• The Third Reich at War

  • By: Richard J. Evans
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 35 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,294 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Listen to previous volumes in Richard J. Evans' Third Reich trilogy.
©2009 Richard J. Evans (P)2010 Gildan Media Corp
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Masterful….Evans demonstrates a fluent style and a sweeping grasp of the Third Reich’s history and of the enormous historical literature….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 listen to this work, not quite with pleasure, for there is little joy in this story, but with admiration for the author’s narrative powers.” ( Publisher’s Weekly)

What listeners say about The Third Reich at War

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Masterful

The series, taken as a whole, sets the standard for WWII history. These cannot be overlooked, or diminished. Indeed, it is difficult to adequately describe how well researched and written are each of these three volumes. I have read or listened to every history of WWII I have been able to find (well over 50) in English, Russian and French, and up until now Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" was, I felt, the definitive historical account of Nazi Germany (if you haven't read/listened to it, you should) even though it was published over 50 years ago. This series surpasses that exceptional work.
This volume is superlative. If you enjoy World War Two history you CANNOT skip this volume, in particular!

37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent history

Well written, well narrated. Most WWII histories dwell on the military aspect, this comes from the other side defining (as well as is possible with such a subject) the thought processes and actions that led to the horrors of the war. The author tells a good story, entertaining, as well as informative while weaving in first person accounts to reinforce his narrative. A long book but you'll be sorry when it ends.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Simply wonderful

The first thing to say about this entire series is that all 3 books form a wonderful history of the Third Reich. It also seems important to mention that this volume is a history of the Third Reich during the war, not the Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine or Wehrmacht, so there is only limited coverage of the actual battles.

Rather this book concerns itself mostly with government policy concerning those living inside Germany itself and the occupied territories. It is very detailed and I found some sections on the extermination camps very emotionally painful to get through. The book also does not cover some areas that I would like to have heard about. For example, how were Allied soldiers who were minorities treated in prison camps? Did the Wehrmacht follow the Geneva Convention rules or not? What was the relationship between the Wehrmacht and the SS? Since the book is about government policy these areas were not covered in any detail.

Regardless this book, as well as the preceding two volumes, form an invaluable history and should be required reading for anyone who wants to know about the Second World War in Europe. I also agree with another reviewer who suggested that these books, along with Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, should both be read since they are complimentary. Highly recommended.

19 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Just do it.

This review is for the entire series. My contribution to the pile of reviews starts with the observation that the work cannot be compared to any other book about WWII or, really, any other history. I'm tolerably well read in the area, and this set of books is unique.

At the outset, I found the narrator troublesome. But, just as I have found on long walks, as I progressed, I realized that his delivery fit the material. Nothing hurried, nothing emotional, nothing dramatic. If you've been to the Viet Nam memorial in DC, you'll know what I mean. It isn't the individual names, but the total list; it isn't the granduer of the monument, it is the monumental display of horror. You, too, will get over it and then take comfort in the methodical recitation of what happened to all the unwanted, particularly the Jewish people.

Some of the reviews complained about the relatively short shrift given to military history and some technological flaws. There are excellent military histories that cover this ground; readers of this book only need that material for contextual reference. For instance, the history of the period we're just passing through isn't about the individual money scams, the individual mortgages and speculations or the indivdual stories of growing disparities in income and assets; rather, it is about the how these individual events came about to overwhelm the financial system as a whole. So it is with Nazi Germany.

For as long as this book is around, it will be difficult for people to deny the Holocaust and it will be difficult to repeat what Hitler and his followers were able to do. Just read it.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

I give up

I'm halfway through this epic piece of research, but I can't take any more. I was hoping for the promised "fresh insights into the conflict’s great events" but instead found an impenetrable listing of one Nazi atrocity after another. From time to time the book threatened to become original and interesting, particularly when examining the Nazi wartime economy and internal power struggles, but these gems were so few and far between the vast and gut-wrenching slogs through Nazi horrors I cannot find the will to go on.
Furthermore, the narrative tying these events together can best be compared to that of a text book (in other words, it's almost absent).
To experience what this book intended, I recommend The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great history well spoken but...

