Shirer, William L.

Shirer, William L. (Lawrence)

(1904–93) journalist, author; born in Chicago. After working as a correspondent in Europe and (briefly) in India, he joined CBS in 1937 and broadcast on the momentous events in Europe from Vienna, London, Prague, and ultimately Berlin, alerting Americans to the peril of Nazism; at the outset of World War II he covered the German army in the field. He wrote a syndicated column for the New York Herald Tribune from 1942 to 1948, Quitting CBS in 1947 in a dispute over the scope for personal opinions, he worked for the Mutual Broadcasting System before turning to writing full-time. His comprehensive study of the Nazi regime and its origins, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960), though called oversensational by some and condemned in West Germany as anti-German, won wide praise and a National Book Award, besides becoming a best-seller. Other books range from Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934–41 (1941) to Gandhi: A Memoir (1979), based on interviews with Mahatma Gandhi in the 1930s. His two-volume memoir, Twentieth Century Journey, was published in 1976 and 1984.