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I read books like this to fill out the background to the events ...
on 15 March 2015
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 my tours. I reckon this is the best single volume account of the 3rd Reich. I have read Kershaw's two-volume, 1200 page biography of Hitler and his book "The Hitler Myth", an account of the God-like fantasy view Goebbels created around Hitler, which held the German people in such thrall.
A book covering some of the same ground as "The Third Reich" is Mark Mazower's excellent "Hitler's Empire". Mazower's book is less wide ranging, less detailed in the account of the Nazi's rise through the 1930's, the period when Hitler formulated the vague notions of world dominance which the rest of his revolting gang put into practice.
This book describes in great detail the social and political aims and policies of the National Socialist regime, from Hitler's beginnings as a beer-hall ranter to a man who infected the people of Goethe, Bach and Beethoven with the politics of hate and violence and succeeded in persuading them to act out his appalling vision. The general perception of the Nazis is that the evil of their regime is known, principally as the brutal military invaders of Russia and Western Europe. But the full extent of the evil, evil that penetrated right down into the foundations of German society itself, is not revealed unless by books such as this. Be prepared to think to yourself, as I did, "I knew it was evil. I had no idea it was so profoundly evil."