The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich - William L. Shirer was the first definitive history of Nazi Germany. Its quite a thick book but is a wonderful read if you have the patience. Here is a Amazon review of the book: William L. Shirer's classic "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" is the most complete single volume account of the history of Nazi Germany ever written. Shirer was a journalist, not a historian and the advantages of this show in his very readable prose and his vivid descriptions (for example, often referring to Herman Goering as "the fat Field Marshall"). The book starts with the birth of the Nazi party and how it found a spokesman early on in an ex-serviceman named Adolf Hitler. The narrative continues through until the end of the war, Hitler's suicide and the final few days under Admiral Doenitz. The only warning to the casual reader is that the book's length exceeds 1100 pages and it is crammed to the brim with facts. Also, it should be noted that the book was published over forty years ago and does not include more recent information that has come to light from, for example, the former East German archives. Nevertheless, this is still a classic work of jornalistic history.