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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

4.4 151
by William L. Shirer, Ron Rosenbaum (Introduction)

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Hailed as “one of the most important works of history of our time” (The New York Times), this definitive chronicle of Hitler’s rise to power is back in hardcover with a new introductory essay by Ron Rosenbaum (Explaining Hitler and How the End Begins) commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of its National Book Award win.


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Rise and Fall of the Third Reich 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 147 reviews.
KBP More than 1 year ago
The Nook version of this great books IS NOT the 50th anniversary edition as pictured and advertised. It is the Rosetta Books version of a couple of years ago. It does not have the new forward by Ron Rosenbaum nor any of the other additional content.
Azpooldude More than 1 year ago
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William Shirer, is without question The, most informative, well written account of the years from Hitler's birth until the end of World War Two in May of 1945, that I have ever read. This is the "Grand-Daddy" of them all, a must read for those interested in learning about this unforgettable time is world history. First released in 1959, this book is still readily available, half a century later, in all major book stores. A massive book, my paperback copy is 1,596 pages,(some of this books chapter's would be the subject of whole books written by other authors)is a surprisingly very fast read. Many have commented that it was so interesting, they could not put it down. Others have said that they read it straight through-I can see why. Starting from the birth of Adolph Hitler, until the end of the Third Reich, William Shirer shares his actual experiences during the years, 1934-1940, where he was an American correspondent for CBS News and was regarded as one of the most respected U.S. journalist in wartime Europe. We are treated to first hand accounts of life in the Nazis Germany by Mr. Shirer, who had the opportunity to meet with many of the Hitler's inner circle, to include Goering and Dr. Goebbels, attended the Nazis rallies in Nuremberg and was present during many important events. He also was the reporter to scoop the French surrender to the Nazis in 1940. Besides living in Europe, Mr. Shirer offers numerous footnotes, personal journal entries from Hitler's generals and actual testimonies from the Nuremberg War Trails in 1946, that add incredible historical facts to the book. Much of the material was captured by the Allies after the war and made available to archivist and researchers. Of interest is how William Shirer managed to smuggle out his notes and papers, as he fled Nazi Germany during the hight of the war to return home to America, is a story in itself. In the book, the Nazis rise to power, and all its key players, the appeasement of Neville Chamberlain, and Hitler's lies to annex Czechoslovakia and other countries leading up to the beginning of the war are explained to the fullest. How the United Stated got involved in the war and Hitler's use of Mussolini and Japan are quite astonishing. Everything about the war is covered, from Russia to the Baltic, to the war in the Atlantic to North Africa and how the fast moving German Army was finally slowed down and eventually stopped. Be warned that many of the Nazis atrocities are explained in detail to complete the full picture of this horrid nightmare in human history. The later part of the book gives the final account of the Reich and how its lunatic dictator and his loyal followers, still thought that the war could be won. Unknown to many is that when the Nazis realized that the war was lost, they thought they could enter into a pact with the West to defeat the hated Russians, unaware that the Allies had already agreed amongst themselves that an unconditional surrender was the only way to end the war. The final days and collapse of the Third Reich, the death of Hitler and his henchmen, is well documented as well. There is too much to comment on in a short review, but this book deserves a place on every bookshelf. A shocking story, that needs to be told and retold over and over ,hence history should not repeat itself. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a true classic. Robert Glasker
Blackville More than 1 year ago
I'm not a fast reader and I dove into the nearly 1,200-page tome with the understanding that I would probably devote the next month or two to the quest of gaining a much fuller understanding of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. I thought it would be worth the effort and I was right. William Shirer's engrossing narrative provides a virtual "everything you ever wanted to know" about the Third Reich from the vantage point of someone who was actually there! A few reviewers have carped about his tendancy toward journalistic license at the expense of academic research, but I was able to overlook this in much the same way that I got past the same criticisms while reading Shelby Foote's wonderful three-volume account of The Civil War. Dry historic research is okay for dry historic researchers. But, most popular writers are going to have some sort of bias, and Shirer can't avoid his need to remind us that frequently the Nazis were really BAD people and did really BAD things. This I do not mind .. I appreciate it in fact.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shirer does a masterful job of explaining some of the reasoning behind the emergence of a tyrant like Hitler. Please bear in mind that this book is nearly 1200 pages long, but that the chronology of WW2 does not start until the book is halfway through! However, this is the beauty of Shirer's narrative: he realizes the importance of explaining WHY events came to be. He has the heart of a true historian - to have an understanding of events that lead up to a watershed moment... Shirer's read on the Battle at Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, the intervention of the US in the war, Hitler's constant head games with his generals - the events are revealed in, at times, painstaking detail, yet they shed light in a unique way... Shirer was THERE - US news correspondent in Germany - during those years when Nazism seemed an unstoppable force (1933-1940). He heard many of Hitler's hypnotic speeches to the German multitude first hand. What better witness to those times than he? This book can provide the reader a comprehensive view of the events in Europe during the years 1933-1945. If you've an interest in reading what the pulse of Europe was like in and around September, 1939 - read this book.
