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The Third Reich: A New History by Michael…

The Third Reich: A New History (2000)

by Michael Burleigh

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This was a well-written book about a terrible story. Burleigh does a good job in presenting a balanced appraisal of the Third Reich in the context of its times, and does not spare either the Western Allies or the USSR when he finds examples of their hypocrisy or shared culpability in what happened in the nightmarish 1940s. The book was a tough read at times, since the author has a predilection for long sentences, and now and then he seemed to wander from the subject at hand. Well worth a read, for those who still think that Hitler's Germany was a state like any other -- it most certainly was not. ( )
  oparaxenos | Nov 27, 2015 |
Burleigh writes an epic, sweeping history of the rise of Nazism in Germany, the Second World War, and its immediate aftermath. Though there are many books about Hitler and the War, Burleigh manages to write a new book covering Nazism as political religion and Nazi totalitarianism including eugenics, mass murder etc. He offers a chillingly comprehensive account of the programme of mass sterilisation against Gypsies, Jews, and the mentally ill. Burleigh is very good at describing this progressively deteriorating position of the "undesirables" and it makes for uncomfortable reading. Though the author's underlying premise means he must often make comparisons to Stalinist Russia, these are few and brief. Nevertheless, the chapters on the pieces that together made up the jigsaw of the Holocaust are valuable and haunting. Overall, the book is indeed emotionally draining as the reader is forced to confront time and again "man's inhumanity to man" but nevertheless, the reader should persevere for it is a rewarding historical study. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
NO OF PAGES: 965 SUB CAT I: Holocaust SUB CAT II: SUB CAT III: DESCRIPTION: Humans have a fascination with evil. We long to identify it, quantify it, and understand it. To this end, newspapers frequently splash photographs of murderers with the caption "The face of evil." Heading most lists of the 20th century's most evil people would be Adolf Hitler, but, as Michael Burleigh's tour de force makes clear, evil is not always as cut-and-dried as we would like. The Nazis could not have come to power and committed Germany to a policy of war and genocide without the tacit consent of the German people. This makes Germany as a whole responsible for the crimes committed in its name, but it is clearly wrong to label every German as evil. Through his painstaking research and direct prose, Burleigh slowly builds up a picture of a people desperate for identity and economic prosperity, who, bit by bit, closed off their conscience as the price of their dreams. There was no one cathartic moment when Germany, under the Third Reich, lapsed from goodness into badness; rather, there was an incremental realignment of a collective morality. Burleigh's explanation of this phenomenon is so simple, yet so obviously right, that you can only wonder that it didn't become the generally accepted currency years ago.
Instead of viewing Nazi Germany in purely social, political, and economic terms--though he doesn't ignore these spheres--Burleigh wraps them all into a picture of a country gripped in a religious, messianic fervor, and that which had previously felt inexplicable suddenly seems clear. If you want the nitty-gritty details of the Second World War and the genocide, they are here, retold as well as, if not better than, many of the other histories of this period. But it's Burleigh's take on the people of Germany that makes this book so special. Above all, with similar genocidal wars currently being fought in Kosovo, Rwanda, and Iraq, it makes you think, "Would I be able to resist becoming complicit in such regimes?" This is a must for every 20th-century historian.NOTES: Donated by Patricia Irwin. SUBTITLE: A New History
  BeitHallel | Feb 18, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330487574, Paperback)

In this riveting book, Michael Burleigh sets Nazi Germany in a European context, showing how the Third Reich's abandonment of liberal democracy, decency and tolerance was widespread in the Europe of the period. He shows how a radical, pseudo-religious movement, led by an oddity with dazzling demagogic talents, seemed to offer salvation to a German exhausted by war, depression and galloping inflation. 'This is a monumental book.' Richard Overy, Sunday Telegraph 'If I had to recommend one book on the Third Reich, this would be it.' Daniel Johnson, Daily Telegraph 'It is a breathtaking achievement, at once broader and deeper than any other single volume ever published on the subject. Indeed I would go further: it is the product of authentic historical genius.' Niall Ferguson, Sunday Times 'Happily, Michael Burleigh now fills that bibliographical gap, with a readable and highly knowledgeable account of that ghastly period. You will never be bored by this extraordinary book.' Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:59 -0400)

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Winner of the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction - 2001.

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