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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by [Shirer, William L.]
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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 211 customer reviews

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"A splendid work of scholarship, objective in method, sound in judgment, inescapable in its conclusions" The New York Times Book Review "A work which everyone should read" -- Hugh Trevor-Roper, historian and author of The Last Days of Hitler

Product Description

When the Third Reich fell, it fell swiftly. The Nazis had little time to cover up their memos, their letters, or their diaries. William L. Shirer's definitive book on the Third Reich uses these unique sources. Combined with his personal experience with the Nazis, living through the war as an international correspondent, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich not only earned Shirer a National Book Award but is recognized as one of the most important and authoritative books about the Third Reich and Nazi Germany ever written. The diaries of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels as well as evidence and other testimony gained at the Nuremberg Trials could not have found more artful hands.

Shirer gives a clear, detailed and well-documented account of how it was that Adolf Hitler almost succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich has become one of the most authoritative books on one of mankind's darkest hours. Shirer focuses on 1933 to 1945 in clear detail. Here is a worldwide bestseller that also tells the true story of the Holocaust, often in the words of the men who helped plan and conduct it. It is a classic by any measure.

The book has been translated into twelve languages and was adapted as a television miniseries, broadcast by ABC in 1968. This first ever e-book edition is published on the 50th anniversary of this iconic work.


William Shirer was originally a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and was the first journalist hired by Edward R. Murrow for what would become a team of journalists for CBS radio. Shirer distinguished himself and quickly became known for his broadcasts from Berlin, accounting the rise of the Nazi dictatorship through the first year of World War II. Shirer was the first of "Edward R. Murrow's Boys"--broadcast journalists--who provided news coverage during World War II and afterward. It was Shirer who broadcast the first uncensored eyewitness account of the annexation of Austria. Shirer is best known for his books The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which has seen millions of copies in print and is considered a seminal work on the Nazi party and the war, as well as his book Berlin Diary.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4321 KB
  • Print Length: 1264 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (Oct. 21 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005Z57E18
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 211 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,822 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Excellent, and if you are interested in Nazi Germany, then a must-read. Pretty long, but very readable. (It's quite obvious the author was a journalist and knew something about putting readable prose together.
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Format: Paperback
On the very eve of the birth of the Third Reich a feverish tension gripped Berlin . . . Wow! what a great first sentence! Having read this book almost thirty years ago, it still remains the best and most complete history of the Third Reich I have read. Shires purpose is not merely to describe the events that led up to the founding of the Reich and its eventual destruction; but to discover and document the intrigues, treachery, motives and aberrations that precipitated its rise and fall.
I will let others review the history and critique Shire on his research, I would like to comment on the beauty of his prose as he describes what must be the most hellish and destructive state that has existed. Historians have the tendency to be dull, they get so caught up in explaining facts and documenting the movement of armies across strange and foreign landscapes, that the reader tends to get lost in a maze of statistics, foreign names, and seemingly insignificant details. Shire avoids this common pitfall. For instance, after quoting from a German generals diary which described Hitlers intentions in occupied Poland, Shire describes the Nazi intentions in vivid prose. . . Nazi terror. . . forerunner to dark and terrible deeds. . . Nazi barbarism reached an incredible depth. Although Shire, in the introduction of this book made the assertion of strict objectivity, he did not let his objectivity hide the awfulness of Nazi atrocities.
Although well written, it is not an easy book to read. Its sheer length of over 1100 pages may be daunting to the faint of heart; yet, if you are not familiar with the Third Reich and want to have an understanding of the people whom were instrumental in its raise and fall, no other book will give you better oversight and understanding of it than The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I have very ambiguous feelings about this book. On the one hand, it is diligently researched and full of detail; on the other it is a highly biased book which is a product of its time. I found some of its conclusions especially about Hitler's associations with 'sexual deviants' (homosexuals) as a sign of his poor character laughable. There are several other mentions which makes a modern reader raise an eyebrow for it's shocking (to today's sensibilities) views. I think that that author's foreword - which is essentially a preemptive attempt to defend his work - has proven to be flawed as much of this book shows bias. The author didn't even pretend to be impartial and colored every account with his own perception of events which is tough to read in an what attempts to be a historical record. Sometimes, the narrative is so colored that it starts to feel more like fiction which hurts the book's credibility. That being said, reading the book makes for an interesting sociological review as many of the views provided by the author would be viewed as offensive today. I recommend this book as much for it's historical narrative as much as the study of a point of view of a bygone era. I would love to see a modern historian attempt to re-create this work with the benefits of both hindsight as well as modern viewpoint. While I understand that WWII histories aren't exactly hard to find; I haven't found a book as exhaustive as this one.
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Format: Paperback
Lest anyone mistake the three star rating for rejection or dislike, let me say up front that Shirer's monumental work is absolutely informative, eye-opening, and, as so many reviewers have said, probaby *should* be read by just about everybody, not just those with an interest in World War Two.
That being said, there are some criticisms to be had. First is the length. I have nothing against 1000+ page books per se. Shirer's work, however, could have been several hundred pages shorter but for his near obsessiveness toward recording every detail. The days leading up to the invasion of Poland, for example, are told almost in "real time." Second is the complete lack of maps. There is very little more frustrating than to be bombarded with place names and to have only a rough idea of where these places are. Third is the lack of focus on the Germans themselves, especially once the war starts.
Some parts of this book do stand out. Shirer's two chapters on life in Nazi Germany and the occupied countries are both gripping and horrifying. Shirer's forays into his own recollections are also welcome diversions from the endless barrage of Nazi documents, memoranda, and diaries and are, perhaps, the best parts of the entire work. And Shirer's account of the Nazi party's rise is fascinating reading, and shows that, indeed, Hitler and Stalin had more in common than one would have thought.
All in all, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a worthwhile read. It is not great "literature" in the sense that Gibbon or Will Durant are (contrary to what some others have suggested), but it is an investment in time and attention that will pay off for the reader.
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Format: Paperback
First published in 1960, Shirer's work was reviewed by historian Hugh Trevor-Roper in the Sunday New York Times Book Review. The reviewer lauded the effort of capturing the complexity and breadth of the subject so soon after events, "In ordinary circumstances it would be impossible, only half a generation after its write its history." The fact is Shirer set the narrative and wrote the blueprint for all the histories on Nazi Germany that followed. Those since written are measured against his account.

The book is divided equally between the Nazis rise to power and the war. The twelve years of the promised one thousand year Reich "outdid all the savage oppressions of the previous ages". Shirer sat in an unique seat for a great deal of this being a journalist based in Germany and this serves the first half of the book extremely well. He reminds us that the Nazis persecuted Christian churches and burned the works of Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Erich Maria Remarque, and Albert Einstein. And his account of Jewish persecution and The Final Solution are stark and visceral.

This was my second time reading the book and I discovered more for the effort. I was surprised that the government previous to the Nazis was already disobeying the Versailles Treaty by secretly building submarines. Other points of interest include the Danish navy never firing a shot at invading forces suggesting some conspiracy, the courage of the Dutch army, his analysis of Mein Kampf book sales is telling, and how being sidetracked in Yugoslavia and Greece may have doomed the Nazis in Russia. He makes the point that conquering Russia was predicated on internal political upheaval and the hope that Stalin would be disposed in the process.
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