Listen free for 30 days

The Collapse of the Third Republic

An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940
Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 48 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

As an international war correspondent and radio commentator, William L. Shirer didn't just research the fall of France. He was there. In just six weeks, he watched the Third Reich topple one of the world's oldest military powers - and institute a rule of terror and paranoia. 

Based on in-person conversation with the leaders, diplomats, generals, and ordinary citizens who both shaped the events of this time and lived through them on a daily basis, Shirer shapes a compelling account of historical events - without losing sight of the personal experience. 

From the heroic efforts of the Freedom Fighters to the tactical military misjudgments that caused the fall and the daily realities of life for French citizens under Nazi rule, this fascinating and exhaustively documented account from one of the 20th century's most important historians makes the events of the fall accessible to a younger audience in vivid and memorable style.

©2019 William L. Shirer (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

Excellent historical inquiry. Full of interesting detail and well narrated. I would recommend this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Decent, but with some issues

Compared to the same author's book on the rise and fall of the Third Reich, this book unfortunately compares unfavourably. It's still a good listen to anyone interested in the subject and parts of it are excellent.
The issues with the book in my opinion are three fold. The first issue is that the book recycles major parts from the author's book on the Third Reich, the chapters on the years 1938 and 1939 are partially or even fully copied over. I understand that there isn't as much archival information on the Third Republic and that it covers the same history, but I think it should be more focused on the French side of the story, bringing something new to readers who have read the other book.

The other issue is the author's clear lack of understanding in small arms, tanks and planes especially and somewhat in military history overall. To be sure some of it is due to the age of the book, since its obviously based on the understanding back then. But there are some glaring mistakes and just strange ideas here and there.

The third issue is with the author's clear political bias which also leads him to state erroneous facts on economics. To be fair, the author does state in the beginning that he has the most empathy for the "leftish" and socialist parties, but the bias comes through too much in places where it obscures historical events because of the author's political bias leading the narrative.

Still, even with these issues I think the book is good overall and as I mentioned, some chapters are really excellent. If you can look through the errors and the bias, the book does give a good and quite detailed picture of the dramatic events during the end of the French Third Republic.

The narration was great as it is always by Grover Gardner.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 30-05-19

William Shirer and Grover Gardner Do it Again!

It has been some years since I read (listened to) William Shirer's incredible history of the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and I plan to revisit it soon because it was such an amazing and informative listen. I didn't think this one, covering the French Third Republic, would hold my interest anywhere near as much.

I was mistaken. This was utterly fascinating and provided much insight into the ready collapse of the otherwise militarily powerful French in the face of Nazi aggression. This book does a lot to fill in the missing pieces that allowed this terrible war to take hold and is a wonderful complement to Shirer's previous work from the German 'side of the fence'. As usual Grover Gardner does a magnificent job in narrating the work.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Daniel L Carmony
  • Daniel L Carmony
  • 14-05-19

So much information

I bought The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich a couple years ago and absolutely loved it. I found this book and when I saw Grover Gardner did the reading I had to give it a try. I love the way Gardner reads Shirer’s work. It’s as if he was sitting across from you looking into a glass of Scotch and telling you a story.

This is a story of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant works hard all summer to prepare for winter and the grasshopper just plays and relaxes. Then winter comes, there is no food and the grasshopper complains and blames everyone else for its problems. The French government had so many warnings about what Germany was planning and they just stick their heads in the sand.

Shirer goes into so much detail on the subject you will almost be a scholar when you finish the book. The first part of the book is the backstory which starts in the late 1800s. I had a difficult time staying into the book at times because I didn’t know any of the people. Shirer is building a foundation and setting the tone for the eventual collapse of France. The second half of the book I could not get enough of. I throughly enjoyed it and I am thrilled to have it in my collection.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Magnus Brix
  • Magnus Brix
  • 12-05-19

Brilliant

Can't beat living history. Very worthy work by the never disappointing William Shirer. Enjoyed it immensely.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 18-06-19

A Must Read

For those of you have have read or listened to William Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," I'm sure that the majority of you found it to be one of the most compelling books ever written on the Nazi Party. I myself, after being so intimidated for years by it's the exceptional length, thoroughly enjoyed Grover Gardner's narration via Audible. That said, this post isn't about that monumental tomb.

Recently I came across Shirer's "The Collapse of the Third Republic." Tracing back the history of French political instability for close to 80 years, Shirer - a man clearly with affectionate feelings towards the French - dives deep into the underlying root causes that ultimately would lead to the French collapse and defeat to Hitler's Germany in only 6 weeks.

The narrative has long been that, "German had an extreme advantage in terms of technology, especially in tanks, "The German feint through Belgium and ultimate breakout through the Ardenne completely ruined any hope at resisting the armored and aerial superiority of the Germans," along with assertions that the French simply were dealing with the results of WWI, in which at battles like Verdun, German Chief of the General Staff Erich von Falkenhayn's goal was to "bleed France white;" despite all of these having a certain degree of truth to them, Shirer peals back to the lesser known and more impactful events which transpired well before the battle for France had begun to expose the roots of the fall of France.

Personally, as someone who has not spent the majority of his academic career focused on WWII (and especially the French in that conflict,) for anyone interested in WWII and how Hitler was able to conquer the largest, most well supplied and resource-rich nation in all of Europe in a matter of weeks when only a generation prior, arguably a much better land-based military (in terms of leadership and strategy,) slumped to defeat in 1918; this book is absolutely phenomenal.

Again, I preferred to listen via Audible where the same narrator assumes his role as the voice of Shirer -- whether you prefer to read the hard copy or simply listen; I couldn't recommend it more.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for William
  • William
  • 30-10-19

Brilliant dissection of the Fall of France

I am by no means a student of French history, but I have read a number of books on the Third Reich and World War Two. This is by far the best explication of the circumstances leading to the utter collapse of the French army and Republic in a mere six weeks in May and June of 1940. The book is terrifically well written. There isn’t a dull chapter. The reading by Grover Gardner is such a pleasure. His pronunciation of French names, places and terms seemed pretty nearly perfect to me, although I’m hardly a fluent French speaker. I highly recommend this book to any student of twentieth century history or the history of World War Two.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Art
  • Art
  • 09-06-19

Typical Shirer- excellent

As with his other first hand accounts, Shirer brings insights and understanding only available to ‘those who were there.). While certainly painful at times to anyone who loves France, this book is well worth the effort to read and understand.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for peter
  • peter
  • 24-06-19

A brilliant 5 star study

Shirer is easily one of the finest historians I have ever read, up there with Will Durant and Shelby Foote or they are up there with him. I often wondered why France had failed so suddenly and completely in 1940 and what is the flaw that still spoils the Gallic national character even today. Shirer spells it all out with relentless factual detail and Grover Gardner narrates this truly fascinating story with perfect pitch. Highly recommended for anyone curious about one of the 20th century’s most amazing events.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Burt R. Weissman
  • Burt R. Weissman
  • 15-06-19

Enthralling Story of the Fall of France in 1940

Captivating and fascinating; more detailed than available in most narratives pertaining to this topic. An appealing tome for the serious student of this subject.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tamara
  • Tamara
  • 07-06-19

history lover

great narration, lots of details about characters involved so you really get to know them, leads to greater understanding of France's fall.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Y.
  • Y.
  • 11-10-19

Complete

In what area of this great historical tragedy could the author be found wanting? A great scholarly achievement, generates but one response-a thank you.