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Extended Audio Sample The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany Audiobook, by William L. Shirer Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00004326382279 out of 54.00004326382279 out of 54.00004326382279 out of 54.00004326382279 out of 54.00004326382279 out of 5 4.00 (23,114 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William L. Shirer Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2010 ISBN: 9781455197262
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Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the twentieth century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

Now, years after the end of World War II, it may seem incredible that our most valued institutions, and way of life, were threatened by the menace that Hitler and the Third Reich represented. Shirer’s description of events and the cast of characters who played such pivotal roles in defining the course Europe was to take is unforgettable.

Benefiting from his many years as a reporter, and thus a personal observer of the rise of Nazi Germany, and availing himself of some of the 485 tons of documents from the German Foreign Office, as well as countless other diaries, phone transcriptions, and other written records, meticulously kept at every level by the Germans, Shirer has put together a brutally objective account of how Hitler wrested political control of Germany, and planned and executed his six-year quest to dominate the world, only to see Germany go down in flames. 

Although 1600 pages long, this is such a richly rewarding experience for anyone who wants to come to grips with the mysterious question of how this menace to civilization ever came into being, much less was sustained for as long as it was. The answer, unfortunately, is that most of Germany, for a whole host of reasons, embraced Nazism and the fanaticism that Hitler engendered.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A monumental work, a grisly and thrilling story.”

    Theodore H. White, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “One of the most spectacular stories ever told.”

    John Gunther, American journalist

  • “A splendid work of scholarship, objective in method, sound in judgment, inescapable in its conclusions.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “One of the most important works of history of our time.”

    New York Times

  • “Expertly performed by narrator Grover Gardner. Gardner makes Shirer’s thoroughly detailed text approachable through his seamless performance and fluid pacing…The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is an epic historical text that now achieves a place of importance in the annals of the audiobook world. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of the Carey-Thomas Award for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 1960 Cornelius Ryan Award
  • Winner of the 1961 National Book Award for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award, February 2011

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 06saiger | 2/16/2014

    " It was very interesting but one of the thickest books I've read, so I have no idea how I finished this "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ebookwormy | 2/15/2014

    " An intriguing historical account, packed with details. Learned a lot about German history and governance structure. Includes many political fine points, illustrating how Hitler was able to manipulate others and eliminate threats (including previous supporters). Ends with Hitler's despirate attempts to continue pursuing the mirage he created, even as it was evaporating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Snow | 2/11/2014

    " I read this in my 20's, Shirer's work is must read for every young person so they can recognize and stop the next madman. If you have ever asked the question; "Can history teach lessons?" Then this is the book to read. Millions died because of one man's sick dream that infected the minds of people who were looking for a savior and found a malevolent figure who destroyed everything he touched. This is not an easy read... but a necessary one! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie | 2/11/2014

    " I really need to read this again. I was awfully young. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim Jonah | 2/2/2014

    " An excellent book. A huge eye opener. This should be required reading for all students! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mina Adel | 1/31/2014

    " i think i can know all things about nazi "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elias Asmar | 1/27/2014

    " this book is amazing it talks about the civil war and how the german concered and fought throug war "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Cruthirds | 1/21/2014

    " Shirer was an American journalist who lived in Nazi Germany until Hitler expelled all foreign reporters. He knew Hitler's older half-brother who owned a bar in Berlin. He was an eyewitness to many of the events described in the book. This is a very readable yet detailed account of Hitler and his improbable rise to power and a great history of World War Two. If only England and France had stood up to Hitler before 1939! Shirer mentions that after England convinced the Czech government to capitulate in 1938, the German generals who examined the Czech defenses concluded that an invasion of Czechoslovakia would have been very difficult and costly to the Wehrmacht. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ben Robarge | 1/19/2014

    " Very dry not much to the book but facts or it could be that i was just too young to truley understand everything in the book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Saikat Basu | 1/18/2014

    " Literally, a history of The Second World War. A fascinating account. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Larry Jordan | 1/10/2014

    " One the most comprehensive and important books on WW2. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Will | 1/8/2014

