oh, just interested in history I guess
November 17, 2016 8:43 AM   Subscribe

What books would you recommend on the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise to power of the Nazis? I am not interested in WWII itself. Bonus points if it covers the rise of similar demagogues in other countries at the time.
posted by benzenedream to Education (17 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
"The Dark Valley" by Piers Brendon covers the history of the 1930s in several countries including Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the USA. Very well written too.
posted by crazylegs at 8:47 AM on November 17, 2016


Berlin was a thoughtful, if fictional, account of the decline of the Weimar.
posted by latkes at 8:47 AM on November 17, 2016


I just started Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans. Having not gotten very far yet, I can't speak to its quality but the preface and reviews seem to indicate that it may be something worth checking out based on your question.
posted by sewellcm at 8:50 AM on November 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Came to recommend the Richard J. Evans, which I thought was fantastic
posted by thelonius at 8:52 AM on November 17, 2016


If fictional is ok, Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood captures the mood well.
posted by veery at 9:02 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I haven't actually read this book, but a new biography of Hitler reviewed by the NYtimes seems very interesting. The book is called merely Hitler by Volker Ullrich.
posted by Eyeveex at 9:28 AM on November 17, 2016


The classic would be The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Stop reading about halfway through to skip the war (and fall) part.
posted by rockindata at 10:02 AM on November 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've heard great things about Hitlerland but have not read it myself
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:27 AM on November 17, 2016


The classic would be The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Yes, even after all these years "Rise and Fall" is still the canonical choice, because Shirer was a first-hand observer of nearly all of it.
posted by briank at 10:33 AM on November 17, 2016


If you want Shirer's first-hand impressions, "Berlin Diaries" or "The Nightmare Years" are better. TRAFOTTR is dated and isn't regarded very well by historians.
posted by thelonius at 11:00 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


A Short History of the Weimar Republic will familiarize yourself with the general arc of the period (major events, political parties, key figures, etc.).

A much deeper dive (though still for a general audience, rather than an academic/specialist one) is The Coming of the Third Reich -- I haven't read all of it, but I need to get back to it.

An excellent cultural history of the period is Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy. In the Garden of Beasts is the story of the first American ambassador (and his family) to Nazi Germany.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 11:06 AM on November 17, 2016




Check out "In the Garden of Beasts," by Erik Larson. Gripping writing. I foolishly read it back in December and it has haunted me ever since. Elegantly conveys the gathering dread, the slipping grasp on reality, the absurdity, and the muted, "but it can't be so bad" response in both Germany and in the US.
posted by faineg at 7:37 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I really recommend The Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen.

Unlike a lot of works, it's not about the entire country, or about a single person's life. Rather, it focuses on social dynamics within a single town, tracked via newspapers and club memberships and records and so on. It is quite useful in illustrating how the various paramilitary groups and the rallies and so on became normalized and integrated into society, and how the Nazi party integrated itself into everyday life. While it may not have helped me understand how it felt to live in that period like some of the other excellent suggested works did, it helped a lot in understanding how things went the way they did.
posted by ubersturm at 3:40 PM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Joseph Roth's essays are illuminating. This looks very interesting, too: a book about Roth, Zweig and other exiled writers.
posted by mumimor at 5:14 AM on November 19, 2016


Thirding In The Garden Of Beasts.
posted by antiquated at 7:17 PM on November 19, 2016


Bought Coming of the Third Reich, it covers exactly the areas of history I'm after. Thanks!
posted by benzenedream at 8:38 AM on December 19, 2016


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