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The Long Night: William L. Shirer and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Hardcover – August 2, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“It's this Shirer -- the human being, a man of determination and steely nerve -- that Mr. Wick gets onto the pages of his book.” ―Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Illuminating . . . Wick has done an excellent job in bringing together the man's life and work in this detailed and probing biography.” ―The St. Petersburg Times

The Long Night is indeed an adventure story, with short chapters and a fast-paced narrative drive. But Mr. Wick has documented the story with scrupulous attention to detail, too, drawing on Shirer's published works as well as his papers and correspondence.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“Steve Wick makes excellent use of Shirer's letters and papers to chronicle his often fraught relationships . . . A seasoned journalist, Wick knows how to tell a good story, and for long stretches his book reads like a novel . . . [It] has much of interest to say about the life of a foreign correspondent in the war-torn Europe of the 1930s and early 1940s.” ―Richard Evans, The New Republic

“A suspenseful recasting of the same period covered in Berlin Diary, using the published diary but more importantly the original handwritten pages Shirer smuggled out of Berlin . . . Wick has used his resources scrupulously and illuminates, more than does the 1941 book, the heavy personal toll that remaining in Berlin took on Shirer and his family.” ―Columbia Journalism Review

“A gripping account of a courageous journalist's efforts to alert the world to Hitler's plan, and an engaging discussion of the relationship between journalism and personal integrity, which is as relevant today as it was then.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Wick offers an absorbing and very detailed account, the perfect companion piece to Shirer's masterwork.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Thorough, fast-paced, and absorbing.” ―World War II Magazine

“An intimate portrayal of a pioneering broadcasting icon.” ―Baltimore Jewish Times

“A thought-provoking and accessible exposition about the man, the times in which he worked, and the book itself.” ―Jewish Book World

“Working as a foreign correspondent in Hitler's Germany was a harrowing experience, but William L. Shirer was among those who delivered exceptional journalism despite the circumstances. In The Long Night, Steve Wick skillfully describes Shirer's courage and persistence during these years.” ―Philip Seib, author of Broadcasts from the Blitz: How Edward R. Murrow Helped Lead America into War

“Steve Wick tells the human story behind William Shirer's brilliant and perceptive radio broadcasts from Nazi Berlin. Making extensive use of Shirer's private papers, he succeeds in incorporating the high politics, the everyday and the personal in a single, elegantly-written and engaging narrative.” ―Roger Moorhouse, author of Killing Hitler

“In Steve Wick's talented hands, The Long Night puts you in the shoes of William Shirer and lets you experience the frightful, yet fascinating buildup of the Nazi regime for yourself. This account of one gutsy journalist witnessing history in the making is top-notch, an engrossing page turner that will have you eager to see what happens next. The Long Night stands out as a keen telling of one man's eventful life, while also offering a unique perspective on an important moment in time. A compelling read.” ―Greg Freeman, author of The Last Mission of the Wham Bam Boys

Review

"It's this Shirer -- the human being, a man of determination and steely nerve -- that Mr. Wick gets onto the pages of his book." --Dwight Garner, "The New York Times"

"Illuminating . . . Wick has done an excellent job in bringing together the man's life and work in this detailed and probing biography." - "The St. Petersburg Times "

""The Long Night" is indeed an adventure story, with short chapters and a fast-paced narrative drive. But Mr. Wick has documented the story with scrupulous attention to detail, too, drawing on Shirer's published works as well as his papers and correspondence." -- "The Wall Street Journal" "Steve Wick makes excellent use of Shirer's letters and papers to chronicle his often fraught relationships . . . A seasoned journalist, Wick knows how to tell a good story, and for long stretches his book reads like a novel . . . [It] has much of interest to say about the life of a foreign correspondent in the war-torn Europe of the 1930s and early 1940s." -- Richard Evans," The New Republic"

"A suspenseful recasting of the same period covered in Berlin Diary, using the published diary but more importantly the original handwritten pages Shirer smuggled out of Berlin . . . Wick has used his resources scrupulously and illuminates, more than does the 1941 book, the heavy personal toll that remaining in Berlin took on Shirer and his family." --"Columbia Journalism Review"

"A gripping account of a courageous journalist's efforts to alert the world to Hitler's plan, and an engaging discussion of the relationship between journalism and personal integrity, which is as relevant today as it was then."--"Kirkus Reviews"

"Wick offers an absorbing and very detailed account, the perfect companion piece to Shirer's masterwork." --"Publishers Weekly"

"Thorough, fast-paced, and absorbing." --"World War II Magazine"

"An intimate portrayal of a pioneering broadcasting icon." -- "Baltimore Jewish Times"

"A thought-provoking and accessible exposition a --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (August 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230623182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230623187
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #764,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Long Night is a very powerful nonfiction book. The plot concerns Hitler's rise to power and the destruction that ensued after. Shirer, the main character, was the only reporter who reported every brutal event. He was one of the few not to fall for Nazi propaganda while still remaining (for a little while) in Germany and among the soldiers and Nazi elite. The author has the ability to make the events appear as if they are occurring right when the reader is reading about them. The atmosphere and permeating fear and horror is tangible, as is the desperation.

