture”, however it always left holes.
And then I read “A new history”. Unlike all other books, this takes a key area, be it the rise to power, be it the holocaust and the de-sensitisation of the population, be it operation Barbarossa, etc. and reviews these form a social, political and military (and more) view points, and at times from 1922 till the end of the third Reich. I can but only express my complete and utter awe (and I am a very critical guy) at this piece of work. Well done Mr. Burleigh!
If you are interested the history of the Third Reich... get it!!!
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