Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941

Version: Unabridged
Author: William L. Shirer
Narrator: Tom Weiner
Genres: History, Biography & Memoir, Military
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published In: July 2011
# of Units: 13 CDs
Length: 16 hours
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By the acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, this day-by-day eyewitness account of the momentous events leading up to World War II in Europe is the private, personal, utterly revealing journal of a great foreign correspondent.

CBS radio broadcaster William L. Shirer was virtually unknown in 1940 when he decided there might be a book in the diary he had kept in Europe during the 1930s'specifically those sections dealing with the collapse of the European democracies and the rise of Nazi Germany.

Shirer was the only Western correspondent in Vienna on March 11, 1938, when the German troops marched in and took over Austria, and he alone reported the surrender by France to Germany on June 22, 1940, even before the Germans reported it. The whole time, Shirer kept a record of events, many of which could not be publicly reported because of censorship by the Germans. In December 1940, Shirer learned that the Germans were building a case against him for espionage, an offense punishable by death. Fortunately, Shirer escaped and was able to take most of his diary with him.

Berlin Diary first appeared in 1941, and the timing was perfect. The energy, the passion, and the electricity in it were palpable. The book was an instant success, and it became the frame of reference against which thoughtful Americans judged the rush of events in Europe. It exactly matched journalist to event: the right reporter in the right place at the right time. It stood, and still stands, as so few books have ever done, a pure act of journalistic witness.

Reviews (1)


Written by Patricia K on July 5th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Listening to this book made the march to war chronicled in this amazing diary all the more haunting. The diary not only gives you a sense for what it was like in Germany in the lead up to America's involvement in WWII (spoiler alert: horrifying), it's also a throwback to the golden age of radio and a peek into what was involved in getting the story out onto the airwaves. If you like diaries (or love them like I do!), want to time travel to pre-WWII Germany, or are intrigued by journalism in the days of radio, this book is for you!

Author Details

Author Details

Shirer, William L.

William L. Shirer has had a distinguished career as foreign correspondent, news commentator, and historian of the contemporary world. He reported from Berlin for the Universal News Service and for CBS on the rise of the Nazis and he covered their all as a war correspondent. Out of these reports grew his best-sellers "Berlin Diary" and "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," which has sold more copies for the Book-of-the-Month Club than any other book in the club's history.

Shirer is the author of many other best-selling books, including "The Collapse of the Third Republic" and an autobiography, "Twentieth Century Journey: A Memoir of a Life and the Times," composed of three volumes -- "The Start: 1904-1930, The Nightmare Years: 1930-1940," and "A Native's Return: 1945-1988." He is at work on a new book about the last two weeks of Tolstoy's life.