• The Nightmare Years, 1930-1940

  • Twentieth Century Journey Series, Book 2
  • By: William L. Shirer
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 26 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (145 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The famous journalist and author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich documents his front row seat at the pivotal events leading up to World War II. 

In the second of a three-volume series, William L. Shirer tells the story of his own eventful life, detailing the most notable moments of his career as a journalist stationed in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. Shirer was there while Hitler celebrated his new domination of Germany, unleashed the Blitzkrieg on Poland, and began the conflict that would come to be known as World War II. This remarkable account tells the story of an American reporter caught in a maelstrom of war and politics, desperately trying to warn Europe and the United States about the dangers to come. 

This memoir gives listeners a chance to relive one of the most turbulent periods in 20th-century history - painting a stunningly intimate portrait of a dangerous decade.

©1984, 2014 William L. Shirer (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Nightmare Years, 1930-1940

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None better

Shirers book is doubly excellent First by the very nature of the many eyewitness accounts of this man to things in history one can only imagine. Second by the always expert reading by Gardner Listen how Shirer repeatedly comes within easy observing distance of Hitler , Mussolini, Ghandi and countless others
The very best book I have. Of over 2000. Yes it’s that good

9 people found this helpful

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Best of audible

Wonderful narration. Having lived through many of those years, it brought so many memories. Having traveled so many years, the descriptions of cafes, neighborhood and streets in Paris and Berlin allowed me to relive my own travels. He speaks of Barcelona, the Estoril in Portugal and the river Tagus. I was able to recall Chamberlin, the Munich treaty, the rail car where the Germans surrendered in ww1 and the French in Ww2. Overall a great read.

5 people found this helpful

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Just like being there

As the author recounts the historic events he has witnessed, the many conversations he had with top Nazi ,Gestapo or SS brass.
Or the tours of the front lines provided to him by nazi generals.
The detail of what he is seeing is amazing
It made me feel like I was riding With him.
The war as seen from the other perspective sheds light on everything fromGerman brutality to troop moral and destruction seen as the German army advances with the French and British in retreat.

3 people found this helpful

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Long deep read

While long and at times, overwhelming with names and dates, this is an amazing memoir offering an American newsman's perspective of Nazi Germany from within Germany at the time of Hitler's rise. The detail and anecdotes are superb. Grover Gardner is flawless as always!

1 person found this helpful

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Supplements Shier’s other books

This book borrows from both of Shier’s diaries as welll as rise and fall of the third Reich and fall of the third republic. However if you like these books you won’t mind hearing the bits and pieces from the other books as they tend to be really some of Shier’s more memorable and moving writing- Rhineland seizure/ speech after, Munich , detailed descriptions of the fall of France. I also enjoyed the more personal touch in this book- shier gives you bits and pieces of his life and I knew his wife had struggled with a rough childbirth around the time of the seizure of Austria but he goes into greater detail and actually reveals the obstetrician left an instrument inside of her abdomen causing her postoperative course to be far from smooth! This is just one example of the many anecdotes that bring the story to life. If you enjoy history start with rise and fall of third Reich- read that a few times- then his diaries and then the nightmare years . But I loved it

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I feel privileged to have listened to this book

To understand this time in history one must read William Shirer to know the West and Vasily Grossman to understand the East. WWII history on the European continent cannot begin without their wonderful and insightful first-person contributions. And to have this story read by Grover Gardner makes it one of my most cherished books on the digital shelf. I have now read all of Shirer's books. Say it ain't so!

* Some stories are taken from Berlin Diaries and others, but to me, that's not a problem.

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Essential listening

If you want a realistic overview of the 20th century Shirer is essential reading. This was real journalism when you could trust the reporting and understand what was happening. Shirer tells the story of pre WW2 including Afghanistan India and Europe in general. Wiki never tells these stories because they don’t fit the slanted agenda. Really great listening with the best narrator ever.

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  • PC
  • 02-16-21

fantastic!

this Was an excellent book And definitely worth a listen. The performance in reading of the book was also outstanding

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Profound

Enjoyed every minute. Absolutely rivetting. Discovered much about WWII I didn't know and with the personal touch of Shirer woven through each chapter it read like a novel as much as a history book.

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Great Description of the Third Reich

Great review of the Third Reich from a personal perspective. Shirer is a sensitive, thoughtful observer, and also a good writer.

The reader was also excellent: great performance, and also good pronunciation in English, German, and French.

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  • Dai pp. Sandy
  • 05-01-20

The Truth will out

I was born 3 years after the second WW2 ended and grew up regailed by stories of the atrocities committed by the German nation and their allies. My mothers first husband had died of his wounds suffered whilst serving in the Kings Own in Italy 1945. My first job was working for an Austrian who had been a POW and later I served in a Government Dept were my senior officer was an ex member of the SS Hitler jugend division. How on earth can you equate these good men with murderous regime of Adolph Hitler. Now after listening to this brilliant book I can understand the brain washing of a nation. Listen and be warned is it happening again North Korea?

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  • mcfontaine
  • 05-22-20

Wonderfully detailed

Shirer’s writing is always so descriptive. You can see why, with Ed Murrow, he basically invented radio reporting. Grover Gardner is such a brilliant narrator, warm and poignant in his delivery.