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The Nightmare Years: 1930-1940, Vol. 2 Hardcover – April, 1984
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Shirer begins by describing his days in Vienna, Afghanistan, Spain, and France, but the book's heart comes with his posting to Berlin in 1934. Readers learn about Gestapo terror, prewar rearmament, increasing anti-Semitism, and the devotion of many (but not all) Germans to their violent Fuehrer. Shirer also examines the inexplicable appeasement policies of France and Britain - policies that leave one as baffled today as in the 1930's. The author recounts joining Ed Murrow at CBS Radio in 1938 and then broadcasting events such as the Anchluss (takeover) of Austria, the betrayal at Munich, and the German invasion of Poland. Shirer also recounts traveling with the German army as it tore through Belgium in 1940, seeing Paris under Nazi rule, and broadcasting the French surrender. The book's nicely readable prose vividly recreates the stifling atmosphere and the unfolding, utterly preventable tragedy.
Journalist-author William L. Shirer (1904-93) wrote superbly readable eye-witness accounts of 20th Century history. This 1984 memoir was his final bestseller on Nazi Germany, and every bit as readable as the earlier two, BERLIN DIARY (1941) and RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH (1960).
As I read, I became aware that Hitler could have been stopped many times before the U.S. became involved. Had the French or the British acted in a timely manner, Hitler could have been squashed like a bug before all the destruction and loss of life. But politics got in the way and everyone seemed afraid to call Hitler on his obvious, transparent lies and bold treaty violations. Churchill had his number, but he was criticized strongly. Everyone believed Hitler's lies, they closed their eyes and allowed him to grow powerful. He bluffed everyone.
I enjoyed the book and found it good reading. Now I am reading Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I recommend The Nightmare Years as a good preface.
I personally enjoyed the earlier chapters (Afghanistan, etc). Note the passages regarding Ed Murrow (see volume III).
According to the NYT paid obituary column:
Theresa, aged 97, died January 25, 2008 at her home in New York. Survived by her daughters Linda Rae of Cross River, NY, and Eileen (Inga) Dean of Lenox, MA, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
His language describing the personalities, events, and emotions around that time is incredible. He tells the story as he saw it back then. Most books look at the events from the point of view of many years past. People loose the feeling of the time. They jump to established feelings. That way you loose the emotion of the moment. This book is different. His style gives you that emotion, the feeling. This gives the reader a different flavor for the history. They put you back in the event.
The book is written by the famous author William L. Shirer. He was the man who wrote the famous book "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" That book was a straight history of the German nation from 33 to 45. This book is some of that but told in a different way. It is a mix of his personal diaries from that time, some hind sight comment from records after the war. He also put in some interesting information about things he was doing at the time superbly complements the story. One example of that is the stories of concern about his wife, his descriptions of the people he met, or the sights and sounds from the battle.
He does offer some information you will not see elsewhere. He has one chapter about his time in India where he covered Gandi. He also did a story from Afghanistan. His observations of that country sounds like any press account from any news source over the past ten years. Mr. Shirer did tour France during the battle in 1940. He covered the battle of Britain, and the actions before the war.Read more ›
This volume details his experiences as a journalist working, mainly in Germany, during Hitler's rise to power.
The political stuff does not disappoint, but the author also spends time describing his personal life and his ups-and-downs with the various agencies who employed him, and in these areas he lacks the gift of holding the reader's interest. I was tempted to skip sections so I could get on with the nitty-gritty.
My other slight gripe is the banal language in which he expresses his contempt for the Nazi leaders. I'm not a fan of them either, but we don't need to be told in tabloid newspaper language, and with much repetition, how dreadful these people were. Shirer would have done better to let the facts speak for themselves.
It was, however, fascinating reading his account of the bumbling of the Allied forces in the lead-up to war. As an American, he feels no obligation to be polite about our leaders and their incompetence. The book makes it clear that the second world war could have been avoided, and Hitler defeated, not once but on many occasions before 1939.
It is sad to reflect on lives lost and beautiful cities destroyed because the French refused to annihilate the German army while they could, and British ministers couldn't be reached at weekends, even as the biggest crisis in history was unfolding on mainland Europe.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Moving, personal memoir by Shirer of a decade of sheer turbulance that he bore as close-up witness. I was on edge reading his account, especially up through to the end, enduring... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Glen W.
this book takes me back to a period of history that some people would like to forget, but I want to remembrtPublished 6 months ago by Michael Stevenson
Almost done with this book. Have very much enjoyed it. A unique perspective on Nazi Germany from someone who witnessed it firsthand.Published 6 months ago by Randall L Yass
This is one remarkable book about the rise of Naziism in Germany from a personal viewpoint. Shirer was a correspondent for radio and newspapers and was present to cover the events... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
Outstanding book. This is a must read for anyone interested in a firsthand account of the events leading to WWII. Shirer was there and reported and kept a detailed diary. Read morePublished 14 months ago by M. Kalisher
Shirer's best known work is the classic, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." I've also read "The Collapse of the Third Republic," which shows how disunited and... Read morePublished 16 months ago by nom de plume