I cannot understand why a history of this quality would have such affectations both from the writer and the narrator. The author in his preface says he's going to Anglicize certain German words for ease of understanding. Mein Kampf becomes "my struggle" and Der Fuehrer becomes "the leader". These two German terms are so well known that it's hard to listen to their being spoken this way. "The leader" is often confusing. Which leader are we talking about now?

The narrator has done a great job with German and other language terms. But there are glaring mistakes. For example the Reichstag is not pronounced as tag as in license tag but as tahg with a soft g, almost a ch sound. Other such gaffs should have been caught in the editing.

All this makes for a feeling of amateurishness, marring an otherwise superb history.

All three volumes are topical and sequential but not a narrative history with in depth treatments of many important topics like the origins of racial policy and the economics of the Reich. How did Hitler pay for rearmament? It's easy engrossing listening that explains a great deal about how a well educated population could be psychically captured by a lunatic. It's a lesson that will endure.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Very misleading and repetitive.

This book is not about the Third Reich at war. The vast majority of this book is dedicated to all the ways the Third Reich killed jews. And as horrible as the genocide of the jews was, all this book does is go into every detail of how they were killed. Every event, and different methods of extermination, etc. Little to nothing about any actual battles, or anything else. It should be titled "The Thousand Ways the Nazis killed jews.". Overall, very repetitive and monotonous.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Good over view on the war.

Full of inaccuracies mainly in the technical comparisons of certain weapon systems, an example would be the statement that the Hurricane fighter was the equal of the Me109, ie.

Overall it’s a fairly good book for a person that’s unfamiliar in the area. Has a lot of details that are interesting.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent series of books -- HORRIBLE reader

The series of books by Richard Evans is great, and you really should read them in order - however that is not required. I will say The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a much easier to follow and more entertaining book and it's reader is on a level that this book reader could never hope to obtain. I would highly recommend that book over this series if you could only have one. However I think you'd be best served to listen to both. This series gives more of an in-depth at the day to day lives of Germans and helps you have a better understanding of the war in general and how Germany became the place it did.

I give it a high recommend which would be much higher if it wasn't read by such an amateur. The reader is extremely poor and does a great disservice to this book. After about 50 hours (between the 3 books) I think I finally started to get used to him so I wasn't as annoyed by the readers inability to know when to pause in a sentence and his extremely monotone voice. Overall however the reader is awful and has no business doing so much as reading a 2-line power point presentation.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

The worst WWII book I have ever came accross

We all know how Nazi were bad and did bad things. I listened 3 chapters out of 4 and it keep telling me all cruelty the nazy did again and again for every single minute, so for me it is not an accurated description of history or the theird reich himself as it has proposed to be.
This book title should be "Third Reich at War agains Jews"
The previous books are good piece of history but this one should be put in the "Politics" shelf.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • julien
  • 11-08-18

misleading title

this book is an history of the third reich jewish policies during the war. I hoped it would be a military history book on how the third reich waged war, tactics, equipment and german point of view. Instead you get a tedious and detailed list of massacres, just in case we forgot that the jews suffered a lot. Seriously, the first 13h are just a list of jewish massacres, i gave up after that...

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • jules
  • 06-25-18

A little brief

was looking forward to this one but the author skips over climatic events within a couple of paragraphs. the main of the book concerns concentration camps and the final solution.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Avid reader
  • 08-16-14

Good book. Dreadful reader

What did you like best about The Third Reich at War? What did you like least?

I appreciated the effort and research required to portray the reality of the horror people suffered during the post World War I up to the end of world War II experienced. At worst it was sometimes too graphic for too long. That tends to dull the senses.

What did you like best about this story?

The horror of war is not to be liked. At best we can learn and remember not to repeat it.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

In every possible way. I have never listened to three books - read successively by the same reader - that were read with such sad neglect of proper pausing, intonation and whatever other crimes a narrator can be guilty of. One would have thought or hoped that there had been an overseer of sorts who might have been able to guide the narrator. If it had been my books -I listened to the series of three - i might have torn my heart out. I often had to rewind to get the correct meaning when a sentence ended in mid-air, so to speak. I hardly think the author inserted all those unappropriated commas and full-stops.

