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The Third Reich

Michael Burleigh



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02 November 2001
History; European history; Second World War; Fascism & Nazism; Political structures: totalitarianism & dictatorship
A brilliant and indispensable one-volume history of the Third Reich from a leading historian.

In it, Michael Burleigh sets Nazi Germany in a European context, showing how the Third Reich's abandonment of liberal democracy, decency and tolerance was widespread in the Europe of the period. He shows how a radical, pseudo-religious movement, led by an oddity with dazzling demagogic talents, seemed to offer salvation to a German exhausted by war, depression and galloping inflation. It was the politics of faith and Burleigh shows the consequences of the demise of the rule of law in favour of state authorised terror and brutality.

The underlying premise of the book is that-unlike other current accounts of the Germany of this period-there are good and bad individuals, not good and bad nations. It recreates the complexities of life under a totalitarian dictatorship, which for four years ruled most of Europe, and rejects the notion that the Germans were either uniquely evil or uniquely uncivilised. It is a tour de force and a book which is destined to be the standard work for many years to come.
By:   Michael Burleigh
Imprint:   Pan
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   New edition
Dimensions:   Height: 197mm,  Width: 130mm,  Spine: 46mm
Weight:   1.027kg
ISBN:   9780330487573
ISBN 10:   0330487574
Pages:   992
Publication Date:   02 November 2001
Recommended Age:   From 18 years
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Michael Burleigh is Distinguished Research Professor in Modern History at Cardiff University. He is currently William R. Kenan Visiting Professor at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He is the author of six well-received books.

Reviews for The Third Reich

Michael Burleigh's study of the Nazi phenomenon was the most important book I have read this year. It made me change my mind, which is no mean feat. Or at least it helped me change a frame of mind that tended to a lazy stereotyping on the topic of the Third Reich. In one volume no heftier than it has to be, the author has finally brought unity to a period previously fragmented by professional historians of the 20th century beyond any laypersons overview. In measured language, Burleigh begins with he roots of Nazism in national humiliation and defeat; he takes us through the years of Germany's undeniable vigour, and to its end and post-45 rehabilitation. By showing the movement as a messianic political cause, a storm-trooping parody of the Wagnerian romance, Burleigh helped me understand for the first time how the runt, Adolf Hitler, was able to put himself in place as the hero of his nation. To be non-judgmental about the events of that period requires restraint and intellectual probity. Except for a faint subliminal revulsion that I sensed occasionally, particularly when Himmler was in evidence, Burleigh keeps his cool. He distinguished the Holocaust from subsequent examples of the monstrosity we now call 'ethnic cleansing' not only for its precise engineering and organisation, but also because it was undertaken as a comprehensive and existential battle against Jews everywhere. The Third Reich is gripping and comprehensive. At last, the seminal book for those of us who never want to see another film or read another word about World War II and the Nazis. (Kirkus UK)

  • Winner of BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize 2001 (UK)
  • Winner of Samuel Johnson Prize 2001.
  • Winner of Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2001
  • Winner of Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2001.

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