The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer

This is an outstanding book. Why do journalists invariably write history better than professional historians? Many treatments of Nazi Germany treat their subject with a sterile and bloodless lack of feeling; not this book. Shirer gives the criminals their due. Yet through it all there is the almost supernatural phenomenon of Hitler, this nobody from nowhere who who rose to absolute power and shook the foundations of the world. Not even Shirer is adequate to explain this phenomenon. This is a long book, weighing in at nearly 1200 pages, but there is much in it that should not be forgotten, even now as Germany seems to have settled into a phase of permanent peace. As the generation that lived through this era is now almost gone, books like this are all we have to keep the memories alive, and future generations would do well to read them.

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