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The Third Reich: A New History

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,382 ratings  ·  66 reviews
A Major Study of One of the Twentieth Century's Darkest Periods

Until now there has been no up-to-date, one-volume, international history of Nazi Germany, despite its being among the most studied phenomena of our time. The Third Reich restores a broad perspective and intellectual unity to issues that have become academic subspecialties and offers a brilliant new interpretat
Paperback, 992 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Hill and Wang (first published November 2nd 2000)
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Mark Walker No. Muddled. Flits. Lacks structure. Functional prose.

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Lewis Weinstein
I have read the first 130+ pages, until 1930. This is an excellent history, written after most of the other standards. The author is not reluctant to express his opinion. Here are a few quotes ...

... German elites and masses of ordinary people chose to abdicate their individual critical faculties in favor of a politics based on faith, hope, hatred and sentimental collective self-regard for their own race and nation … leading to an almost total moral collapse of an advanced industrial civilizatio
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is not a book of detailed accounts of events, characters, and military success and failure of the Third Reich. It is neither a Hitler-centered overview of his dictatorship. This is a book of insightful interpretation on how the carefully crafted Nazi propaganda replaced religion in Germany to become the one-party regime of those convoluted 1920-30.

Michael Burleigh's main thesis is that the upcoming of Nazisms can be understood as a spurious religious movement. Nazism carefully design Hitle
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Germanists, European Historians, Students of the Holocaust
Recommended to Michael by: Serendipity
To begin with: this book is not what expected or hoped for. In my life as a reviewer and student of the Third Reich, I am often asked for a book that will serve as an introduction for interested individuals with no training in history, who want something better than the History Channel or William Shirer. This book is not that. Burleigh is not a popular history writer, and this book is no introduction. At several points, he says “much has already been written about” an aspect or that “there is no ...more
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
Not for the faint of heart, a complex history of the Third Reich with an incredible amount of detail. Not for bed time reading or to just dip into. An incredibly depressing but fascinating account of man’s inhumanity to man and not just from the Nazis themselves many countries inflicted suffering on others for revenge and cultural/racial differences. It wasn’t just a case of a battle of good and evil, there were many factions fighting within countries with their own agenda. This book draws all t ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
An extremely dissatisfied people. The economy has tanked and there are grumblings everywhere. The government is perceived to be corrupt and incompetent. Many have lost their jobs and those who have not worked before cannot find any. The country had lost a war, with massive loss of lives and resources. There seems to be no clear path to recovery.

From this morass rose a leader who succeeds in capturing the imagination of the people. His speeches are mesmerising, his eyes sincere and hypnotic, and
Michael Pugh
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The claims made on the rear cover of this book, an example being, "However familiar with the story you may think you are, this book will surprise you" were true, I found. This book is one of, if not the best book on history that I have read - its accessibility, its clarity, its interpretation and its deliberate engagement in-text with common and fashionable beliefs surrounding the Nazis make this book a must-read. If you want to better understand the Nazis and if you want to understand the Holoc ...more
Anne Cupero
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have read a great deal about the Third Reich and I find that this book should not be your first but it is by far one of the best. Erudite language and very recent research (Fallada for example) makes it a terrific addition to Shirer, Friedlander, et al.
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-history
A great book that doesn't focus on the military for a change. Coming from a military obsessed scholar, it's a refreshing change. Most of the details in the book aren't shocking to me, being an avid fan of third Reich history. This book does shed light on how horrible not just Hitler is, but also the regime that he came into. A very drudging book to read, but worth every single page. I will def recommend this to anyone who is bored of the military Third Reich. ...more
Derek Osbourne
Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" my view remains one of the best narratives of the Third Reich but Michael Burleigh's book moves more into the solciology and psychology of the rise of the evil empire, its pathological destructiveness and its inevitable and self indulgent version of Ragnarok. All driven by egotistical, narcissistic and non-empathetic monsters.

And as I read on and on - particularly about how the rise was accomplished by playing on the fears of those who felt left behind, exp
Cian Davis
May 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Right then.. incredible work of scholarship with a thread of argument that is followed coeherently throughout its >800 pages and put forward persuasively. It refuses to elaborate on the more pornographic and lurid details of the Nazi regime which I think is really admirable. The state is examined in an analytic fashion, deliberately refusing to engage in the macarbe and returning humanity to the innumerable victims. It assumes a lot of basic knowledge about the underlying story and it is very de ...more
Stewart Cotterill
I thought that all of the well researched books concerning the Third Reich has been written. How wrong I was.

This book, with its breadth of knowledge of all the various elements that made the Third Reich, even outside of the well documented political and military spheres, delivers a tour de force which leaves the reader stunned at its conclusion.

