The Third Reich by Michael Burleigh
A New History

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Synopsis

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 interpretation of Hitler's evil rule. 

Filled with human and moral considerations that are missing from theoretical accounts, Michael Burleigh's book gives full weight to the experience of ordinary people who were swept up in, or repelled by, Hitler's movement. It emphasizes, as well, the international themes -- for Nazi Germany appealed to the political classes and the ordinary people of many European nations, its wartime conduct included efforts to dominate the entire continent's economy, and its murderous policies involved gigantic population transfers and exterminations, recruitment of foreign labor, and multinational armies. 

What happened when many, or most, of Germany's elite as well as a majority of its citizenry chose not to think for themselves and to favor instead a politics based on faith, hope, hatred, and sentimental regard for their own race and nation? The consequences were catastrophic for Germany, Europe, and the wider world, but no more so than for European Jews. Michael Burleigh's account of the moral breakdown and transformation of an advanced industrial society in the heart of Europe is a remarkably clearheaded assessment of the dangerous consequences when, in a country still obsessed with its losses in a previous war, a political movement takes on the form of a pseudo- or substitute religion. His narrative of events in Nazi Germany, and in a world that was forced to respond to its criminal actions, is a masterpiece of great intellectual and moral courage. 

 

About Michael Burleigh

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Michael Burleigh, as of the fall of 2000, is a professor of history at Washington and Lee University. He is the author of six previous books on Germany, including Death and Deliverance and Ethics and Extermination.
 
Published October 1, 2000 by Hill & Wang. 864 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The author wishes to resist "an indiscriminate condemnation of the German people in general," but he presents a devastating examination of the "almost total moral collapse" that accompanied (and permitted) the unthinkable atrocities of Adolf Hitler.

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Publishers Weekly

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After literally thousands of books have been written on the Nazis and their history, the author who attempts another one has to have a compelling reason. Burleigh, professor of history at Washington a

Oct 30 2000 | Read Full Review of The Third Reich: A New History

Publishers Weekly

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After literally thousands of books have been written on the Nazis and their history, the author who attempts another one has to have a compelling reason.

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The Telegraph

Evans concludes sagely: 'The Third Reich raises in the most acute form the possibilities and consequences of the human hatred and destructiveness that exist, even if only in a small way, within us all…It poses in the most extreme possible form the moral dilemmas we all face at one time or another...

Oct 20 2008 | Read Full Review of The Third Reich: A New History

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