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Author: Richard J. Evans Narrator: Sean Pratt, Lloyd James Publisher: Recorded Books: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781596595163
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There is no story in twentieth-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time. A masterful synthesis of a vast body of scholarly work integrated with important new research and interpretations, Evans’s history restores drama and contingency to the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis, even as it shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. The Coming of the Third Reich is a masterwork of the historian’s art and the book by which all others on the subject will be judged. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Richard J. Evans's The Coming of the Third Reich is an enormous work of synthesis—knowledgable and reliable.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Richard J. Evans’s The Coming of the Third Reich…gives the clearest and most gripping account I've read of German life before aznd during the rise of the Nazis.”

    Times Literary Supplement

  • “Brilliant.”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] first-rate narrative history that informs and educates and may inspire readers to delve even deeper into the subject.”


  • “The generalist reader, it should be emphasized, is well served…The book reads briskly, covers all important areas—social and cultural—and succeeds in its aim of giving ‘voice to the people who lived through the years with which if deals.”

    Denver Post

  • “One finally puts down this magnificent volume thirsty, on the one hand, for the next installment in the Nazi saga yet still haunted by the questions Evan poses and so masterfully grapples with.”

    The Nation

  • “This first part of what will be Evans’ three-volume history of Hitler’s regime is the most comprehensive and convincing work so far on the gall of Weimar and Hitler’s rise to power.”

    Foreign Affairs

  • A 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for History

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 2/4/2014

    " An exhaustive series of vignettes of events post WWI that ultimately enabled the Nazi ascendancy. Not recommended for any but the most ardent readers of history, The Coming of the Third Reich is a fascinating, blow-by-blow account of all the seemingly unrelated characters and trivialities that yielded what would become WWII. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hollis | 1/19/2014

    " There are a LOT of books on Nazi Germany but this one stands out. This is only the first in a trilogy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 B | 11/15/2013

    " First of three volumes on Nazi Germany, incorporates new research, powerfully written and compelling, his interpretation is that the Weimar Republic had failed, the Kanzlers ruling by decree in the final years of the repulic, Germany was headed toward authoritarian rule (as was much of eastern Europe already). If not the Nazis, then a military dictatorship. Will probably be the definitive history of the Third Reich. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Craig | 11/10/2013

    " The book sets out in the intro to displace The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as the go-to book for the general reader. It doesn't. The older book may not be a historian's delight, but it's a great read. Evans has some interesting historical observations, but I kept putting the book down, skipping over pages due to general boredom. How can you make the Nazis boring? A clumsy, sloppy conversational prose with cut and paste organization will help. I see nothing wrong with history having a narrative and telling a story, but Evans seems bent on undermining such an approach. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie | 11/8/2013

    " This book was so good, I'm not on page 100 of the second volume, "The Third Reich in Power." What's so good about it? A few things. Of course, it adds to what I knew or was taught about the Third Reich already. But what's more interesting is how there is more to know, as well, by which I mean, there are more declassified sources and, as the events recede into the past, we can get a wider view. Evans starts his book with the terrific opening sentence, "Is it wrong to start with Bismark?" Not in this reader's view. By starting with Bismark, Evan is able to take a useful longer view than I got in history class, where the Third Reich story began after WWI. Here, it's easier to see a freshly-united Germany intent on taking its "rightful" place on the world stage, unsuccessful at the end of the first WW, and determined to try again. A new democracy unused to its freedoms, a large segment of the population fearful of Communists, a nation whose dreams of domination were dashed in 1918, a country struggling in the worldwide depression of the '30's--Evans does an excellent job of laying out these and other factors in the rise of Hitler and Nazism for this layperson's understanding. Added more depth to what I already knew; showed me much I didn't know I should know. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeffrey | 10/9/2013

