The author, William L. Shirer, chronicles the rise and fall of Nazi Germany from the birth of Adolf Hitler in 1889 to the end of World War II in 1945. It was first published in 1960, by Simon & Schuster in the USA. It was a bestseller in both the USA and Europe, and a critical success outside Germany; in Germany, criticism of the book stimulated sales. The book was feted by journalists, as reflected by its receipt of the National Book Award for non-fiction.
The book is based upon captured Nazi documents, the available diaries of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, of General Franz Halder, and of the Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano, evidence and testimony from the Nuremberg trials, British Foreign Office reports, and the author's recollection of his six years in Germany (from 1934 to 1940) as a journalist, reporting on Nazi Germany for newspapers, the United Press International (UPI), and CBS Radio.
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