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The Nightmare Years: 1930-1940, Vol. 2 Hardcover – April, 1984

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"'An outstanding achievement of journalistic history; indeed it is the best kind of accurate and absorbing history.' Washington Post 'A superb journalist... Shirer was close enough to Hitler to feel the Nazi leader's messianic personal force... An unusually fine book.' - Time 'No one ever did more to explain the rise of the Nazis.' - Barbara Tuchman" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

William Shirer was one of the greatest journalists of the twentieth century. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is an established classic that has not been out of print since first publication. His The Collapse of the Third Republic remains the most penetrating insight into the fall of France yet penned. The Nightmare Years was a No.1 bestseller in the United States on first publication. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 654 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; 1st edition (April 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316787035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316787031
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By K.A.Goldberg on August 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
In this superb memoir, William L. Shirer describes life inside Nazi Germany from his six-year perch (1934-1940) as a foreign correspondent for newspapers and CBS radio. Readers get a feel for everyday life in Nazi Germany as Hitler consolidated his power, crushed (or killed) his opponents, and put the jobless to work building a war machine for future conquest.

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).
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By May May on August 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Shirer writes a wonderful, exciting memoir of what it was like to be in Europe as Hitler began his rise to power.

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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Jones on September 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though I was reading this book in September 2009, Shirer's memoirs made me feel as if I was personally experiencing the turbulent 1930s in Germany and beyond. Shirer is a very gifted writer. Shirer was right man for the job: sufficiently proficient in French, German, and Italian. (compare with John Gunther, who did not speak foreign languages). A man of strong convinction who saw the Nazi for what they really were.

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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Magee on October 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent!! It will put you back in Europe before and during the initial phases of World War Two. Mr Shirer is a famous author of many books about the Nazis. He covered Germany for the UPI and later CBS radio. He started radio news in a way with the famous Edward R. Murrow.

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Davison on February 22, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Probably like most people who will buy this book, I read and re-read many years ago Shirer's monumental "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".

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.
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