Books: Tracing the Winds of War

THE NIGHTMARE YEARS: 1930-1940 by William L. Shirer Little, Brown; 654 pages; $22.50

The author of this admirable memoir began the 1930s as a journalistic adventurer of 26, jauntily evading an English blockade of the Khyber Pass to reach Afghanistan. By 1940 he regarded himself as middleaged, worn by work, fear and revulsion, after several years of broadcasting and writing from within the increasingly brutal world of Hitler's Germany.

Shirer has written other books about this period, notably Berlin Diary and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, but the memoir form in...

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