• The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

  • A History of Nazi Germany
  • By: William L. Shirer
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 57 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 07-16-10
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.7 (8,742 ratings)

Regular price: $41.97

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Publisher's Summary

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 20th 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, many 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.
This is 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.
©1990 William L. Shirer (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“One of the most important works of history of our time.” ( The New York Times)
”A splendid work of scholarship, objective in method, sound in judgment, inescapable in its conclusions.” ( The New York Times Book Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jonnie on 11-08-10

Held my interest for 57 hours and 13 minutes

I always buy a long volume with trepidation wondering how many "dry spots" or "dry epochs" will be contained therein. This volume was amazing in that I was fascinated and interested every minute. The story focused on the characters while the overall picture was interwoven in their interactions and lives, particulary Hitler of course. The details added to the interest rather than extend it unnecessarily. This is a book that I will very probably savor again.
I enjoy history and military history and this is probably the best I have read.

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155 of 163 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By GH on 10-09-12

A Tale of Momumental Evil, Stupidity and Hatred

Never before had I read a firsthand account, from primary sources, as damning as this book. All of the negative superlatives that one could pen I have not the number of commas in my repertoire to string them together. You get a striking picture of Hitler, who he was, what he did and how he failed. As grotesque as he may be, the intellectual flyweights he surrounded himself with defy understanding. How, intelligent and gifted military leaders allowed themselves to be led into the manifest slaughter of innocent people – well I have no words. Read the book and you too will be speechless.

The book is built on primary reference materials and hence, I confess, unless I had listened to it, I would not have been able to get through it. It is essentially a 50 hour audio documentary. Although I could not listen at my usual three to four hours a day because I was so disturbed and depressed by the subject matter, I had to finish. And, to think, how close Hilter came to winning on at least four occasions makes me breathless about what evil he would have wrought and what the world would have been like today.

Hitler came to power and in twelve short years of rule and conquest - five of them in war - caused over 30 million people to be killed, not mention the number of people forced to kill on his behalf or to fend off those trying to kill them. It is a testament to how a single perverted point of view with power to influence the masses can spin lies and deceit that move ordinary people to be puppets. Looking to today’s world situation, you have to ask yourself whether parallels exist. You must listen to this book! I also highly recommend the Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk which is a true story set with fictional characters. For a Japanese view of history, read Flyboys by James Bradley.

This is must read for a serious historian. Do not expect to find gruesome details; expect to find a documented story that causes you to reconsider history and today’s world.

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145 of 156 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Colin on 02-18-11

Finished - what do I do now?

I listened to all 57 hours in one month during many long drives and not a few late nights. Rarely have I enjoyed history so much. The quality of Shirer's writing has long since been recognised, but this is enhanced even further by the brilliant narration. Yes, there were occasions when my concentration lapsed, but ony because one is inevitably drawn to one aspect of the story rather than another. Most often I was riveted, and now it feels like an old friend has said farewell.

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40 of 41 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Richard on 12-07-10

A unique account

This was the standard book at school 30 years ago for the study of the Third Reich. Reading it all these years later it has lost none of its impact. The writing style remains modern and clear and in my opinion is unmatched on the subject. Many good books have been written on this subject but Shirer witnessed events with his own eyes meeting many of the historical figures and seeing the bodies before nearly becoming a victim himself. Written in a time when reporting was still a noble art it was criticised as being anti German. For me it lays the facts out and leaves the reader to make his mind up. Despite its length superb narration makes this a stunning a thought provoking listen. Find the time.

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46 of 48 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tigershark on 07-05-14


What made the experience of listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich the most enjoyable?

The utmost detail referenced from credible sources (captured documents) entailing personal accounts of memoirs and diary entries recorded throughout the meteoric rise and inevitable fall of the regime.

What did you like best about this story?

This Incredible account of detail explains never before heard of information regarding behind the scenes drama that lead to the reasoning behind decisions that were made (whether political or military) on the Axis side during WWII.

What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

"An old school English American accent" A superlative performance. Probably the most professional around.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

At over 57 hours long, this is suited to modern war / political history enthusiasts. Military history buffs would be most impressed with the level of detail and performance. This is an audio book to listen to if you have a little time each day or if you're on the road a lot!

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Helene on 05-08-17

Very informative read

It's a long book that can at time feel overwhelming. It is so informative and well written that I now feel after reading it that I finally have a good understanding of Hitler and the history that goes with his rule. Thank you for the eye opener.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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