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The Year Germany Lost the War: The Year Germany Lost the War

Andrew Nagorski


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Digital Audiobook (6/3/2019)
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Bestselling historian Andrew Nagorski takes a fresh look at the decisive year 1941, when Hitler’s miscalculations and policy of terror propelled Churchill, FDR, and Stalin into a powerful new alliance that defeated Nazi Germany.

In early 1941, Hitler’s armies ruled most of Europe. Churchill’s Britain was an isolated holdout against the Nazi tide, but German bombers were attacking its cities and German U-boats were attacking its ships. Stalin was observing the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and Roosevelt was vowing to keep the United States out of the war. Hitler was confident that his aim of total victory was within reach.

\By the end of 1941, all that changed. Hitler had repeatedly gambled on escalation and lost: by invading the Soviet Union and committing a series of disastrous military blunders; by making mass murder and terror his weapons of choice, and by rushing to declare war on the United States after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Britain emerged with two powerful new allies—Russia and the United States. By then, Germany was doomed to defeat.

Nagorski illuminates the actions of the major characters of this pivotal year as never before. 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War is a stunning examination of unbridled megalomania versus determined leadership. It also reveals how 1941 set the Holocaust in motion, and presaged the postwar division of Europe, triggering the Cold War. 1941 was a year that forever defined our world.

Praise For 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War: The Year Germany Lost the War

"Entertaining...keeps the focus at a high level, on the men—Roosevelt, Churchill, but above all Hitler and Stalin—who directed the great powers at war...Nagorski is able to keep up the pace of the narrative while showing how global conflict was interconnected."—The Wall Street Journal

"An essential text...vivid and compelling detail."—The Washington Post

“A lively, opinionated account of a critical year.”—Kirkus

"Nagorski skillfully weaves diplomatic, political and military narratives into a compelling whole." —

"[A] thoughtful analysis of a critical year in WWII...Nagorski brings keen psychological insights into the world leaders involved."—Booklist

“[A} successful history…[Nagorski] is a clear and lucid writer whose account of this pivotal year will please history buffs.”—Publishers Weekly

"A terrific book."—Elizabeth George, Goodreads

"Nagorski tells it well."—Foreign Affairs

'Nagorski’s book is a portrait of hubris and megalomania pitted against the emerging opposition. His chronicle sets the stage for how events led to the Holocaust, and foreshadows the postwar division of Europe, which ultimately led to the Cold War."Overseas Press Club 

"Andrew Nagorski ‘s vivid, incisive account shows how and why 1941 marked not just the beginning, but the beginning of the end, of World War II.”—William Taubman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era and Gorbachev: His Life and Times

"In 1941, the seemingly all-powerful Adolf Hitler snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by making two fatal mistakes: declaring war on the Soviet Union and the United States. In his gripping, deeply researched account of this pivotal roller-coaster year in World War II, Andrew Nagorski masterfully shows how Hitler’s hubris and willful lack of knowledge about his powerful new foes led to the Nazis’ destruction and set the stage for the Cold War that still haunts us today.”—Lynne Olson, author of Last Hope Island and Madame Fourcade’s Secret War

“1941 must have been the bravest and stupidest year of modern times. With gripping narrative and eye-popping revelation, Andrew Nagorski shows us why character is destiny.”—Evan Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Being Nixon and Ike’s Bluff

“Andrew Nagorski has given us a vivid account of the year that shaped not only the conflict of the hour but the course of our lives—even now.”—Jon Meacham, New York Times bestselling author of The Soul of America

“Andrew Nagorski’s The Year Germany Lost the War is a seamlessly written and well-researched investigation of how Hitler bungled his geopolitical playing hand in 1941, thereby sinking the Third Reich before America even entered World War II. There is never a dull moment or lull in this fast-paced narrative. Highly recommended!”Douglas Brinkley, author of American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race and Chair in Humanities and Professor, Rice University

"A compelling case...gripping drama."—Washington Independent Review of Books 


"Nagorski is a veteran author and foreign correspondent whose Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power is the alpha to the omega of The Nazi Hunters. . . . [a] deep and sweeping account of a relentless search for justice that began in 1945 and is only now coming to an end.” (The Washington Post)

