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William L. Shirer Books In Order

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Publication Order of 20th Century Journey Books

The Start: 1904-30 (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Nightmare Years: 1930-40 (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Native's Return: 1945-1988 (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Berlin Diary Books

Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 (1941)Description / Buy at Amazon
End of a Berlin Diary (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Midcentury Journey (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Challenge of Scandinavia (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sinking of the Bismarck (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Collapse of the Third Republic (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gandhi: A Memoir (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Love and Hatred: The Troubled Marriage of Leo and Sonya Tolstoy (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
This Is Berlin: Reporting from Nazi Germany 1938-40 (With: Inga Shirer Dean) (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

William L. Shirer
William L. Shirer was a history and non-fiction author born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1904. He was also a journalist best known for CBS broadcasts from Berlin at the beginning of the second world war. The author also has an impressive list of non-fiction historical novels and memoirs to his name. a good portion of Shirer’s writing on the second world war are from his own experiences. He and fellow journalists experienced censorship firsthand, and he had to smuggle his notes and diaries out of Germany. Shirer died in 1993.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich tries to explain what happened to a dictatorial rule that was supposed to last a thousand years. Adolf Hitler is known for the nightmare he created barely after the end of the first world war. While the Third Reich only lasted slightly over twelve years, so much damage was done within those short years that the world went into yet another war. The torture that people experienced in concentration camps cannot be put into words, and Hitler’s determination to rule the world was uncontrollable the entire time. So what led to the collapse of this rule? How was one person able to wield so much power, and what led to their defeat?

This book answers all these questions and more. Shirer takes you through the catastrophic events that characterized this era. He even includes testimonies from camp inmates and Nazi leaders. Since the author was a foreign correspondent living in Germany for most of the time, Hitler was in power, some of his narration comes from his own experiences. He explains how Hitler managed to use Japan and Mussolini and also narrates how the United States eventually got involved. You will also read about the dangers that made Shirer and his family seek refuge elsewhere.

If you love history stories, especially about the second world war, you will love this book. The author has clearly done his homework, and his narrative style keeps you wanting to know more about what happened next. This book was published in 1957, slightly over a decade after The Fall, recorded towards the end of the book. Shirer’s memory of what happened was still fresh, and the massive documentation available at the time made it easy for him to complete his research. It is shocking what devastation and havoc such a brief span wrecked on the west.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a classic and conclusive novel on Nazi Germany. Everything from the early successes to Germany’s eventual defeat is recorded here. Aside from the known facts about Hitler and his character, the author lends his perspective on some of the events that shaped his rule. He is careful to separate his experiences and the information picked from historical records. Still, it is exciting reading the views of a person who actually experienced the effects of Hitler’s rule. The book also comes with enough footnotes, and it is flowing in enlightening moments. Even though this book was published decades ago, it holds so much relevance to dare. It is perfect if you want a comprehensive yet intriguing account of the Nazi regime.

Berlin Diary
Berlin Diary is a firsthand account of the happenings in Europe between 1934 and 1941. At the time, the author was a foreign correspondent in Berlin. He details how Hitler and his men managed to deceive the public with lies and propaganda until things got out of hand. Since he had full control of the press, it was not so hard for Hitler to control how people viewed his regime. Even for foreign correspondents like Shirer, anything they submitted or broadcasted had to be censored first, and he was regularly forced to edit his work. Fortunately, the author had enough contact with the Nazis and Germans to know how they felt and thought about everything that was happening at their doorstep.

Given the author’s position, it was easier for him to experience the level of fanatism during Hitler’s reign. Since he had easy access to most of the Nazi’s functions, it was easier for him to gather the information that wasn’t easily available to the public. He made a point of noting his observations almost every day and relied heavily on this information while writing this story. Unlike other historical books, this one covers day to day activities. It is easier for readers to understand what really went on and the effect the Nazis and their leader had on the population at large. If you are curious to know what led to the second world war, you will find this book informative and fascinating.

The saddest thing in this book is that all the ugliness in it actually happened. Shirer explains why the Nazis did not see anything wrong with what Hitler was doing to those who dared to defy his orders. Whether out of fear or sheer ignorance, they supporting the dictator in all his autocracies, and Europe suffered greatly for their actions. All the momentous events that led to the second world war in Europe are highlighted here. This book is an eye-opener for anyone who thought that dialogue instead of war could have been used. A lot was happening on the ground, and even the media was compromised to broadcast only what Hitler and his men wanted.

Berlin Diary was first published in 1941, and its timing was perfect given what was happening at the time. Shirer’s passion and energy throughout the book is contagious, and the electricity is almost palpable. This book because a success immediately; it was published and was considered a reference point for Americans who thought that Europe rushed into the war. America had just joined the war, and the book painted a good picture of the happenings that led to the war. The book remains one of the pieces that have given a journalistic view of one of Europe’s most challenging times.

Book Series In Order » Authors » William L. Shirer

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