Reviewer Mary Lignor: Mary is a retired librarian, originally from Connecticut but now living in New Mexico. All her life Mary has loved books and has passed this love on to her daughters. Mary started working in a library when her children were young as an Assistant Librarian and ended up as its Director. Her favorite books are suspense, political intrigue and anything involving the World War II era.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
This is a great rehashing of The Berlin Diary and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, both books written by and about William L. Shirer's time as foreign correspondent in Europe before the start of the Second World War. Mr. Shirer wrote in his own diary about the things that were going on in Germany in the late 30's and early 40's and used the original handwritten pages that he smuggled out of Berlin when he and other Americans were hightailing it out of Europe on the eve of the Americans entering the war.
In this book, Mr. Wick uses Shirer's powerful pages to bring Shirer and his family to life and tell about what they went through during this time. After college Mr. Shirer's dream was to go to Europe and be a foreign correspondent for a major newspaper in the United States. This was not as easy as it sounded as many young people were on their way to France in the 30's to be on the front lines when things started to happen. In 1933, Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany and started his biography of aggression through Germany and beyond. He was determined to conquer Europe and go on to run the 1000-year Reich. William Shirer, by the skin of his teeth, got a job when he arrived in Paris right before he would have had to go home for lack of funds.
William finally gets a job in Berlin, right where the action was, in August of 1934. He was hired by an American news wire service. After working in Berlin for a while he begins to realize that the Nazi government is using propaganda purposes to fool the citizens into thinking that the treaties signed after WWI were not fair to Germany and that the Jewish population in Germany and surrounding countries were to blame for everything that had gone wrong. Shirer really did not fall for the Nazi propaganda and began to try to warn the Americans that they had better start for home before they couldn't get out of the country. Germany, in the early 30's swept through Europe and invaded countries on their borders and when they invaded Poland in 1939, England and France declared war on Germany. Mr. Shirer had started the Berlin Bureau under Edward R. Murrow of CBS News and his radio programs became the most listened to in the country. But, of course, the German government stopped many of them and censored most of them. However, many of the programs got through to Ameria and told of the horrible attrocities that were going on in Europe.
In 1940, Shirer finally realized that he had to pack up his family (wife and child) and head for America. The Gestapo wanted to stop him from talking about what was going on and he left for Portugal to take a plane or ship to America. He got out right before most of the borders were closed and went on to write the books about the times when he was a radio correspondent in Berlin.
The author's description of The Long Night of waiting before Shirer was able to board the ship for home was a very difficult time in his life. He didn't know until the last minute if he would be able to get out as there were so many people waiting to board planes and ships to America. Mr. Wick tells an extremely human story of Mr. Shirer's life with his family in Europe and how they were forever on the watch for the Gestapo to come to their apartment and arrest them. By using Mr. Shirer's papers and diarys and also his books, Mr. Wick was able to write this story about the horror faced by people in Europe on the eve of WWII.
This book ends right before America's entrance into the war and readers will be so glad that Mr. Shirer did get home and was able to continue to broadcast and write for some time.
Click Here To Purchase The Long Night: William L. Shirer and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich