The Third Reich: A New History Hardcover – 8 Sep 2000
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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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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!!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Magisterial account of the era. It is also refreshing that it is not so cold; the author can barely disguise his disgust and fury at what happened.Published 18 days ago by Neil J Melville
It is a big book and I have only just started to read it. However I am very impressed by what I have read so farPublished 8 months ago by W. A. Carr
Very helpful, I like how it covers everything briefly. Great book for a detailed overviewPublished 9 months ago by Lauren
Have already reviewed elsewhere....was not bowled over by clunky style of layout, neither value judgements of writer nor pomposity of tone.Published 10 months ago by Mme Sosostris
Quite interesting, but nothing said in it that hasn't been mentioned a thousand times before.Published 12 months ago by Mr. James E. Parrott
I am a professional battlefield guide. I read books like this to fill out the background to the events and characters involved in the warfare on the ground that is the subject of... Read morePublished 17 months ago by C. Nation
A superior history of Hitler's Germany, very good read and a good reference tool.Published 18 months ago by R. Stewart
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