“Though not a particularly brilliant child I managed to read this book as an eleven or twelve year old and, when I read it a second time twenty years later I was surprised to see how much of it I remembered while turning the pages. And this is one of its main values, anyone can read and comprehend what Shirer is saying here and it's a subject that all people should have at least some knowledge of, lest we wander into another Third Reich with our eyes closed.
The big knock against this work when it first appeared was that Shirer was a journalist rather than an acadamician. An eye-witness rather than someone working in a university. I still don't understand that reasoning, particularly since everything is well documented and easy to reference.
Along with The Guns of August, this has always been my favorite history book. -- Oddly enough, I've seen Tuchmann's book attacked on similar grounds, that she wasn't academic enough. ”