The unabridged, downloadable audiobook of Ian Kershaw's The End is a searing account of the last days of the Nazi regime and the downfall of a nation. Read by David Timson.
The last months of the Second World War were a nightmarish time to be alive. Unimaginable levels of violence destroyed entire cities. Millions died or were dispossessed. By all kinds of criteria it was the end: the end of the Third Reich and its terrible empire but also, increasingly, it seemed to be the end of European civilization itself. In his gripping, revelatory new book Ian Kershaw describes these final months, from the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944 to the German surrender in May 1945. The major question that Kershaw attempts to answer is: what made Germany keep on fighting? In almost every major war there has come a point where defeat has loomed for one side and its rulers have cut a deal with the victors, if only in an attempt to save their own skins. In Hitler's Germany, nothing of this kind happened: In the end the regime had to be stamped out town by town with a level of brutality almost without precedent.
Both a highly original piece of research and a gripping narrative, The End makes vivid an era which still deeply scars Europe. It raises the most profound questions about the nature of the Second World War, about the Third Reich and about how ordinary people behave in extreme circumstances.
©2011 Ian Kershaw (P)2012 Penguin Books Ltd
"Well-written, penetrating...and ground-breaking." (Andrew Roberts, Evening Standard)
"No one is better qualified to tell this grim story than Kershaw.... A master of both the vast scholarly literature on Nazism and the extraordinary range of its published and unpublished record, Kershaw combines vivid accounts of particular human experiences with wise reflections on big interpretive and moral issues.... No one has written a better account of the human dimensions of Nazi Germany's end." (New York Times Book Review)
"A compelling account of the bloody and deluded last days of the Third Reich...this is far from being of mere academic interest.... The greatest strength of Kershaw's narrative is that he gives us much more than the view from the top.... Interwoven are insights into German life and death at all levels of society." (The Times)
I am a retired teacher. I specialise in history and psychology. I enjoy reading historical thrillers, history and philosophy.
This is a factual account of both the death of Adolf Hitler and the end of Nazi Germany. Perhaps, the most momentous event of the twentieth century is described and analysed in detail. It ought to be read by anybody interested in the age we live in.
I liked best the way in which Kershaw shows, how like scorpions, the Nazis continued to sting and kill even when the allies were in the next village. There was no making a deal with people like this.
The end. The final end of Hitler's Germany and the debt we owe to all of the allied powers who defeated him.
A brilliant tale told well.
An excellant over-view, without the jingoism which seems to attach to so much German history as related by Brits. It happened and cannot be changed but the clarity of the why & how is frightenigly explained in a lesson to the wider world & to be hoped, we will learn something for mankind from it.
Well written,listenable & sensitive as I would expect from Prof Kershaw.
Excellent exposition of the führerprinzip and its central place in the destruction of Germany from the summer of 1944. Kershaw brings together the sad collapse of a people held in fear to the end.
I would have preferred a complete integration of the military and political aspects but perhaps max Hastings treatment of the ruination of Europe in the last year of the war is a good bedfellow.
The narrative is compelling with very few repetitions and the narrator strikes the right balance of gravitas and a lighter tone to deal with truly terrible facts that are laid before the listener. The retelling of the forced marches and the savagery of soviet retribution are particular standout episodes in this work.
There are so many books on the Second World War that this tragic period has been extensively documented. Kershaw tries to distinguished his books from the others by just concentrating on the Germany side of the story, and giving only brief accounts of the fighting. The key revelation for me was how the July bomb plot allowed the Nazi regime to destroy any opposition, and allowed them to take Germany to their nihilistic end. What the author does is concentrates on how the war affected the population, and how propaganda was used to make people believe there was no alternative to fighting till the end. For most people they adopted a passive stoicism, and try to keep a normal life going. I like the story of the high government official that wrote about the need to change monitory policy in the last months of the war. While there is obviously new research in this book I don't think it adds much to what we already know about the end of the war. I was a bloody mess, and the Nazi elite were callous brutes.
The Narrator of this books har a marvellous, light and vibrant speaking voice, and his range in volume from pianissimo (near inaudible) to fortissimo (you reach for the sound switch) is remarkable. He has, in short, an expressive, dramatic voice, that I would fint delightful in maybe reading poetry, children's stories, and many types of fiction.
But in a non-fiction history-book, written in a sober textbook-style, often with long sentences, this type of voice becomes distracting, and after a while quite tiresome and irritating, because it distracted me from the text I was interested in. I would not have bought this, had I known how distracting the narrator would become.
Superb book - explains in great detail the chronology and the characters who took part in one of the darkest periods of world history. One of those great works written by someone who was there at the time. Brilliant book.
Whenever life gets you down Mrs Brown
This book doesn't back down in showing the desperate grim reality of the end of WW2 for the people of a defeated Germany.
"Should be Compulsive Reading"
Ian Kershaw along with Stephen Ambrose are giants when it comes to these type of books. The author’s ability to bring clear historical facts to life along with insights into the character of the time and people is nothing short of brilliant!
Surely, this type of book should be compulsive for all high schools so that hopefully we will never repeat the mistakes of the past.
At the time of listening to this title I was also listening to Jack El-Hai’s “The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Goring, Dr Douglas M Kelly, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII” This was a perfect match for this book. For Jack’s book continued on to examine from a more clinical view of the questions raised in Ian Kershaw’s book. I would highly recommend listening to this one first then move on over to Jack’s book.
A word of warning, it is not the type of title you listen to in one sitting. It took me a couple of weeks to make it through to the end.
The narration is brilliant and like so many other titles now days can be best listened to at 1.25x speed.
Great listen. Not confusing and fantastic narrator. Very detailed. Well worth the listen. Recommended for WW2 buffs.
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