Berlin Diary

  • by William L. Shirer
  • Narrated by Tom Weiner
  • 15 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

By the acclaimed journalist and New York Times best-selling author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, this day-by-day eyewitness account of the momentous events leading up to World War II in Europe is the private, personal, utterly revealing journal of a great foreign correspondent.
CBS radio broadcaster William L. Shirer was virtually unknown in 1940 when he decided there might be a book in the diary he had kept in Europe during the 1930s—specifically those sections dealing with the collapse of the European democracies and the rise of Nazi Germany.
Shirer was the only Western correspondent in Vienna on March 11, 1938, when the German troops marched in and took over Austria, and he alone reported the surrender by France to Germany on June 22, 1940, even before the Germans reported it. The whole time, Shirer kept a record of events, many of which could not be publicly reported because of censorship by the Germans. In December 1940, Shirer learned that the Germans were building a case against him for espionage, an offense punishable by death. Fortunately, Shirer escaped and was able to take most of his diary with him.
Berlin Diary first appeared in 1941, and the timing was perfect. The energy, the passion, and the electricity in it were palpable. The book was an instant success, and it became the frame of reference against which thoughtful Americans judged the rush of events in Europe. It exactly matched journalist to event: the right reporter in the right place at the right time. It stood, and still stands, as so few books have ever done, a pure act of journalistic witness.


What the Critics Say

“The most complete news report yet to come out of wartime Germany.” (Time)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Rivetting listening experience

At first I lamented Grover Gardner was not the reader, having found Mr Gardner's reading of 'The Rise and Fall...' excellent. And initially Tom Weiner's pace was too fast for my idea of a 'Journal' reading, my ear adjusted and the content became dominant. OK I am not an historian and I did not study modern history at school. As I listen now, I am having to adjust my understanding of so much that was going on in Europe prior to the official start of WW11. Being a journal the immediacy of events as they unfolded is giving me a whole new picture. I have seen the movies, read the fiction and seen some of the propaganda films released by The Allies, Take on that this is a journal, written as events were being played out and the reflections of William L. Shirer are truly an eye and heart opener. One feels the frustrations and disbelief that leaders at the time behaved as they did.
I am still listening, and so impressed by this 'Berlin Diary" that I can only highly recommend this to any with an interest in World War11, to learn how so important our Journalists are, when free of censorship from government and employer.
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- Sandy "Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach."

The Real Rise and Fall

If you found "Rise and Fall" to be a gripping book, as I did, then I think you will find "Berlin Diaries" to be a wonderful listen. Here you learn all the thoughts of a witness to an amazing place and time. Particularly striking is the insanity of what Shirer is and is not allowed to report. The world was turned upside-down and Shirer tells you about it as if you were having a drink at the press club. Wonderful insights into easy things that the British might have done better... for example, bombing doesn't need to be massive to be effective, Shirer explains that even small bombings during the night in Berlin have the effect of keeping everyone awake and dramatically affecting war production, not to mention jangling nerves. You see Shirer becoming more and more cynical as the war begins to go badly and his access to real news vs. propaganda is limited. The book leaves you wanting to learn a lot more about his wife Tess who seems like a very interesting character in her own right. Shirer explains so clearly successes of the Third Reich early in the war; you understand what it means to build a war machine, to consider all the technical details, to keep all your aircraft hidden a short distance from the airfields so that the bombing of an airfield produces limited damage. Shirer explains Hitler's misperception of British attitudes. I found the book truly fascinating.
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- Robert

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-28-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.