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on 17 February 2006
The second volume of this trilogy fully maintains the excellent standard of the first. It covers the period from when the Nazis came to power in 1933 to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.
While all the familiar foreign policy developments are there, the book's real focus is on life for the German people during the period. This covers, in a very comprehensive way, all levels, schools, the arts, leisure, work etc, and those the Nazis saw as enemies or dispensable. It is of course grim in many places. The author lets facts speak for themselves and writes in a very clear style aimed at the general reader rather than the specialist.
The final volume will cover the remainder of the era of the Third Reich till Germany (along with much of Europe around it) lay in ruins in 1945 and will, I am sure, be grimmer still.
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on 14 May 2007
I am an A-level student who just took the exam for the 'Life in Hitler's Germany 1933-1939' module. When I bought this book I was looking for an authorative, interesting and accessible text. I found it.

Firstly, there is no need to worry if you hadn't read the companion book 'The Comming of the Third Reich' as what you need to know is nicely summed up in a prologue. 'The Third Reich In Power' manages to cover the social aspects of the Third Reich, and along the way gives an idea of the political structure of the Nazi reigme. There is a intensely satisfying attention to detail in Evans' book which clarifies a lot of things which you may not realise you don't know the actual specifics of. The level of analysis is very high, which is both objective and offers the author's personal conclusions. The level of research comes through with the sheer amount of sources/maps included, as well as relevant figures and satistics. This may alienate some more casual readers but I found you can take or skip-over detail acording to need/interest.

What is perhaps most enjoyable about this book is the fact that alongide the conventional important facts are also stimulating sections that I didn't expect, these include looks at the indvidual lives on people under the Third Reich that reveals a lot about the time and even a section looking at the kind of dreams and nightmares the German people had during Nazi rule. These sections are much more relevant than they sound, and it was refreshing and engaging to find them here.

At the begining I called this text accessible, and it is, but remember this is not a revision guide. It will take time to read it becuase it is quite long and, if you are reading it with the view to pass an exam like I was, there will be a huge amount of information that is not strictly relevant to your specification. I did find, however, the comprehensive look this book offered helped me truly understand what I did need to know and I often included interesting points raised by the book in essays. The only criticism that can be made of the book is that perhaps the sections are not given clear enough titles,therefore quick reference is difficult.
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on 4 November 2009
I've been reading about the Third Reich for many years, on and off, and this is one of the most authoritative and well-written accounts of the middle to late Thirties in Nazi Germany I've come across.
Evans manages to pack each page with daily detail of the lives of the people, the shenanigans of Party members, the sheer dirty dealing and downhanded nastiness of the regime and still manages to make it entirely readable. He is to be congratulated on his writing style, for he makes it easy to read and digest such detail without putting the book down out of sheer boredom or falling asleep, unlike so many other historical writers.
I look forward to the third volume in the series.
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on 2 January 2017
In the preface to the first volume of his Third Reich trilogy, Evans quotes professional historians' views that Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, is, as implied by the title, "unbelievably crude". In contrast, he states here in the preface to this second volume that his treatment of the Third Reich in the years 1933-39 will be "necessarily thematic". I can't help feeling that there is a happy medium. In the first and third volumes, the themes were determined by events and so there is a narrative drive, but the eschewal of narrative in this volume makes it difficult to discern how the themes relate to each other. It is not until the last chapter, The Road to War, that narrative crudity appears, and the book is all the better for that.
I was also frustrated by the lack of discursive analysis, which I assume is deliberate, with Evans preferring to let events speak for themselves. For instance, he states that Nazism was not a religion, and quotes a speech to this effect made by Hitler in order, says Evans, to distance himself from the woolly-minded mysticism espoused by the likes of Himmler. But merely quoting Hitler doesn't close the argument. Why did Hitler feel it necessary to make the point? Was he placating the churches? Does the fact that Hitler said it make it true? I would have liked to have heard Evans's no doubt trenchant views on this and other matters.
It is probably unfair to criticise Evans for not writing the book he could have written had he wanted to, and so anyone reading this review may if they wish mentally add a fifth star. There can be no argument with the consensus that is a magisterial account. In his brilliant "In Defence of History" Evans writes that no sane person is capable of reading most history books through from beginning to end. He could write this secure in the knowledge that his own books are evidence that he is one of the few historians who can be eminently readable without being "crude".
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on 14 May 2007
I am an A-level student currently studying the 'Life in Hitler's Germany 1933-1939' module. My teacher is not the best in the world and so when I bought this book I was looking for an authorative, interesting and accessible text. I found it.

Firstly, there is no need to worry if you hadn't read the companion book 'The Comming of the Third Reich' as what you need to know is nicely summed up in a prologue. 'The Third Reich In Power' manages to cover the social aspects of the Third Reich, and along the way gives an idea of the political structure of the Nazi reigme. There is a intensely satisfying attention to detail in Evans' book which clarifies a lot of things which you may not realise you don't know the actual specifics of. The level of analysis is very high, which is both objective and offers the author's personal conclusions. The level of research comes through with the sheer amount of sources/maps included, as well as relevant figures and satistics. This may alienate some more casual readers but I found you can take or skip-over detail acording to need/interest.