“Vivid, reader-friendly . . . Mr. Nagorski’s fine book is comprehensively informative and a highly involving read.” (Wall Street Journal)

“A thrilling nonfiction account of postwar justice. . . . Detailed, dramatic, and at times gripping.” (Salon)

“An epic tale . . . the book's main actors are painted with a complex but unsparing clarity." (Christian Science Monitor)

"A reminder of the fact that the Nazi trials of the last 70 years were never a foregone conclusion." (TIME)

 “A history that reads like an adventure story." (Florida Times Union)

“Far more intriguing than any Hollywood production. The proofs highlight every page of Andrew Nagorski’s The Nazi Hunters, a new study of the evildoers and how they were pursued. . . . [Nagorski] has a discerning eye and a gift for the revealing anecdote.” (City Journal)

The Nazi hunters, like their prey, are passing away. As Nagorski points out, that “is why their stories can and should be told now.” His book captures their work in vivid and detailed prose. For journalists, it provides the added enjoyment of reading about other people’s investigative tricks and tools. The Nazi Hunters stands as both a tribute to, and a record, of a unique handful of people who devoted their lives to justice. (Overseas Press Club)

"A comprehensive treatment of the dogged men and women whose heroic efforts restored a measure of justice to millions of murdered souls." (The Weekly Standard)

“The author provides fascinating insight into those who continued to pursue war criminals after the spotlight had faded.” (Library Journal)

“In a world that is, alas, awash in crimes against humanity, we have an urgent need to address these complex and controversial questions." (Jerusalem Post)

“An extremely valuable, highly readable book.” (Arizona Jewish Post)

“Andrew Nagorski’s The Nazi Hunters comes at a significant point, at the juncture between living memory and the historical record… His account is highly objective and balanced… It’s a narrative that will hold you, even if you’ve followed this story over the decades.” (The Dallas Morning News)

“A detailed look at the grim work of tracking Nazis over the decades since World War II. . . . absorbing.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“An admirably accessible and intimate narrative. . . . [Nagorski] reveals the differences in tactics, politics and personalities that have led to feuds among the Nazi hunters themselves. . . . for all their rivalries and failings, the Nazi hunters are saluted by Nagorski for their accomplishments: not just in helping to prosecute the most egregious of the perpetrators, but also in etching the details of Nazi crimes — beyond doubt or dispute — in the historical record.” (The Forward)

Andrew Nagorski has produced an important work—a well-written and revealing book about the darkest acts of World War II.” (Alan Furst, author of Spies of Warsaw and Kingdom of Shadows )

“The world failed the victims not only during the Holocaust but afterwards, as perpetrators were allowed to go on with their lives. A few determined Nazi hunters tried to bring justice. This is their story. It must be read.” (Alan Dershowitz, author of Abraham: The World's First (but certainly not last) Jewish Lawyer )

“Andrew Nagorski spins a gripping, historically urgent narrative in The Nazi Hunters. He demonstrates that how we deal with the most evil perpetrators among us, is as much about who we are as it is about the criminals. The Nazi Hunters is really about the present: are we willing to do the consuming and often thankless work of holding criminals from the Balkans to the Middle East and Africa accountable for unspeakable acts? This could not be a more timely reminder of the world's moral responsibility toward perpetrators of war crimes.” (Kati Marton, author of The Great Escape and Enemies of the People )

“A fascinating collective portrait of a variety of Nazi hunters. Some, Simon Wiesenthal and the Klarsfelds, are well known. But the most fascinating aspect of the book is Nagorski’s portrayal of less well-known figures: the Polish judge Jan Sehn, who first investigated the Nazi death camps; the German prosecutor, Fritz Bauer, who instigated both the capture of Eichmann and the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial; and William Denson, who convicted hundreds of the most notorious concentration camp guards.” (Christopher Browning, author of Ordinary Men and The Origins of the Final Solution )

“A war continued after World War II to bring its mass murderers to justice. Andrew Nagorski tells the story of the dogged search by some for the killers as well as the accommodations made by others to let this sordid chapter of history remain buried. Meticulously researched, superbly written, The Nazi Hunters is fascinating—disturbing, to be sure—but fascinating.” (Douglas Waller, author of Disciples and Wild Bill Donovan )

