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Inside the Third Reich Paperback – Apr 1 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (April 1 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684829495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684829494
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 4.1 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #69,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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From 1946 to 1966, while serving the prison sentence handed down from the Nuremburg War Crimes tribunal, Albert Speer penned 1,200 manuscript pages of personal memoirs. Titled Erinnerungen ("Recollections") upon their 1969 publication in German, Speer's critically acclaimed personal history was translated into English and published one year later as Inside the Third Reich. Long after their initial publication, Speer's memoir continues to provide one of the most detailed and fascinating portrayals of life within Hitler's inner circles, the rise and fall of the third German empire, and of Hitler himself.

Speer chronicles his entire life, but the majority of Inside the Third Reich focuses on the years between 1933 and 1945, when Speer figured prominently in Hitler's government and the German war effort as Inspector General of Buildings for the Renovation of the Federal Capital and later as Minister of Arms and Munitions. Speer's recollections of both duties foreground the impossibility of reconciling Hitler's idealistic, imperialistic ambitions with both architectural and military reality. Throughout, Inside the Third Reich remains true to its author's intentions. With compelling insight, Speer reveals many of the "premises which almost inevitably led to the disasters" of the Third Reich as well as "what comes from one man's holding unrestricted power in his hands." -- Bertina Loeffler

About the Author

Winston was born in Minneapolis. He was educated at the Northup School and Folwell Junior High School. California became the family's home in 1959 and in 1962 he graduated from Glendale High. Later he attended San Jose State University and San Francisco State University, which awarded him a bachelor's degree in Semiotics in 1976. Between San Jose State and San Francisco State, he went to sea with the U.S. Seventh Fleet during the Vietnam conflict, serving as a deck-seaman and quartermaster for about 26 months.

Eugene Davidson is the author of numerous books, including The Death and Life of Germany, The Making of Adolf Hitler, The Trial of the Germans, and The Nuremberg Fallacy, all available from the University of Missouri Press. President Emeritus of the Conference on European Problems and former President of the Foundation for Foreign Affairs, Davidson lived in Santa Barbara, California, until his death at the age of ninety-nine.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I met Albert Speer...And this was book that made me want to meet him - this and "Spandau - The Secret Diaries".

Just after Christmas in 1979 I went to see Speer at his Heidelberg home in West Germany. I had gone to interview him for BBC radio. The trip was carried out in secret. Only a couple of BBC managers, who approved the enterprise, knew what I was doing. And I told no-one until the programmes were broadcast. I went alone - no companions, or production team - just me and Speer alone in his Heidelberg study with a tape recorder running. I met him four times, recording long interviews for six half-hour programmes called "The Hitler Years". You can hear extracts on the BBC website.

So why did "Inside the Third Reich" make such an impression and make me want to meet its author? Because the book changed the way I thought about Hitler. It was the first I'd read that made Hitler seem a plausible human being. Some people say this is wrong. They argue anything that humanises Hitler is improper. He was a monster. All that matters are his crimes.

The trouble with this argument is that it makes Hitler impossible to understand - just a raving lunatic who gormless Germans - not intelligent people like us! - mindlessly followed. But Hitler was more subtle and intelligent than people allow - an evil genius with a surprising amount of twisted knowledge, well read and an extensive interest in the arts. His only weapons to begin with were his voice - he was highly articulate and persuasive - and a superhuman will-power. Hitler claimed he was the greatest actor in Europe. One of his adjutants said even in private it was impossible to tell when he was acting, or sincere. The performance was flawless. He was very convincing.
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Format: Paperback
Speer’s memoirs were published in two volumes. The first volume, Inside the Third Reich , was published in 1969 in Germany and 1970 in America. Compiling historical references and his personal journal entries, Speer’s work straddles the line between memoir and history text. Inside the Third Reich primarily illustrates the inner workings of the Nazi government, which he depicts as incredibly bureaucratic, megalomaniacal and fraught with intrigues. It also deals heavily with the way Hitler’s personality influenced the Reich and Speer. Though Speer’s work is historically important for those reasons, it is also notable for being deceitful in many ways. His alleged ignorance of the Holocaust, for example, has since been contested. Speer also declares himself “apolitical,” joining the Nazi party only because it was offering him work as an architect. These assertions have been criticized in several books, such as Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth, by Gitta Sereny.
The book spans Speer’s formative years, but mostly focuses on his absorption into the Nazi party up until the end of the Second World War, also touching on his time on trial and in prison. Speer describes his increasing proximity to high-ranking and obscenely wealthy Nazis, and the relationships between them. He speaks about the grotesquely grandiose palaces he builds and spends his time in, and he talks about the scandals and backstabbing going on between rivals in the party. In the end, he paints the Nazi government almost like a mafia crime-thriller, with almost everyone conspiring against one another in order to secure higher and higher positions in the pecking order. Speer writes extensively on his impressions of Hitler throughout his collaboration with him, which is easily the highlight of the story.
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Format: Paperback
In 1989, during my Peace Corps service, I came across the book "INSIDE THE THIRD REICH" quite by surprise and could not put it down. I read it for hours nonstop.
The story that Speer relates here of his life and career in the Third Reich, first as Hitler's architect, and later as the Minister for Armaments and War Production (1942-1945) is gripping and compelling. You get a real, tangible sense of what the people (e.g. Goering, Hess, Himmler, Goebbels, Bormann, etc.) were like who played key roles in Nazi Germany.
This memoir does not read like a dry retelling of historical events. You feel yourself a witness to an unfolding drama of deceit, treachery, genocide, and war in the heart of the Third Reich. All of these events may seem incredible as Speer describes them. But they happened, and in reading "INSIDE THE THIRD REICH", you see how it was that Germany was led down the path to destruction by its political leadership.
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Format: Paperback
During a reading week in my first year at college, when the dorms were empty and I had nothing to do, I took my laptop to the bottom floor of the library and tucked myself away in the most cut-off, cluttered, quiet corner to work on some papers. I had discovered that the secret to high marks on the essays for one of my professors was to use the thickest, most daunting books for my research. He liked seeing those monster tomes showing up in our bibliographies. So, after I had settled into my spot in the silent, deserted library I found the section relevant to my paper and began searching for the thickest books I could find.

At some point my eye wandered away from my section and spotted a huge black volume with a swastika on the side. I pulled it out and read the cover; 'The memoirs of Albert Speer.'

"Albert Speer," I thought. "Wasn't he Hitler's architect?" And sure enough, he was. I knelt down on the floor and read the first page. It was fascinating. So I read a little more, until I had finished the first chapter. My knees were getting tired, and I was losing circulation to my feet, so I pulled up a little stool and sat down. I held the book in my hands and held my hands up by propping my elbows on my knees. I read the second chapter. And the third.

Then I flipped forward to the illustrations in the middle. They were magnificent. I was completely enthralled.

'Inside the Third Reich' was full of madness and power. But it was written by someone whose mind was clear. It was written by the man who designed the gas chambers in Auschwitz; but whom somehow people still consider "the good nazi." A man who was close personal friends with Adolf Hitler.
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