- Paperback: 944 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books (February 23, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143116711
- ISBN-13: 978-0143116714
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Third Reich at War
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Describing the Third Reich from the height of its power to its collapse, Evans concludes the masterful trilogy that began with The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power. As in those works, Evans demonstrates a fluent style and a sweeping grasp of the Third Reich's history and of the enormous historical literature. The account is peppered with insightful anecdotes drawn from diaries, letters and speeches. What comes across most clearly is the supreme arrogance of the Nazis and the utterly rapacious character of their rule. Evans gives the Holocaust the centrality it deserves, while also depicting effectively the suffering of Poles and many others under Nazi domination. Evans offers a nuanced picture of the lives of Germans, but ultimately, he suggests, the Nazis' racial ideology thoroughly corrupted German society. Evans narrates the Reich's end in gripping fashion as the Allies closed in on Germany. Evans's fellow historians as well as a broader public will read this work, not quite with pleasure, for there is little joy in this story, but with admiration for the author's narrative powers. Illus., maps. (Mar. 23)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Evans receives a hero’s welcome in the press as he lays his final World War II tome, a towering, somber achievement of scholarship and narrative, to rest. As in the preceding volumes, Evans judiciously employs first-hand sources, measured judgments, and impeccable research to craft what most reviewers hail as the definitive work on the Third Reich of our generation. Evans never flinches from the gruesome details of this tragic historical period, yet as the Guardian notes, “in an almost Wagnerian way, you need to see the madness complete; you need to watch Berlin burning, a pyre of malevolent dreams. This is the fire Hitler built.” Despite the Spectator critic’s minor complaints about confusing endnotes and maps, that critic’s view represents the others: “If you have the time to read only a single book on Nazi Germany, this is the one.”
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Evans casts a wide view at many aspects of German life during the war years, ranging from the careers of musicians to everyday soldiers. Central, though, to the whole thing is the inter-relationship of Nazi crimes against humanity and how antisemitism, especially, touched every aspect of German society.
Evans demonstrates solidly how preparation for war was a driving force in German economic measures immediately before the war. The Nazis were aiming to create a racial utopia, and exacted this in a number of murderous policies. Evans tries to be even-handed to all victims (including the disabled, the Gypsies, homosexuals, and others). That said, it becomes clear, from beginning to end, how motivated the Nazis were by antisemitism. In this sense, the Holocaust is part of the wider war, a war against the Jewish "world-enemy." Among his many statements, Hitler's last political manifesto makes this unequivocally clear. It was his parting message to the world, and perhaps best sums up his meaning and legacy.
Through it all, I found Evans to be appropriately dispassionate as he related the grim details. Too, he has an eye for the human touch, weaving in diaries from representative, everyday "characters" throughout this journey. Beyond these diaries, he relies a lot on a close reading of the German security reports from the time, which used interviews and overheard conversations to give the higher-ups a picture of what Germans were really thinking. Through these, Evans manages to inject some humor into this narrative. The security officers were careful to record anti-regime jokes, which to someone reading this book provide a bit of much-needed levity.
These jokes, diaries, and other accounts show that not all Germans were marching along with the Nazis, especially as the war went on. The Germans, according to Evans, did learn about the mass killings of Jews and others, and they felt guilty about what was being done in their name. As a result, the Allied bombing seemed to some to be a just retribution. In any event, these were two key developments that caused many Germans to look at the regime skeptically. The Nazis were murdering innocent people, and the Nazis couldn't defend their own people in a war they started. Resistance movements were small and weren't very effective, by and large. The Gestapo managed to stop most of these movements. Even the military bomb plotters didn't achieve much, in the end.
I can only give you a taste of what awaits you here. I'd say that this is a good book for someone who wants to understand what Nazi German was about in the war years. It's less useful as a chronology of the military side of things (Evans relies heavily on Gerhard Weinberg's "A World at Arms"). If you're like me and know a lot about the military aspects, but want to understand what the Nazis were fighting for politically, this is a comprehensive account. I'd also say that this is probably the one volume to read, and maybe to start the trilogy here, to see if you like his style and analysis. If not, readers should get a lot out of this one volume; Evans also refers back to earlier events as background.
The Kindle version had the standard amount of typos. Words that had diacritical marks (such as any word with an umlaut) got garbled in the Kindle edition. Also, there are plenty of maps, but most are too small in the Kindle format to be helpful. In any event, none of this should impact reading; it didn't mine.
One annoying quirk I found in this book may be a flaw introduced by the Kindle digitizing process: I haven't checked on a hardcopy of the book, but the Kindle text treats proper names weirdly, whether names of places or persons- any name or word that includes an umlaut (ä, ö, ü) over a vowel loses the vowel and the umlaut winds up over the preceding consonant. The German name for Munich, "München", for example, comes out "Mnchen", with the umlaut over the M. The word "Veränderung" would be rendered as "Vernderung". This peculiarity leads occasionally to such absurdities as names which normally begin with an umlauted vowel beginning instead with a blank space with an umlaut over it, because there is no preceding consonant over which to place the umlaut. This is not a normally-accepted practice in the German language. There are no umlauts over consonants, and omitting the vowel is confusing. In many cases, of course, the vowel is obvious to a german-speaker, but if the name is unfamiliar one is left in the dark. Who? What? Huh? True, the book is written in English, but there are enough specific references to people and places in German to make this peculiarity irritating.