avidscribe More than 1 year ago
This is a comment on this 50th Ann. Reprint of this book. I bought this book from Book of the Month Club 50 years ago and eventually donated my copy to my local public library. I decided to check out the latest edition and had heard questionable comments about the eBook edition so I opted for the paperback version instead. My complaint is that in the original 50 year-old copy . . . there were many photographs. In this watered down ann. edition there is NOT ONE SINGLE PICTURE OR MAP reproduced. I'm sure Simon & Schuster have enough money in the bank to afford to include ALL of the information from the original edition. A VERY DISAPPOINTED CUSTOMER!!!!!!!!!!!!! I should have kept my copy . . . .
murdocksdad More than 1 year ago
Love this book, so much to learn about such an interesting and scary time in our history. Well written, I love this book!
Teacher_Grant More than 1 year ago
William Shirer's Rise and Fall remains the very best book on the genre of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Shirer very meticulously studied, witnessed and described in lurid detail the history of Nazi Germany. For any student of World War II history or for someone writing a report, this book is an absolute MUST.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The most terrifying and illuminating book I've ever read - don't let the length scare you away! I couldn't put it down and I'm now reading it for the second time. Listening to conservative talk radio after reading this book really gives me the creeps - I wish they'd read this before promoting 1. the end of judicial independence 2. a more pro-state press and 3. a more nationalist platform in acadamia!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What does one say about a classic like this? Shirer was one of the most prominent and famous journalists of his day. An excellent writer, this man reported on-the-scene from Germany as the world-shaking events described here took place. So, this book reads as good as any other history of Nazi Germany. But, fifty years have gone by. What does it matter? A great deal. By now, almost all the archives of the nations involved in this struggle have been released. Shirer had access to none of these. The first set of documents was released in the 1970s, but that was nothing compared to what came after the end of the Cold War, in the 1990s. If all you want is history as an exciting story and a great read, this book will do. And I do agree that it is so well-written that you can't put it down (I first read it when it appeared in 1960-1970). But, why be satisfied with this, when you can read any of at least twenty comparable histories, each of which is replete with the kind of detail and analysis that is missing here? You want length and completeness? Try Richard Evans's three-volume "The Coming of the Third Reich" etc. You want state-of-the-art academic studies? Try Peter Longerich's "Holocaust" or Christopher Browning's "The Origins of the Final Solution." There is even something to be said for briefer accounts; look at Deborah Dwork's "Holocaust," a superb introduction, in four hundred pages, and filled with the kind of thing totally unavailable when Shirer wrote: Excerpts from gripping contemporary personal diaries, long-classified documents and transcripts from many of the governments, and photographs that only came to light in the last decade. I hate to criticize such a well-written work, but you really can do better, and just as interesting. If you want to sample Shirer, try his "Berlin Diary," published while these events were occurring, and even his three-volume autobiography, "Twentieth Century Journey."
svsu More than 1 year ago
This book is simply the best read on Hitlers Germany from 1933-1945. I first read this book in 1982. I plan on buying the ebook. It was first published in 1960.
RCK More than 1 year ago
I found the book to be excellent in giving an overall picture of Hitler's rise and fall. It is thoroughly documented which allows the reader to delve deeper into the subject if he or she wants to. Although originally criticized for being a history book written by a reporter, and not a historian, it has withstood the test of time and would make an excellent resource for any historian. It is also an easy read for the non-historian who wants to become familiar with the Nazi era. The book also is very relevant to our time, especially Hitler's rise. It shows democracy's greatest enemy and weakness is people's lack of faith in democracy. No one in the Wiemar Republic believed in a deomcractic republic. They either wanted Soviet style communism or the return of the Hapsburg monarchy. The book also shows that Hitler's greatest weapon in dealing with other countries was fear. Great Britain and France were afraid of another war with Germany like World War I so they tried to appease Hitler. The book shows that if Great Britain and France simply enforced the Treaty of Versailles World War II would not have occurred and Hitler would have been easily disposed of. My one criticism of this book is that it has no pictures or maps or charts. Pictures and charts would help keep track of who the less famous characters were. Maps would help in seeing where the fighting was going on, where the concentration camps were, how much territory was conquered, etc.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Captures your attention from page one. Definitely a great read would recommend it. I read more fiction than non-fiction but this book is worth putting some of my mystery novels on hold!
Beirut768 More than 1 year ago
The late William Shirer left us one of the very few sober accounts written about Hitler and Nazi Germany.
The credence of this book lays in the fact that the author lived in Germany, witnessed and felt the pulse of the WWII events.
We do not see many silly `labelling' of Adolph Hitler `the mad man', his `illegitimate father'. Or Hitler loitering the street of Vienna `roaming on his face', having failed his exams at National Art Academy, deciding to avenge from Austria `to vindicate his honour'.