Shirer is an admirable character to read about. He reported his findings accurately, much to the chagrin and impending threats by the Nazi party. He advocated early warnings about the true intentions of the Nazi party and he stayed for as long as possible in the heart of the chaos. The reader will grow close to Shirer while reading this novel and share his hopelessness and need for the truth to be known. Shirer and the reader both will feel increasingly disparaging towards powerful leaders and the people who should have listened and taken into consideration Shirer's reports. A history buff and the average nonfiction reader will devour this novel.

*I received a copy to review-this in no way altered my opinion
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's rare to find a nonfiction book that's so riveting, you can't put it down until you finish it. But "The Long Night" is that kind of book--extraordinary writing, a fascinating story, great characters and an insider's view of some of the biggest moments in history. The author paints a picture of Europe as Hitler came to power through William Shirer's eyes, thanks to meticulous research and access to letters and journals no one else has ever mined. Many of the era's literary lights make appearances -- Hemingway, Joyce, Fitzgerald and so on -- and we see them through the fresh view of Shirer. At the same time, the ominous events of Hitler's reign begin to unfold, again told from a veteran journalist's unique viewpoint and in crisp, affecting prose. It's hard to say what is best about this book: The story it tells, or the way the story is told. It's a "don't miss," the best book I've ever read about this era.
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Format: Hardcover
Buried in a postscript at the conclusion of this book, the author, Steve Wick, writes: "A biographer will someday write the story of the enormous hurdles Shirer had to climb to sell the book [The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich]." Considering that Wick titled his book The Long Night: William L. Shirer and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, one could reasonably have expected Wick himself to write that story, since that's what the title suggests the book is going to be about.

To be sure, there's plenty about Shirer in the book, and quite a lot of the rise of the Nazis, but the book's narrative ends at 1940, a full year before the United States even entered the war. So while Wick recaps a lot of the "rise," there's precious little "fall." And to be more precise, Wick devotes less than a page in his biography to describing Shirer's writing of the book that would cement his reputation. In other words, Wick never gets around to telling us why Shirer became so important that he's worthy of a biography.

Actually, this book is more of an abridgement than a full biography, as Wick fills most of the pages with Shirer's own words. Shirer was nothing if not thorough in chronicling his thoughts and activities, and Wick's book summarizes and condenses what Shirer wrote in Berlin Diary and The Nightmare Years, focusing on events occurring in the years 1930-1940. The difference, of course, is that Shirer was a very outspoken and passionate writer, whereas Wick adopts a matter-of-fact "first he did this, then he did that" writing style. The great villains and appeasers of the Third Reich - Joachim von Ribbentrop, Neville Chamberlain, Heinrich Himmler - barely make cameo appearances in Wick's retelling.
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Format: Hardcover
Steve Wick's "The Long Night" appears as more than a memoir of a person. It reads like an indictment of current journalism: why do today's news gatherers lack Shirer's courage? While the presidential press corps eats anything appointed spokespeople spoon up, and business writers unquestioningly repeat corporate news releases, audiences long for difficult stories gathered deep in the trenches.

Fired from a prestigious European correspondent job deep in the Depression, Shirer was days away from losing everything when Edward Murrow hand-picked him to start CBS Radio's second European bureau. His appointment coincided with Germany's stirring aggression, and as a journalist in a police state, Shirer accepted a very difficult job: telling the truth in a nation where truth came from the state, not from reality.

Faced with the choice of repeating inane propaganda, as many of his colleagues did, or being ejected from Germany, Shirer undertook an elaborate tapdance. His journalistic loyalties lay with the truth, not with expediency, and he risked his safety (and his Austrian wife's life) to ensure the world saw the real Germany. But the state did everything in its power to bring Shirer to heel.

Reading this harrowing story, I remember complaints from embedded American reporters at least as early as Operation Desert Storm. By keeping journalists close by, and beholden to the military for even basic supplies and information, officers and the state they represented could control what facts the people knew. Reporters conducted intricate subterfuge to smuggle information out of the war zone.

Too many journalists today attend journalism schools, earning specialist degrees in how to gather news as it's always been gathered.
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