Download The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945 Audiobook

The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitlers Germany, 1944-1945 Audiobook, by Ian Kershaw Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Ian Kershaw Narrator: Sean Pratt, Lloyd James Publisher: Recorded Books: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2011 ISBN: 9781596599734
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (499 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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From the preeminent Hitler biographer, a fascinating and original exploration of how the Third Reich was willing and able to fight to the bitter end of World War II. Countless books have been written about why Nazi Germany lost World War II, yet remarkably little attention has been paid to the equally vital question of how and why it was able to hold out as long as it did. The Third Reich did not surrender until Germany had been left in ruins and almost completely occupied. Even in the near-apocalyptic final months, when the war was plainly lost, the Nazis refused to sue for peace. Historically, this is extremely rare. Drawing on original testimony from ordinary Germans and arch-Nazis alike, award-winning historian Ian Kershaw explores this fascinating question in a gripping and focused narrative that begins with the failed bomb plot in July 1944 and ends with the German capitulation in May 1945. Hitler, desperate to avoid a repeat of the "disgraceful" German surrender in 1918, was of course critical to the Third Reich's fanatical determination, but his power was sustained only because those below him were unable, or unwilling, to challenge it. Even as the military situation grew increasingly hopeless, Wehrmacht generals fought on, their orders largely obeyed, and the regime continued its ruthless persecution of Jews, prisoners, and foreign workers. Beneath the hail of allied bombing, German society maintained some semblance of normalcy in the very last months of the war. The Berlin Philharmonic even performed on April 12, 1945, less than three weeks before Hitler's suicide. As Kershaw shows, the structure of Hitler's "charismatic rule" created a powerful negative bond between him and the Nazi leadership- they had no future without him, and so their fates were inextricably tied. Terror also helped the Third Reich maintain its grip on power as the regime began to wage war not only on its ideologically defined enemies but also on the German people themselves. Yet even as each month brought fresh horrors for civilians, popular support for the regime remained linked to a patriotic support of Germany and a terrible fear of the enemy closing in. Based on prodigious new research, Kershaw's The End is a harrowing yet enthralling portrait of the Third Reich in its last desperate gasps. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Powerful…harrowing…No one has written a better account of the human dimensions of Nazi Germany’s end.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Arguably the most convincing portrait of Germany’s Götterdämmerung we have seen so far.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Ian Kershaw…has produced more than a history. Rather, he has performed a detailed anatomy of the conclusion of World War II in Europe…The book is a compelling read, far from pleasant, but superbly written, fascinating, and immensely informative.”

    Washington Times

  • “A compelling and horrifying look at the final months of World War II…Sir Ian has brought out yet another absolutely first-class work of Nazi history…brilliant deductive analysis.”

    Daily Beast

  • “Kershaw…is unsurpassed as an analyst of the Third Reich’s inner dynamics…Kershaw’s comprehensive research, measured prose, and commonsense insight combine in a mesmerizing explanation of how and why Nazi Germany chose self-annihilation.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Kershaw describes in fascinating detail…Some of Kershaw’s conclusions will be hotly debated. Nevertheless, this is an excellent portrait of the regime’s death throes.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Kershaw explains in impressive detail the factors that enabled the Germans to keep fighting…An essential work by a distinguished historian.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • A New York Times bestseller

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 2/19/2014

    " Another excellent set of insights into WW2 by Ian Kershaw. His focus just on the last 10 months of the regime really throws light on the key drivers for the descent into destruction and total anhilation of Germany, and not just at the senior party level. He clearly invokes the sense of fear experienced by all those suffering in that time, from the Jews to the foreign workers, and the masses of refugees fleeing from the marauding Red Army. While theories will continue to abound as to why the regime lasted as long as it did, Kershaw deftly provides solid reasoning beyond just the cult of Hitler about why so many died in vain in the last few months of this horror. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Riet | 2/18/2014

    " De schrijver probeert in dit boek uit te leggen waarom de Duitsers aan het eind van de 2de wereldoorlog nog zo lang zijn doorgegaan, ondanks dat ieder normaal denkend mens kon zien, dat er niets meer te winnen viel. Hij slaagt daar m.i. goed in. Hij weet toch weer veel zaken naar voren te brengen, die relatief onbekend waren en laat goed zien waarop al dat fanatisme was gebaseeerd. In het huidige Duitsland kan je dit beeld van Duitsland in 1944 - 1945 totaal niet meer herkennen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Domenic | 2/6/2014