In this book we can learn the early events that led to WWII.
We can see how Churchill's reticence to respond to many peace overtures Hitler offered in 1939 and after - when the British and French leaders were fighting much among themselves - hampered the quest for reconciliation.

Shirer spoke the language and mixed with the German people, he ate with them, rode their buses, listened to their radio, read their newspapers, and what is appreciable though is nowhere in the book one can see accusations that Hitler was a world threat - no wonder why the author was blacklisted in the early fifties for his daring and open-minded views.

Shirer couldn't have possibly seen how Paul Reynaud, the French Premier, listened to his mistress - Madame Helene de Portes - to sign the armistice with Germany at the time Churchill was equivocal with his promises to help France when Roosevelt was unprepared.
Shirer wrote on Page 740 "Hitler was determined above all not to allow the French Fleet to fall into the hands of the British"........."the armistice terms were designed to keep a French government functioning on French soil, and the French Fleet neutralized"... Whereas Churchill had aimed at getting the fleet scuttled because he was not sure the French were able to fight from North Africa, and sending the fleet to British waters would have been a liability on GB. Churchill would be held responsible for French towns destruction from the German air raids `as long as Britain held the French fleet'.

This is a great book to read, and a must read by scholars....
Guest More than 1 year ago
By far the best book i've ever read and i plan on reading it again soon. It's amazing how much detail Shirer goes in to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book for senior and Junior high students. Not just them but adults to. This Novel includes many great facts about Hitler and the Rise of Nazi Germany. It also includes many interesting facts about his child hood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read the entire book twice- word to word- and have never quite come across any work that is more lucid in covering the second worldwar this comprehensively. Though we have the History channel doing quite a good job depicting footages of Hitler's ruffians at work during the war it has nothing to show on prewar details of Hitler or the reasons that lead to the war. That is where this book comes into picture, it traces Hitler's family back to his Grandma, depicts his youth and his life in Vienna, his joining the Nazi party and then sequence of events that lead him to be installed as the Chancellor of Germany, the Nazification of Germany and then the sequence of events that fuelled the world war. Coverage of the genocide of the Jews and the Balkans has been carried very comprehensively. Details of the final communiations between Hitler and his commanders from the Feurhers bunker has always been very fascinating to me, I find it incredible that this author has been able to present such details of transactions at those times. In all a must read for everyone to understand the reasons that lead to the war and the sequences of Nazification of Germany.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is true to itself in that it starts way back in the 1920's and goes through the Nuremberg Trials. It doesn't go into much detail as to the actual battles, but rather stays at a high level for those. Mostly it deals with the social issues, politics and actions of the Nazi Party. There are some sections that are tough to read without wondering how humans can shut off their emotions and do the kind of things described. Everything is heavily footnoted and those are almost another book unto itself. My only complaints are some of the author's overuse of derogatory words to slam many people he is describing. It isn't that the terms aren't necessarily false, it just diminishes the passage, for me anyway, into name calling. The hardback is huge and HEAVY. While reading in bed, be sure to put it down if you are starting to nod off. This book will wake you up if you drop it, especially on you nose! Of course, that is one of the advantages of the Nook Book. Although I found the links to more content really hard to navigate back. It would sometimes not work and other times take me somewhere else entirely from where I had come from. I advise remembering the page, just in case. I still go back to sections from time to time. I find it amazing that Hitler and his group could get away with so much. However, all I have to do is look at today's news to see what Russia, North Korea, China, etc. get away with and wonder if we even learned any lessons. I would give it 4.5, but since I can't it gets 4.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had, for some time, wished to read about WW2 specifically to understand the facts about what happened and to get a feel for the mindset of the Nazis and why they did what they did. This book not only answered my questions but did so with an interesting storyline that read like a novel. The author was there and captured the details of the progression better than anyone else could have possibly done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A powerful and compelling book. A must-read for anyone curious about the rise of Nazi Germany.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read. Gives a great view into the treachery of Hitler and the Third Riech.
Cheryl44CP More than 1 year ago
If you want to begin to understand 20th Century history you have to read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone interested in how for people can be led off track by a magnetic personality
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a classic. Nook edition great. Everyone should read this so it never happens again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent book for both research purposes and for enjoyment. Anyone interested in the Second World War will find this book impossible to put down. William L. Shirer is the ultimate author on this aspect of German history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shirer presents an enjoyable book, with fantastic supporting documents, on the events and negotiations during the events of WWII.