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A Concise History of the Third Reich

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A Concise History of the Third Reich
By Wolfgang Benz. Translated by Thomas Dunlap. (University of California Press, Berkeley: 2006. Pg. 336. 137 Illustrations.) ISBN: 978-0-520-25383-4.

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - June 13, 2008

In the realm of books on Nazi Germany, there are many fine, outstanding comprehensive volumes available that will satisfy the needs of scholars and amateur historians alike. However, for those looking for a general, academic overview of Nazi Germany's history that covers the entire duration of the Third Reich, there are few books available. One that does meet this need is Wolfgang Benz's A Concise History of the Third Reich. Benz is a Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Research on Antisemitism at the Technische Universitšt in Berlin.

Translated into English by Thomas Dunlap, this book is exactly what the title portrays. In a mere 309 pages (in the paperback edition), Benz presents a throughout, albeit brief, narrative history of the entire twelve years of the Third Reich. In this book he covers everything from development and rise of Nazism and Hitler's election to the persecution of the Jews to the final death throes of the Third Reich. As well, Benz provides enough background information on the first two Reichs to enable the reader to put the Third Reich in prospective, in regard to German political and social evolution during Hitler's reign. Relevant illustrations have also been included that serve to enhance the text.

Despite the brevity of this text, Benz has managed to include a great deal of information, while also maintaining the narrative flow of the text. A Concise History of the Third Reich is geared toward a college-level audience, and is well suited for use as a supplemental text in any course dealing with German History, World War II, the Holocaust, Political Science, or General European history courses. It is also well suited for use by students needing to review this period or who need a means by which to be quickly brought up to speed on the history of Nazi Germany.

Related Reviews:

The Nazi Germany Sourcebook: an anthology of texts, by Roderick Stackelberg and Sally A. Winkle
This anthology contains 148 primary texts that offer readers a general overview of the origins and consequences of Nazism.

The Third Reich: Politics and Propaganda, by David Welch
This work offers an in-depth analysis of the role that propaganda played in Nazi Germany.

The Fascism Reader, Edited by Aristotle A. Kallis.
This book contains 48 excerpts from the vast body of scholarly works on the subject of European Fascism.

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