    " Excellent read exploring a little-considered (at least in my limited experience) facet of WW2 / Nazi Germany history. It was a bit frustrating at first to read the author's caveats on his inferences of what people were thinking, but it actually reinforces the understanding of the complete terror that was the Nazi regime. Also interesting along the way was to see how the regime did have a consideration for what popular opinion was, even while they were unleashing terror upon their own people. In the end a truly mind-numbing account of the depths of Nazi depravity, and also an excellent revelation of the incompetency and venality of political partisans. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 1/24/2014

    " Excellent book - slow read, detailed - good discussion about the last year of so of WW2 in Germany. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alan | 1/18/2014

    " A great disappointment. Two interesting questions made me buy the book- Why did the Germans carry on fighting when all was lost? Why did civillian life continue until the end? But Kershaw seemed to have found the answers almost immediatly and so told the story of the final year of the war instead- which he said he wouldn't. In itself that is a fine read but most will have already read it. So why did the Germans fight on?- simply Germans were afraid of the Bolsheviks either because they were in the party or because they believed the party line. They fought on the west because (well they could hardly not) and for some they wanted to change the allies mind and get them to help fight the Russians. Also everyone was afraid of Hitler though the book rarely explains why because Hitler seemed to leave the other political leaders almost entirely to their own devices and even the generals are rarely punished with more than a removal of post. A great tale but nothing new in this book. Stalingrad and Berlin are better reads if you want histroy of the eastern front, Alone in Berlin is a better book if you want to understand German civillian action. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ed | 1/10/2014

    " Very in depth history of what went on behind the scenes and how things fell apart for the Nazi regime. Very good read if your into the second World War "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 12/16/2013

    " A fascinating and nuanced look at the way the Third Reich crumbled under the blows of the Allies. Kershaw gives a succinct and gripping account of the bickering that filled the ranks of the Nazi Party in its last days. The only question I have is how they managed to survive as long as they did. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Glenn | 12/4/2013

    " Good read, but a bit repetitive and it did not entirely deliver on it's premise. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christoph | 11/30/2013

    " "The End" by Ian Kershaw is a solidly researched book and a great piece of history writing, no doubt. After having seen "The World at War" I found however little new information in the book and was slightly disappointed at the few conclusions the book drew from its research. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martinxo | 1/19/2013

    " Superb historical account of the madness of Hitler and the Nazis in the closing year of the second world war "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ramsey | 12/17/2012

    " A well argued, academic study of the dying months of the Third Reich. A nice supplement to Richard Evans's The Third Reich at War. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin | 10/24/2012

    " Superb as always from Kershaw. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 6/29/2012

    " Meticulous look at the demise of Nazi Germany... and why it took so long. Primarily for history buffs, but full of intriguing glimpses of how a nation could just keep marching in lockstep towards destruction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 6/15/2012

    " Germany was fighting on two fronts and out numbered by men and arsenals. Why did they keep fighting to complete destruction. Kershaw examines the mentality that kept the fighting going beyond all reason. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 False | 4/2/2012

    " One of the preeminent contemporary Hitler biographers. Why did Germany persist in fighting a lost war? There is no one answer. Kershaw explores the possibilities, noting the heavy toll that mindset took on it's country...and lives lost. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 3/21/2012

    " 400 pages focusing on one year of WW2 turned out to be extremely fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mikee | 12/20/2011

    " The final volume of Kershaw's most excellent history of WWII. It tries to answer the question of how (& why) Germany held it together to the bitter end, and kept fighting when there was no reason. "

About the Author

Ian Kershaw is the author of several books, including Fateful Choices; Making Friends with Hitler, which won the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography; and the definitive two-volume biography of Hitler, Hitler 1889–1936: Hubris and Hitler 1936–1945: Nemesis. The first volume was shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography Award and the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction, and the second volume won the Wolfson Literary Award for History and the inaugural British Academy Prize.

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.