Painter, musician, bibliophile...
From the time I was a small child, I was fascinated by World War I, just as Meyer says he was. I asked a lot of questions of my parents and grandparents which were never quite answered. Perhaps they cannot be answered. That is part of the problem with approaching such an immensely complicated subject.
One thing is certain: to understand the second war, one must look to the first. We who were born afterward, the ones whom the German language calls "die Nachgeborenen," have a duty to understand both wars as deeply as we can for obvious reasons.
To attempt to write a survey of World War I is an ambitious endeavor. Meyer's achievement is all the more impressive because he manages to do so in a compelling, interesting way throughout.
As with the author's monumental work on the Tudors, each chapter is dense with information. "Side trips" follow in the form of background sections, which illuminate some of the more complicated issues. These annotations are seamless and full of essential information.
Perhaps as we approach the centennial of the beginning of World War I, interest will be renewed and Meyer's book will reach a wide audience. It certainly deserves to do so. It is an excellent all-in-one choice, a true "desert island" book. If you want to read just one book on World War I, I recommend this to you without hesitation.
I have always loved Robin Sachs' narrations, and this book was no exception. His calm voice and ease in pronouncing foreign languages made listening a joy. I was saddened to read he just passed away on February 1, just days before his birthday. May he rest in peace.
Having studied the Weimar era extensively, I am thrilled that this book is available! Much of what is discussed here was, at one time, only available in German, as I know only too well from my own years of research. It is an outstanding book in every way, and I would recommend it to anyone, from those who have researched the era to those who are new to it. Yes, the narrator is abyssmal, but I have heard worse. Perhaps the trilogy will become a classic and we will have better narrators in the future. Until then, try to put up with Pratt or read the print edition because there are invaluable and relevant insights and historical lessons for us all in this series.
Personally, I was more interested in the time periods covered in the first two volumes than I am in the war period, but I found "The Third Reich At War" to be as well-written, meaningful, and interesting as the previous books. Once again, I am grateful for Evans' resourceful use of primary research materials. I enjoy his writing style and way of presenting a complicated series of events. I found the entire series to be profoundly depressing, but how could it be otherwise considering the content? Still, I feel Evans dealt with the subjects in a fair, even-handed way, without resorting to hyperbole or underplaying the horror.
Sean Pratt's narration got on my last nerve this time. I could barely tolerate him in the first two volumes. Anyone less suited to pronouncing the German language, I cannot imagine unless it's Betty Boop. He cannot manage even basic German place names. To someone who speaks German, listening to him is like fingernails on a chalkboard. His pacing is atrocious. I will never, no matter how interesting the book might be, listen to anything he reads again. But I have no regrets. The trilogy was fantastic and I plan to get copies in hardcover.