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on July 26, 2016
Can't understand these negative reviews unless people are complaining about the ebook / kindle version. This volume is a masterpiece; a classic; it could not have been more professionally written by Shakespeare or Tolstoy. The research is impeccable. Besides, Mr Shirer was there + he spoke German flawlessly, so he was in a position to read the captured German documents and diaries in the original perfectly. First read this in the late 70s. Purchased another copy in the mid-80s and read it again. In the late 90s, purchased still another copy and read it a third time. Recently bought two versions of the 50th-anniversary-hardcover addition and I'm still getting fresh insights into these fraught times - - on my fourth read.
10 people found this helpful
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on November 14, 2016
Written by a man who lived through the years leading up to the Nazi Party's birth, growth, eventual election to power and all the subsequent insane and inhuman events that followed; a journalist keeping detailed diaries and then supplementing with years of detailed research through vast amounts of other documents, diaries, court records, interviews. Amazing! To read this book is a formidable but engrossing task and the end result is enormous satisfaction that I have truly learned an honest and complete historical lesson. My parents lived through WWII in Latvia, my father was drafted into the Nazi Army to fight the Soviets on the Eastern front and was severely wounded during the occupation, my mother escaped from Liepaja with the fleeing Nazi troops abandoned there on the day Berlin fell. The emotions which this book raised then resolved are indescribable as I finally felt I had learned all there was needed to know about what my parents went through because they would speak none of it. They hated the Nazis, they hated the Soviets, they could speak of none of it.
49 people found this helpful
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on January 29, 2016
This is a very interesting work -- I can hardly put it down. The problem is that the editors who "prepared" it for Kindle release, didn't. There are entire sections of the book out of place. You go along reading about complex and critical issues, and all of a sudden you are in an entirely different place and time dealing with a completely unrelated subject for a page or so, and then hop back to where you started. It is really irritating. I guess I think it's worthwhile to buy the book on Kindle, if only for the convenience of not having to lug a 1280 page book around, but if you want continuity and consistency, buy the book and skip the Kindle edition.
33 people found this helpful
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on August 17, 2017
I wondered at first if I could get through such a long book on history. However, I found that while not "easy" reading it was not the drudgery I have encountered in other such books. Actually it moves freely if you don't spend too much time remembering all the names. The main characters are mentioned enough that they will stick with you. It covered a lot but without spending too much time on any individual topic. It gave me the big picture with enough detail to educate me on a lot of things of which I had been unaware. Lastly, it was interesting that it was a first hand account rather than a look back on history.
2 people found this helpful
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on March 14, 2016
I love history so I knew I was going to enjoy this book, as well as getting angry and heartbroken at the same time. Honestly, I was not really counting on learning anything substantial and new, details yes, but fundamental things? I didn't think so. I was so wrong.

This book has taught me that Hitler was not an anomaly of history but rather a natural product of the slow-brewing racism of a society in economic recession. And that is very important because it means it can be repeated at any time anywhere given the right (or wrong) circumstances.
5 people found this helpful
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on November 14, 2016
Extremely well written and thorough. The Kindle edition might have been a good choice, as it is a monster to drag around. This book provides a great understanding of how the Third Reich was able to rise to power, and how the power ultimately destroyed it. I find it to be a very involved book, pulling you in as you are learning about how this possibly could have happened. For anyone interested in history, it is a fascinating read. Highly recommended.
4 people found this helpful
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on May 3, 2018
Yes, there is a bit of author bias, but that's understandable considering the subject. There is some commentary in this as the story is told because of that, but I don't find it detracting. Having been descended from two German parents and having Grandparents that lived through this before coming to the USA, it wasn't a topic they really wanted to discuss. I can't blame them for that. But this book aside from some of the commentary draws off of diaries, paperwork that was found after the regime fell, and other sources that backs up the story being told. This is about as concise as you can get for that reason from beginning to end. It is a very good read if you want to know the entire story, but be prepared to find out about things that were done that are beyond the atrocities committed against the Jewish community that most people talk about when they talk about this subject. I nor my family never idolized Hitler and the regime beyond what they had to do as they lived during it (you walked the walk and talked the talk lest you want to go to some camp somewhere) and this goes well beyond what you see in the average history book about WWII and what happened during the war while the Reich was in charge of Germany. If you want the entire story backed up with references as to where the data was collected from, this book is it, and tells the entire story to the best of anyone's ability. I'd highly suggest it, you won't dig any deeper unless you take a class at a college.
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on January 25, 2018
A four and a half rating might be better, as I will explain. This is a very valuable account of Hitler's rise and fall. Shirer was there, saw it all, heard it all. His opinions and judgments as the period developed have been critized by some (nonscholarly, personal, one sided), but seeing first hand the awful events of the period, in my judgment, calling evil what it is can be forgiven. There are more up to date accounts that present a more balanced view, but the horror of the period cannot be denied. And Shirer's detail (he kept a diary) provides grounding and compelling information to the larger narrative. It's long, over 1,000 pages of text, but an easy read; it will keep most readers engrossed.
I purchased the hardbound copy and glad I did. It is solidly made, should last my lifetime and then some. I intend to pass it on to my kids who only know the period through movies and tv.
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on August 30, 2017
Shirer wrote the definitive account of Nazi rise to power and of how Hitler gained power through popular vote in a badly compromised parliamentary democracy. Anyone who reads it should recognize many of the same currents at work in the West and particularly in a 21st century United States. A Nazi sympathizer of the 1930's, Martin Niemoller wrote "First they came for the Socialists but I wasn't a socialist so I said nothing. Then they came for the trade unionists but I wasn't a laborer so I said nothing. Then they came for the jews but I wasn't a jew so I said nothing. Then they came for me but there was no one left to speak for me."
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on May 7, 2017
This work of William Shirer has two great qualities: It is heavily based in primary sources and extremely well written. The history is based in the documents obtained after the war, when the nazi files were captured by the allies. Hitler's My Kampf and his speeches during the period of Nazi Germany were examined and contextualized. The facts and protagonists of the period are presented in a readable and fluent text. Sometimes one feels that is reading a tale. This book can be paired with Richard Evans's work in the Third Reich (The Trilogy) in order to give the reader an enlightened presentation of Nazi Germany.
2 people found this helpful
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