William L. Shirer

William L. Shirer

William Shirer 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, accounting 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 has seen millions of copies in print and is considered a seminal work on the Nazi party and the war, as well as his book Berlin Diary.

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Berlin Diary

4.31  

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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The Sinking of the Bismarck

4.13  

The Bismark wasn’t just any warship. Its guns were much stronger and more accurate than any others in its day—meaning it could easily sink enemy ships without getting in range of their fire. It was one of Hitler’s most powerful weapons, and the Allied forces had to put it out of commission—before they lost the war. With the fate of the world in the balance, Allied forces chased the Bismark across the stormy North Atlantic—culminating in a thrilling sea battle that changed the course of World War II.

Unfolding with the taut suspense of a blockbuster movie, this book brings the excitement and danger of World War II to younger audiences—and demonstrates William L. Shirer’s mastery as a writer of history and a spinner of tales.

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The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler

4.05  

American journalist and author William L. Shirer was a correspondent for six years in Nazi Germany-and had a front-row seat for Hitler's rise to power. His most definitive work on the subject, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, is a riveting account defined by first-person experience interviewing Hitler, watching his impassioned speeches, and living in a country transformed by war and dictatorship.

William Shirer was originally commissioned to write The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler for a young adult audience. This account loses none of the immediacy of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich-capturing Hitler's rise from obscurity, the horror of Nazi Germany's mass killings, and the paranoia and insanity that marked Hitler's downfall. This book is by no means simplified-and is sure to appeal to adults as well as young people with an interest in World War II history.

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William L. Shirer