The diary format adds immediacy and a "real time" feel to the book. His thumbnail sketches of many of the big players in the Nazi regime are particularly intriguing.
To some degree, this book is a lead-up to Shirer's greatest work, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", which I'm now thinking I should re-read. In particular, having recently read "The Lords of Finance" I'm curious to discover how Hitler was able to finance the gigantic and rapid re-armament of Germany described in the Diary, given the desperate financial condition of the country during the 1930s. Germany was de facto bankrupt, had no oil, cotton, copper, aluminum, rubber; it's currency was almost worthless; the USA controlled the world's gold supply; world trade was in the doldrums due to the depression in Britain, USA and most of Europe. Shirer makes it clear that Germany created of the world's biggest and most advanced air force and armed and equipped the biggest and best land force in a few short years; nothing short of miraculous. Where did the money come from?? I do not know.
This is a great book, very long, but I couldn't put it down. Took several weeks to read, and it's full of amusing and horrifying incidents, facts and insights. There's plenty of gossip about high ranking officials on all sides, too, especially the British traitors (and a couple of American sympathizers including Lindbergh) working with the Nazis. Shirer's descriptions of Hitler and his speeches, the blackouts, and the British night bombing raids make you feel as though you can see and hear them. His departure from Germany in 1940 wasn't easy. I was amazed that a 33 year old guy could write so well.
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