What is perhaps most enjoyable about this book is the fact that alongide the conventional important facts are also stimulating sections that I didn't expect, these include looks at the indvidual lives on people under the Third Reich that reveals a lot about the time and even a section looking at the kind of dreams and nightmares the German people had during Nazi rule. These sections are much more relevant than they sound, and it was refreshing and engaging to find them here.

At the begining I called this text accessible, and it is, but remember this is not a revision guide. It will take time to read it becuase it is quite long and, if you are reading it with the view to pass an exam like I was, there will be a huge amount of information that is not strictly relevant to your specification. I did find, however, the comprehensive look this book offered helped me truly understand what I did need to know and I often included interesting points raised by the book in essays. The only criticism that can be made of the book is that perhaps the sections are not given clear enough titles,therefore quick reference is difficult.
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on 16 April 2011
This is the second of Evans' trilogy about the Third Reich and I couldn't put it down. The first book was also sensational, and I'm summoning up the courage to read the third book - I use the word 'courage' not because the books are difficult to read - they are beautifully written - but because the story they tell is so terrible. Incidentally, I read ALONE IN BERLIN by Hans Fallada straight afterwards - it's a novel set during the time that this book covers, and it made a brilliant companion piece. I would recommend both heartily.
Alone in Berlin (Penguin Modern Classics)
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This, the second book in the trilogy by Professor Richard Evans, is a masterpiece of research and clear, straightforward, writing. The book is split into a series of sections each covering different aspects of Nazi rule during the period 1933 to 1939. The first two cover the installation of the police state and the suppression of the SA, the indoctrination of all sections of German society to embrace the Nazi ideal and the concurrent suppression of newspapers, art and literature that did not conform to these ideals. Other sections follow; on the clash with the established churches, the sequestration of Jewish business, the laws regarding agriculture and inheritance, the workers 'Strength Through Joy' organisation, and many more, culminating in the final horrific sections on 'Racial Utopia' and the 'Road to War'.
Evans has worked wonders organising this mass of information and at the same time drawing clear themes to illustrate the nature of Nazism, for example, the role of social Darwinism in the competing Nazi organisations and philosophy and the desire to control utterly every aspect of everyday life for the German citizen. Evans does not wander in to the old Marxist pitfalls of damning everything that was done and dispenses with a number of myths that have become established over the years regarding Hitler and the Third Reich.
Possibly the definitive work on peacetime life under the Nazis, this excellent book is written in a clear lucid style that is easy to read.
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on 19 July 2015
Scholarly without being pedantic. Eminently readable. A wonderful insight into what life in the Third Reich was like for ordinary citizens on a daily basis. The essential irrationality of National Socialism is laid starkly bare.
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on 25 November 2014
As Evans himself points out at the beginning of this series of three books, published material on the Third Reign runs into the tens of thousands, more than even a professional historian can expect to master in a lifetime. Evans's trilogy, coming from a specialist in the field, is probably the most complete one can expect to find in a single book or set of books. The second volume runs from the Nazi takeover of power in 1933 to the very eve of WWII, and I found it somewhat superior to the first. This is an exhaustive survey of the Reich in peace time, or rather in its preparation phase to long-planned hostilities. Social, economic, cultural, and political issues are all covered in great detail. The student should go no further, or rather should begin here and move on to the extensive bibliography. This is the product of many years of teaching and research activity, and it shows.

At the same time, a few minor weaknesses are in my view worth raising. The practice of translating everything from German, even familiar terms and expressions such as Heil Hitler! is sometimes odd. Evans has the Völkischer Beobachter as the racial rather than the popular observer, which doesn't sound right. More substantially, I found that the chapter on economics lacks clarity. Evans, in a laudable effort not to grant the Nazis anything, dismisses their reduction of German unemployment, but actually by his own numbers, even allowing for obfuscation and forced enlistment and labour, one is bound to conclude that their policies did reduce unemployment substantially. Overall, finally, Evans rarely is concise, though that is hardly blameable considering the mass of his material. At the same time, I would still recommend the classic account that is Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to the general reader. Yes, it is far less complete than Evans's trilogy and it focuses more narrowly on political history. But for sheer narrative verve, it remains the book to read.
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on 27 November 2013
The Third Reich in Power by Richard J. Evans is a very good book detailing how the Nazi Party having gained power sought to dominate all aspects of Germany: politically, culturally and socially. It is well-written, detailed and opinionated and shows how the Nazis tried to pervade all aspects of life from morning to night and cradle to grave. The book itself is divided thematically but does have an overarching chronological narrative which helps to give the work a structure and flow. All in all a very good book.
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