Did The Third Reich at War inspire you to do anything?

Yes, to avoid the narrator at all cost.

Any additional comments?

This book and its twi predecessors were done an insult.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Embree
  • 08-01-21

Misleading

Not a book about the Third Reich at war but of the Third Reich's war crimes and genocide. Not for those looking for a book about military campaigns or a strategic or operational level history. I gave up after 15 or so hours of listening to endless details about various executions and murders.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rev David Linaker
  • 06-07-19

A great scholarly work marred by terrible narration

In common with the other two books in the series, the scholarship is flawless, but the narration appalling, with the narrator unable properly to pronounce simple proper nouns. As a result this seriously detracted from enjoyment of the excellent text.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • crabbit101
  • 04-30-15

Superb

The best history of the third reich I've read. Slightly annoyed by some poor pronunciation by the narrator at times!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Quincy
  • 11-13-14

This is not a military history of WW2

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This book is about the Germans at War rather than about Germany at war. Its a social account primarily rather than a military one.

Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Performance was very good.

Was The Third Reich at War worth the listening time?

Yes, but not as a military history. There are many more complete books out there which cover it in greater depth and detail.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eva
  • 11-15-13

...at war

What did you like most about The Third Reich at War?

As with previous two books in this trilogy, the writting was perfect- easy to follow and narration without any faults. Perfect combination of great book and great reader.

What other book might you compare The Third Reich at War to, and why?

There are so many books one could compare this book with on the market, but hands down- this one best for me as I rather like story of the "little people". Here on audible there is a bit outdated, but still great book, by american correspondent William L. Shirer, one of the best books written by somebody who actually was there. It is called "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and while not completely up to date on quite a few facts and with some obvious onesided beliefs which are now known to be incorrect, it is also a great listen. It is also worth to read Albert Speer's memoirs as while now known to be full of half truths and complete lies, it does portray the era pretty well. There are many of the diaries and letters which were later published by themselves and which Evans uses in this trilogy and they are all great background read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TIM
  • 04-13-13

THE THIRD REICH AT WAR

A FASCINATING INSIGHT INTO THE THIRD REICHS WAR, THE BRUTALITY OF THE SS, THE INITIAL SUCCESS AND THEN DEVASTATNG DEFEATS OF THE WEHRMACHT AND THE HORRORS FACED BY THE CIVILIAN POPULATION AS HITLERS THOUSAND YEAR REICH COLLAPSED IN RUINS

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • james
  • 12-01-21

Revealing, disturbing and compelling

Don't often write reviews but after listening to this trilogy i felt compelled to comment. The breadth and depth of the Richard J. Evans' researches is comprehensive and the insights he offers to the Third Reich are revealing and often quite disturbing, especially once the Nazis plunge Europe into war. Sean Pratt does an outstanding job of narrating the story too. If you are interested in our recent European past especially rhe period of WW2 then i recommend you listen to this trilogy.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr Denis M McPhillips
  • 05-28-22

Brilliant, Harrowing. Compelling.

This is a profoundly moving conclusion to his trilogy. Richard Evans has avoided a chronological account of the Third Reich opting instead for a thematic, granular account of immense power and conviction.
Some annoying inaccuracies in the audio version distract but do not detract from its overall impact. Just terrific.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim Lehmann
  • 05-02-18

Comprehensive and fascinating

Well written, concise and researched, with good narration (a few mistakes that should've been edited out, but otherwise very easy to listen to). Recommended

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 01-28-18

Thorough. Accessible.

This book was thorough both in the period it covered and the detail it provided. The narrative was clear and engaging. The narrator was calm and authoritative. It was an informative and thoughtful book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew
  • 04-13-17

Not great

It's an average book, with little to make it distinctive from any other books on ww2 Germany.. It also has a very heavy focus on the Holocaust rather than the military story of the Third Reich.

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