By the acclaimed journalist and New York Times best-selling author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, this day-by-day eyewitness account of the momentous events leading up to World War II in Europe is the private, personal, utterly revealing journal of a great foreign correspondent.
CBS radio broadcaster William L. Shirer was virtually unknown in 1940 when he decided there might be a book in the diary he had kept in Europe during the 1930s-specifically those sections dealing with the collapse of the European democracies and the rise of Nazi Germany.
Shirer was the only Western correspondent in Vienna on March 11, 1938, when the German troops marched in and took over Austria, and he alone reported the surrender by France to Germany on June 22, 1940, even before the Germans reported it. The whole time, Shirer kept a record of events, many of which could not be publicly reported because of censorship by the Germans. In December 1940, Shirer learned that the Germans were building a case against him for espionage, an offense punishable by death. Fortunately, Shirer escaped and was able to take most of his diary with him.
Berlin Diary first appeared in 1941, and the timing was perfect. The energy, the passion, and the electricity in it were palpable. The book was an instant success, and it became the frame of reference against which thoughtful Americans judged the rush of events in Europe. It exactly matched journalist to event: the right reporter in the right place at the right time. It stood, and still stands, as so few books have ever done, a pure act of journalistic witness.
©1941 William L. Shirer (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"The most complete news report yet to come out of wartime Germany." (Time)
"Unique and fascinating"
This story is best listen to with a good Knowledge of the events. As a diary the author of course does not know what will happen next so some of the accounts are based purely on his own interpretation of the situation and was some times incorrect. This is not a criticism as it actually shows how isolated the German population where from events outside there own country much like North Korea today. Every book written about World War 2 is started by an author who knows the outcome so this is a unique account in every way. Don’t expect a traditional structure to this book and you'll be fine. There is a lot of everyday detail in this account that does not appear in the Rise and Fall. A great listen.
"Stunning and beautifully read"
I had read bits of the book years ago but I had forgotten how compelling it was. Shirer's day-by-day picture of life under the Nazis is uncannily accurate with the hindsight of history. He wrote beautifully although his growing loathing of the Nazis makes the later parts of the book more tirade than report -- loathing the Nazis was, of course, justified but I wish Shirer had tried harder to understand why otherwise-rational Germans didn't share his hatred. He often resorts to sweeping stereotypes about "the German character" and he fails to pursue insights on the Nazi use of class resentment and modern media. Still, worth every minute of listening and the reading adds extra resonance to every sentence.
"Exhilarating and informative"
An amazing journey through a time we rarely hear about. A completely new perspective on the war and the litany of errors made before it even started.
Excellent content and well read.
"Great insight into 1930s/40s Germany"
Well worth listening to for anyone interested in the second world war. I liked the fact that it was written at the time, so without the benefit of hindsight - and William Shirer got a lot of things right about how countries would fall to the Nazis. He also showed how the German tactics were the same, country by country, which I hadn't known before.
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