There are things I never knew that I’ve discovered from this book. Not all of them have made me feel comfortable, that is the gift of this remarkable wo
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As brilliantly successful as it is staggeringly ambitious, Burleigh's "New History" of the Third Reich is rightly regarded as a classic work of history. Not for the faint of heart, both because of the material he covers and the sheer scope and resultant page count. This is no mere survey or work of "popular" history, but a serious scholarly investigation into the phenomenon of Nazism from its birth as a sordid revenge-fantasy in the post-apocalyptic chaos of post-WWI Bavaria to its grisly self-i ...more
Timothy Taylor
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
. . . Dangerous admission for an academic prehistorian but this is (genuinely) the first really full length (almost 1000 pages with notes) history book I have ever read cover-to-cover. I have another Burleigh lined up, courtesy of my brother-in-law, so it will not be the last. In terms of sentence structure the man needed a subeditor - there are too many garbled sentences. But that's not what one reads it for, and it is actually pretty literate and expressive on the whole (the mistakes forgivab ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A very in depth read that goes into the details that other books do not.Be warned though, this assumes that the reader has prior knowledge of the main facts and then delves deeper into how things actually worked in the Third Reich.It brings up a load of forgotten heroes that history deserves to remember such as people who spoke out against the Nazis when it was not safe to do so.It shows how barbaric the Nazis were and how they went about killing people and making people go along with it.Some of ...more
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This took more time than anticipated, both because of the enormity of the subject matter and material, and because of Burleigh's challenging, almost literary writing style--which can test readers already exhausted by the emotionally and statistically weighty subject. This is not your average McCullough or Chernow (nor should it be, I think, given the subject), but I couldn't help but make comparisons to Robert Caro's masterfully accessible presentation of incredibly dense material. Nonetheless, ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
An excellent and thorough review of the Third Reich. I especially liked the moral outlook of the history: the leading figures of Nazism are not made out to be super villians, but seen as weak and frightened and unsuccessful men, full of issues, with a new big stick to beat the world with. And the account of the early assault on civility and its importance to the whole project is wonderful - as historians until the mid 19th century knew, the manners of a people are very important. Burleigh brings ...more
Mike Love
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think this came out around 2000 because I remember reading it in hard back in about 2001. Ten years on just re-read it on my Kindle. that's progress for you. I still think this is one of the
very best accounts of the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. it is awe inspiring in its breadth and depth for a single volume work and is both thoughtful and insightful in the analysis of the collective slide into lunacy of a whole nation.
Brian Kenny
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A very informative account of the entire history of the third Reich from its rise and fall. A book that is popular with academics and students, generally people that have an interest in this dark period. The most detailed book available which is well researched on every single aspect of Nazi Germany.
Oct 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Long and dense, but worth it. Compelling argues how Nazism became the equivilent of a state religion.
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best histories of Nazi Germany I have ever read. The chapter on eugenics is excellent.
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A worthy companion to Shirer, with additional insight and analysis
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
From the very beginning, I knew this was going to be a hard book for me to read. Call me cultural relativist, Soviet apologist, whataboutist or anything you want. I think most of the people use the word “totalitarian” as a catchall for governments they do not like. That is not to say I do not find it a useful term, that there are no similarities between the Nazis and the Soviets, or to discredit Michael Burleigh, who at the time was the editor of “Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions.” ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
THIS is a thorough research!
For the fans of the movie "Valkyrie" (2008.), here is an excerpt from the book:
"Two final observations might be made about the plot that failed, since it is sometimes seen as a case of acting at ten to twelve, or as doomed to failure. In the nine months following the 20 July plot, nearly five million German civilians and soldiers lost their lives, not to speak of Allied and Soviet fatalities, or entire Jewish communities murdered in the final frenzy. Moderating or pre
Sami Eerola
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A bit too partial for my taste (Nazis where pieces of shit) but still a comprehensible book about the history of Nazi-Germany. The most refreshing thing about this book, is that the writer is a bit right wing, so here he scolds communists a bit, writing that their terrorism in Weimar Republic was on of the factors that helped Nazi-propaganda to be taken more seriously. The writer is a staunch liberal centrist, that does not shy his loathing for the far-left and far-right in this book. Here the w ...more
Philip Talmage
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
No-one who has read this book would wonder why the Nazis did not surrender once it was clear that they could no longer win. Nor could they imagine that the holocaust was some kind of mythic exaggeration. Or that, somehow, it might have been possible for ordinary Germans to have mounted serious opposition from within Hitler's demented totalitarian police state.
At more than 800 pages, plus 100 pages of referenced notes, it's not an easy read - in any sense.
Robert Adlam
VERY disappointing! Reads like an opinion piece. Not long into the book you know the author's political leanings. About a third of the way through the book I thought 'Maybe this is Michael Burleigh's Mein Kampf'! Interesting opinions, but too many factual inaccuracies and too few citations to check for truth of statements of 'fact'. So disappointing... ...more
Tanel Pärss
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great account about the internal workings and atrocities of 3rd Reich and the nazi regime - only question that remains after reading it, is whether some day somewhere the breakdown of civility at that level can happen again. I would not put my money against it...
Peter Williams
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished! Not easy. Worthwhile (just). Pleased I had read Kershaw first. Understandable anger and disgust about the politics and actions of the Third Reich. Found the occasional snide asides about people tangential to the main story a little shallow. Likes to use obscure (to me) words!
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: war, history
Pretty hard going. In parts far too detailed for easy consumption, while totally skipping parts that in imo needed explaining (e.g. how did Hitler manage to re-arm in contradiction of the dictates of Versailles).
Dan Cohen
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Very good history book - does what it says on the tin.
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Michael Burleigh is a British author and historian.
In 1977 Michael Burleigh took a first class honours degree in Medieval and Modern History at University College London, winning the Pollard, Dolley and Sir William Mayer prizes. After a PhD in medieval history in 1982, he went on to hold posts at New College, Oxford, the London School of Economics, and Cardiff where he was Distinguished Research P

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