    " Meh. I study sociology...not history. Worth a read I guess. Some problematic views of the social landscape that allowed fascism to arise, lots of talk of "evil" without taking into account the social factors which lead to dehumanization, creation of others, etc. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kier O'Neil | 11/17/2013

    " Very intriguing. I am finding a strong correlation between the rise of the Nazi's and the Republican party of the past ten years. "

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

    " It was a very detailed book with lots of key events, it could have been shorter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arsen Zahray | 10/18/2013

    " this certainly makes for a worthwhile read, fascinating at some times, lengthy at others. I'll keep thinking about this for some time now "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann Martin | 10/9/2013

    " A most informative read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rick Beyer | 9/23/2013

    " Still one of the best overview's of Hitler's rise to power...astonishing in scope, if a bit narrow in view "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pooriya | 5/12/2013

    " you can know every thing about WWII out of this book ;how it starts and how ends and about famous battles such az stalingrad and zigfird and etc but there is some bad points in this book which makes you to resolve mistake so be careful when you read it winer never tell whole truths "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Efrain Guzman-Rosario | 4/20/2013

    " Read this during my Junior High School years "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maryregina | 2/17/2013

    " I read this some time ago but I thought it was excellent portrait of the architect of the Third Reich and how he supplier the German War machine to bring about their early success, the first several chapters were pretty techical but persist and you will see a great story, "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 12/12/2012

    " I read this right after I returned from living in Vienna. Schindler's List came out as I was reading the book. It's so comprehensive and dense with facts about what happened. Not an easy read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt Burr | 11/6/2012

    " Definitive. Penetrating. Thucydides for the third reich. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 5/10/2012

    " EPIC. Almost like being there reading the story in the daily news. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 CJ | 4/28/2012

    " Fascinating front-row seat through a journalist's eyes--not a historian, but a writer who saw it as it happened. Interesting insight into the Mussolini/Hitler relationship. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave Ginger | 3/8/2012

    " Listened to the audio book (took a few months of trips to/from work to get through all 55 hours)...found it to be very well-researched and informative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alan | 8/10/2011

    " This novel was the first one read after college. The characters are deep and one really comes away with a basic understanding of Nazi Germany. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rea | 5/21/2011

    " 1356 Boeiende bladsye. Praat van 'n dikke! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ninad | 5/10/2011

    " One of the best book on second world war!!!!
    gives nice look on hitler's journey....**** "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Georgia | 5/9/2011

    " A must read for WWII history buffs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 5/9/2011

    " An excellent book. A huge eye opener. This should be required reading for all students! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thom | 5/9/2011

    " Crammed full of facts, it traces the Third Reich from its violent beginnings to its bitter end. The book related everything without comment or emotion. It lacked the human perspective that is necessary in relating the true tragedy of war (particularly World War II). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Summisse | 5/2/2011

    " The definitive work on the Third Reich. Brilliantly written and researched by a journalist that was in Nazi Germany. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phil | 4/28/2011

    " Perpetually reading, may take a while for me to finish "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 4/15/2011

    " This reads like a much more contemporary (can one be more contemporary?) book. It's immediacy to the vents gives it a weight a lot of history book are missing. And the voice is so 50's with no psychoanalization of the motives and reactions, just a straightforward and logical explanation. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ben | 4/4/2011

    " Very dry not much to the book but facts or it could be that i was just too young to truley understand everything in the book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Simon | 3/27/2011

    " I've seen too many documentaries on the third reich on the history channel to make this book worth completing. It is nevertheless a classic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Indiescribe | 3/17/2011

    " Literally, a history of The Second World War. A fascinating account. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leann | 3/11/2011

    " Very illuminating, and hugely disturbing. Well written but a very very long read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 3/4/2011

    " Exhaustive account. Informative and infuriating. Hindsight is a terrible burden sometimes, but why, oh why, did people continue to believe--against all evidence--in such a chronic liar and insane person? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suby | 2/26/2011

    " An absorbing account. Particularly the chapter on the Holocaust. "

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About the Author
Author William L. Shirer

William L. Shirer (1904–1993) was a foreign correspondent, news commentator, and historian. He reported from Berlin on the rise of the Nazis and covered their fall as a war correspondent. Out of these reports grew his bestsellers, Berlin Diary and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.