The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

Written by:
William L. Shirer
Narrated by:
Grover Gardner

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
July 2010
57 hours 12 minutes
Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the twentieth century’s blackest hours.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

Now, long after the end of World War II, it may seem incredible that our most valued institutions and way of life were threatened by the menace that Hitler and the Third Reich represented. Shirer’s description of events and the cast of characters who played such pivotal roles in defining the course Europe was to take is unforgettable.

Shirer benefitted from his many years as a reporter, thus a personal observer of the rise of Nazi Germany, and by availing himself of some of the 485 tons of documents from the German Foreign Office, as well as countless other diaries, phone transcriptions, and other written records meticulously kept at every level by the Germans. With these, he has put together a brutally objective account of how Hitler wrested political control of Germany and planned and executed his six-year quest to dominate the world, only to see Germany go down in flames.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a vast, richly rewarding experience for anyone who wants to come to grips with the mysterious question of how this menace to civilization ever came into being, much less was sustained for as long as it was. The answer, unfortunately, is that most of Germany, for a whole host of reasons, embraced Nazism and the fanaticism that Hitler engendered.
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Corey Blevins

Such a detailed, in-depth look at how the Nazis came to power and the internal machinations of the Nazi machine and its leaders. Sadly, it was filled with juvenile, sadistic men (and women) who were hyper-racists and who are responsible for more death and destruction than any group of individuals ever on the planet. It is beautifully composed and easy to follow (save a couple of uninteresting tangents), and will have you caught up on the Third Reich. Lastly, it is stunning how close the Nazi war machine came (and many times) to total European domination (including defeating Britain and Russia). Small pivot points in history, usually Hitler's boneheaded decisions, helped save us all an uncertain, likely gruesome fate.

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Terry Rister

Exceptional read. Just what I was looking for to round out my understanding of this period of our world history.

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paul b

about all one needs to know about wwii. shirer gives a well thought out and researched account of history from post 1918 to the nuremberg trials.

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Jami R.


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Brad L

A great, thorough book on the matter. Heavily leans toward political and diplomatic topics rather than war strategy. Although given Hitler's maniacal mentality maybe the one broad statement that could be said about the war is that Hitler oversaw it and the rest just obeyed orders. Undoubtedly the "generals" were very talented to have been the real draftsmen of such successful early strikes

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Pete Coffee

Outstanding, great historical book with great insight on the Third Reich.

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John M.

I enjoyed this book tremendously. I attempted to read in the traditional manner and struggled to complete it. Not so this time! This detailed and exhaustive investigation into the madness that was the Third Reich needs to be completed by any fan/historian/teacher of this era. The lies and deceit of the Nazis bordered on comedy and the end result of their methods begat the destruction of the German state and the lives of innocent people. I find it humorous that a man like Hitler and his supposed genius, that would surround himself with so many dolts and mindless stooges, that I'm actually surprised the struggle lasted as long as it did... The typical cowardice of many top-ranking Nazi officials to resort to suicide rather than face their punishment was also stunning to me.

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derrick g

Excellent. A comprehensive history of what should never be allowed to happen again.

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Tristram F

Voluminous - but efficient and crisply told. Terrific history.

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Joseph P.

Fantastic listen, narrator crushes it.

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Tommy B.

probably my favorite book on World war 2.Great detail on the German side of the war.

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Johnie S.

Very thorough.

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Shane P.

Great. Lots of details. Really helped me understand how and why the third Reich rose to power against all odds and logic

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Stephen B.

This is the definitive book on the German Reich in World War II. Yes, it is. Shirer was right there and was courageous as He** in getting the facts out. At no small risk to himself. Written concisely … yet with style … thoughtfully balanced, and yet calling things by what they really were. I don’t know if he and Hemingway went deep sea fishing but they sure should’ve. I would assign even another star as extra credit but unfortunately I can’t….

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James D.

Essential reading.

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Khatchig T.

lots of info.

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Zbigniew P.

An astonishing material, powerful insights and detailed history of fake ideology.

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Throw Away

An invaluable and thorough first-hand account of the Third Reich. Grocer Gardner's excellent narration makes the vast tsunami of information both listenable and digestible.

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