“Andrew Nagorski, author of the mesmerizing Hitlerland, has made a definitive and invaluable contribution to the historical record with his outstanding successor work, The Nazi Hunters. Integrating the diffuse strands of a great decades long drama before a vanishing window of history has closed, the author has crafted the fascinating and emotionally galvanizing narrative of the hunt for notorious Nazi fugitives ranging from Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele to the SS officers and concentration camp commandants who fled from the ashes of Germany's defeat in World War II. Not only an investigative and intelligence page-turner, The Nazi Hunters tells the story of an epic and global quest for justice rather than revenge.” (Gordon M. Goldstein, adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations and author of Lessons In Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam )

“The last former Nazis are dying out, and so, too, are those whose life’s work was to hunt them down. Nagorski tells their stories evenhandedly, uncovering a fascinating cast of characters from all over the world and placing their efforts in a broader perspective.” (Foreign Affairs)

"The Nazi Hunters is, variously, horrifying, informative, exciting and enlightening, but it must be read in small doses for there is so much in it to grasp." (Providence Journal)


“Andrew Nagorski has written an entertaining chronicle . . . Hitlerland brings back to life some early delusions about Hitler’s rise that now seem unthinkable. Any reader trying to puzzle out today’s world will be unsettled by the reminder of how easy it is to get things wrong.” (The Economist)

 “Riveting . . . this is a book that is full of things I never knew, and I found all of them interesting. It should be on everybody’s ‘must read’ list who is interested in history.” (Michael Korda The Daily Beast)

Hitlerland is a bit of guilty pleasure . . . fascinating.” (Washington Post)

“Compulsively readable and deeply researched.” (The Weekly Standard)

“Andrew Nagorski, a deft storyteller, has plumbed the dispatches, diaries, letters, and interviews of American journalists, diplomats and others who were present in Berlin to write a fascinating account of a fateful era.” (Henry Kissinger )

“Andrew Nagorski once again turns his perceptive, seasoned foreign correspondent’s eye to a dramatic historical subject. This eye—opening account of the Americans in 1920s and 1930s Berlin offers a totally new perspective on a subject we thought we already knew.” (Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag: A History )

“Andrew Nagorski’s Hitlerland is a fresh, compelling portrait of Nazi Germany, as seen through the eyes of a fascinating array of Americans who lived and worked there during Hitler’s rise to power. The extraordinary saga of Putzi Hanfstaengl, a Harvard graduate who became Hitler’s court jester, is just one of the many page turning stories that makes Hitlerland a book not to be missed.” (Lynne Olson, author of Citizens of London )

“The rise of Hitler and the Nazi state, one of the most consequential and profound narratives in all of world politics, receives compelling new treatment in Andrew Nagorski’s outstanding Hitlerland. By illuminating the disparate experiences of the era’s preeminent American diplomats, journalists, intellectuals and others, Nagorski has created an engrossing, harrowing and vividly drawn mosaic of eyewitness accounts to one of history’s most phenomenal catastrophes.” (Gordon M. Goldstein, adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations and author of Lessons In Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam )

“At times deliciously gossipy, at times thoroughly chilling, Hitlerland offers countless novel insights into Germany’s evolution from struggling democracy in the 1920s to totalitarian dictatorship in the 1930s. The intimate portraits from Hitler down add an almost tangible sense of the foibles, ambitions, insecurities and perversities of the relatively small top Nazi elite whose actions plunged our world into a catastrophe from which we are yet fully to recover. The Americans themselves come alive as a group of intense, enterprising journalists and diplomats faced with the greatest challenge of their lives.” (Misha Glenny, author of The Balkans 1804—1999 )

“Engaging if chilling. . . . A broader look at Americans who had a ringside seat to Hitler’s rise. It’s a fascinating cast . . . a fast—paced tale.” (USA Today)

Simon & Schuster, 9781501181115, 400pp.

Publication Date: June 4, 2019

About the Author

Andrew Nagorski served as Newsweek’s bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. He is the author of seven previous critically acclaimed books, including Hitlerland and The Nazi Hunters. He has also written for countless publications. Visit him at