William L. Shirer

William L. Shirer

William Shirer (1904-1993) was originally a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and was the first journalist hired by Edward R. Murrow for what would become a team of journalists for CBS radio. Shirer distinguished himself and quickly became known for his broadcasts from Berlin during the rise of the Nazi dictatorship through the first year of World War II. Shirer was the first of "Edward R. Murrow's Boys" - broadcast journalists - who provided news coverage during World War II and afterward. It was Shirer who broadcast the first uncensored eyewitness account of the annexation of Austria. Shirer is best known for his books The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich which won the National Book Award and Berlin Diary.

Featured Books By Author

William L. Shirer Twentieth Century Journey

World-renowned journalist and best-selling author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer was an important witness to the rise of Nazi Germany.
The Start (1904-1930): In the first of a three-volume series, he tells the story of his early life.

The Nightmare Years (1930-1940): In the second of a three-volume series, Shirer chronicles his time in Europe as Hitler dominated Germany and began one of the most dangerous conflicts in world history.

A Native’s Return (1945-1988): The most personal of the three volumes, this edition offers an honest look at the many personal and professional setbacks Shirer experienced after World War II ended-and a fascinating take on the aftermath of the war.

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"This Is Berlin"

For over a decade, William L. Shirer worked as a news broadcaster for CBS in Europe. His tenure saw the rise of Adolf Hitler in the early 1930’s, the start of World War II, and the earliest stages of the Nazi invasion of Europe. This selection of his iconic broadcasts compiles two and a half years’ worth of war-time broadcasts from Shirer’s time on the ground during World War II. He was with Nazi forces when Hitler invaded Austria and made it a part of Germany under the Anchluss; he was also the first to report back to the United States on the armistice between France and Nazi forces in June of 1940. His daily round-up of news from Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Rome, and London, which documented Nazi Germany and the conditions of countries under invasion and at war, was looked to for guidance and information. He was the first journalist hired by CBS to cover World War II in Europe, and his radio broadcasts became famous for their gripping urgency. Shirer brought a sense of immediacy to the war for listeners in the United States and worldwide, and his later books on the war, including the seminal Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, became definitive works on World War II history.

This collection of Shirer’s radio broadcasts offers all the original suspense and vivid storytelling of the time, bringing World War II to life for a modern audience. Shirer’s first-hand series of accounts from countries throughout Europe is a vivid unfolding of events from the perspective of an eye-witness.

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Berlin Diary

A radio broadcaster and journalist for Edward R. Murrow at CBS, William Shirer was new to the world of broadcast journalism when he began keeping a diary while in Europe during the 1930s. It was in 1940, still a virtual unknown, that Shirer wondered whether his reminiscences of the collapse of the world around Nazi Germany could be of any interest or value as a book.

Shirer’s Berlin Diary, which is considered the first full record of what was happening in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich, first appeared in 1941. The book was an instant success. But how did Shirer get such a valuable firsthand account? He had anonymous sources willing to speak with him, provided their identity remained protected and disguised so as to avoid retaliation from the Gestapo. Shirer recorded his and others’ eyewitness views to the horror that Hitler was inflicting on his people in his effort to conquer Europe. Shirer continued his job as a foreign correspondent and radio reporter for CBS until Nazi press censors made it virtually impossible for him to do his job with any real accuracy. He left Europe, taking with him the invaluable, unforgettable (and horrific) contents of his Berlin Diary.

Berlin Diary brings the reader as close as any reporter has ever been to Hitler and the rise of the Third Reich. Shirer’s honest, lucid and passionate reporting of the brutality with which Hitler came to power and the immediate reactions of those who witnessed these events is for all time.

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William L. Shirer