The final volume in Richard J. Evans's masterly trilogy on the history of Nazi Germany traces the rise and fall of German military might, the mobilization of a "people's community" to serve a war of conquest, and Hitler's campaign of racial subjugation and genocide
Already hailed as "a masterpiece" (William Grimes in The New York Times) and "the most comprehensive history... of the Third Reich" (Ian Kershaw), this epic trilogy reaches its terrifying climax in this volume.
Evans interweaves a broad narrative of the war's progress with viscerally affecting personal testimony from a wide range of people--from generals to front-line soldiers, from Hitler Youth activists to middle-class housewives. The Third Reich at War lays bare the dynamics of a nation more deeply immersed in war than any society before or since. Fresh insights into the conflict's great events are here, from the invasion of Poland to the Battle of Stalingrad to Hitler's suicide in the bunker. But just as important is the re-creation of the daily experience of ordinary Germans in wartime, staggering under pressure from Allied bombing and their own government's mounting demands upon them. At the center of the book is the Nazi extermination of Europe's Jews, set in the context of Hitler's genocidal plans for the racial restructuring of Europe.
Blending narrative, description and analysis, The Third Reich at War creates an engrossing picture--at once sweeping and precise--of a society rushing headlong to self-destruction and taking much of Europe with it. It is the culmination of a historical masterwork that will remain the most authoritative work on Nazi Germany for years to come.
Describing the Third Reich from the height of its power to its collapse, Evans concludes the masterful trilogy that began with The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power. As in those works, Evans demonstrates a fluent style and a sweeping grasp of the Third Reich's history and of the enormous historical literature. The account is peppered with insightful anecdotes drawn from diaries, letters and speeches. What comes across most clearly is the supreme arrogance of the Nazis and the utterly rapacious character of their rule. Evans gives the Holocaust the centrality it deserves, while also depicting effectively the suffering of Poles and many others under Nazi domination. Evans offers a nuanced picture of the lives of Germans, but ultimately, he suggests, the Nazis' racial ideology thoroughly corrupted German society. Evans narrates the Reich's end in gripping fashion as the Allies closed in on Germany. Evans's fellow historians as well as a broader public will read this work, not quite with pleasure, for there is little joy in this story, but with admiration for the author's narrative powers. Illus., maps. (Mar. 23)
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March 17, 2009
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