    " This is the first book in Richard J Evan's Third Reich trilogy, and it is a brilliantly written, thoroughly researched, and engrossing journey through the history of Germany from the nineteenth century to 1933 when Adolf Hitler became Chancellor. Evans has a particularily unique backstory as a historian. When the so-called historian David Irving, who was a blatent Holocaust denier, sued some of his collegues for accusing him skuing historical sources to make his arguments, Richard J. Evans was asked by the court to be the expert witness for the plantiff in the case. Evans was then tasked with reading all of Irving's books, tracing back all of the sources that he was citing, and writing a memorandum for the court detailing all of the instances in which Irving skued valid historical sources in order to back up his Holocaust denying arguments. Evans then completed his task and even underwent cross examination in court, quite literally defending history, and Irving lost his defamation suit. Quickly thereafter, Evans was elavated to being regarded as one of, if not the world's leading scholar on the Third Reich, and has now presented us with this remarkable trilogy. Unlike William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, this is not a biographical study of the rise of the Nazis with Hitler as the central character, rather it is a thorough history of Germany, and how Nazi ideology weaved its way into this highly cultured, industrialized, moderan nation. Hitler doesn't even appear until page 165. In this volume, Evans takes the reader through the German unification under Bismark, the development of the underground racist volkish movement resulting from both the emancipation of Europe's Jewry coupled with the 1873 economic depression, to the Spirit of 1914, and through the shock of Germany's defeat in the First World War. Then with the stage set, Evans takes you to the southern German state of Bavaria, where the fear of the spread of Communism from the Russian revolution, merged with the rising ideolgies of the volkish movement, coupled with bitterness over Germany's loss of the war, which produced an environment of nationalist extremism and racism, perfect for the Nazi movement to grow. Evans then closes his story in 1933, with Hitler as Germany's Chancellor. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ira | 10/7/2013

    " Great Historical perspective, but more detail than I needed and could comprehend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 8/25/2013

    " Unmatched history of the takeover of Germany by the Nazis "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 5/4/2013

    " This was a good history book. Fairly antiseptic, but thoroughly readable. Nothing anecdotal. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don | 4/18/2013

    " This is an excellent history of how Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in Germany. I'm looking forward to reading the follow-up book, "The Third Reich in Power". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 João | 11/16/2012

    " Great book. It starts with the unification of Germany, which is important to show that the ideas fueling the Third Reich were present in German society long before the Nazis came to prominence and took power. A good point to start the task of understanding the greatest tragedy of the 20th century. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 8/20/2012

    " A little tough to get through all of the names and dates and places, and it gave me nightmares but very illuminating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hadrian | 5/18/2012

    " Important survey of how a society as brilliant yet troubled as Germany could succumb to the threat of Nazism. Evans believes that German militarism and economic catastrophe made an extremist takeover inevitable, with only too disastrous effects for the world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thana | 8/23/2011

    " Very good read, really learnt a lot more about how the Nazis came into being. Were all the atrocities entirely Hitler's doing? So far, he couldn't be entirely blamed for all the Nazis doings. Very eager to find out more in the next book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin | 6/25/2011

    " Excellent read. The other are great too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carl | 4/24/2011

    " First of a trilogy. This will probably be the standard reference for the history of the Nazis for years to come. Exhaustively researched. If you've ever wondered how and why the Nazis ever came to power, this provides all the answers. And to top if off -- it's totally readable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 2/23/2011

    " Detailed, long, sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 11/8/2010

    " Good, balanced overview. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kendall | 8/11/2010

    " Remarkable book. It should be read by anyone who lives in perilous times where everyone believes they have the truth and everyone else is a devil. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evan | 7/23/2010

    " I agree with Evans. You need to go back and understand the history of Germany to understand the coming of the Third Reich "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 3/24/2010

    " finally history that is readable "

About the Author

Richard J. Evans is professor of modern history at Cambridge University. He is the author of In Defense of History, Lying About Hitler, The Coming of the Third Reich, and The Third Reich in Power, among other books. He appears frequently on television and writes for a number of publications; he has also been a keynote speaker at numerous universities and academic conferences around the world.

About the Narrators

Sean Pratt, a working actor for over twenty-five years, has performed at numerous regional theaters around the country. He is the author of To Be or Wanna Be, and he has recorded over seven hundred books in just about every genre, earning eight AudioFile Earphones Awards and four Audie Award nominations.

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.