per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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Rise and Fall
dream
evcelt
Just finished reading "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". An excellent book... both fascinating and harrowing. Some of it is (of course) dated- an obvious example is that Shirer didn't know about the Enigma decrypts- but a lot of his assessments seem valid, and he had both a personal perspective and access to a truly staggering amount of primary sources. He manages to be quite objective, though his sense of outrage and disgust comes clearly through his writing.

I know that the academic reception for the book was often quite frosty, but it's hard to tell how much of that was because he was a "mere journalist". There is some legitimate doubt about the validity of the Sonderweg explanation of the rise of Nazism, which he supported, and he certainly was overly pessimistic about Germany's future.

But it provides an important reminder. To quote the last sentences of the book:

Perhaps it will help too if the erring governments and the wondering people of this world will remember the dark night of Nazi terror and genocide that almost engulfed our world and that is the subject of this book. Remembrance of the past helps us to understand the present.

Or, to quote the excellent Smithsonian article on the book:

There is danger in giving up our sense of selfhood for the illusory unity of a frenzied mass movement, of devolving from human to herd for some homicidal abstraction. It is a problem we can never be reminded of enough, and for this we will always owe William Shirer a debt of gratitude.

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I need to read that. It is on my wishlist

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