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Mike From Mesa

Mike From Mesa Mesa, AZ Member Since 2003

MikeFromMesa

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  • "A worthy final volume in a great bi..."

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    This is the third volume of William Manchester's biography of Winston Churchill. I first read the second volume, about the decade leading up to the German invasion of France, 25 years ago and thought it was so good that I bought and read the first volume. I had, by now, given up hope of ever seeing the third volume, but Mr. Manchester appears to have asked Paul Reid to complete the book and, when I saw it available on Audible, I immediately bought it.

    This book is billed as a biography (and so it is) but Winston Churchill’s life was so intertwined with the British participation in World War II (he served as both Prime Minister and Defense Minister) that this book also serves as a political (not military) history of British involvement in the war as seen through British eyes. There is little military coverage per se but the political decisions behind the military moves are discussed in great detail. While this book covers the period from 1940 through 1965 (beginning where the second volume ended) it is primarily concerned with Churchill’s actions during the war with approximately 90% of the book covering the period up to the end of the war in Europe and his loss of the office of Prime Minister.

    The book’s description of the political views of the Allies, its descriptions of the leaders and their conferences is really first rate. Mr. Reid has added liberal excerpts from the diaries of many of those involved, both Allied and Axis, and the resulting picture of how the war progressed, how the decisions that had to be made were reached and how the various participants reacted to the decisions transcends anything I have read before. I have read many histories of World War II, but all of them spent a great deal of time covering the battles whereas this book dwells primarily on the political decisions to be made and how and why the decisions were reached. The portraits of some of the leaders presented in this book are the best I have seen outside of biographies of those people themselves. The picture of Joseph Stalin, as presented in this book, is very different from that presented in other books, presumably because it is the view of him as seen by Churchill and his aides, not as seen by Soviet Marshalls or allied diplomats and one is drawn to the assumption that Stalin, like all of the other leaders, could present many different faces as needed. Similarly the portraits of people like Harry Hopkins, Cordell Hull, Anthony Eden, Alan Brooke, John Dill and others presented in this book seem much richer than I have seen in other books.

    One of the books on my wish list was Max Hastings’ book “Winston’s War”, but this book is so well done and covers Mr. Churchill’s wartime involvement so well that I am not sure there is anything in Mr. Hastings’ book that would contribute much new and I am now uncertain as to whether or not it is worth buying. I thought I knew the events of the war from my earlier readings, but after reading this book I realized that there was much that either I did not know or which I understood imperfectly. While I do not wish to spoil this book for others I can say that I did not know how fragile the Allied coalition was at times during the war or how much disagreement there was between the British and the US on strategy. Yes, I knew that the US favored a cross-channel invasion and the British wanted to pursue a Mediterranean strategy but I did not know how strong the disagreements were, how dedicated some of the military and political professionals were to one choice or the other or how the final agreements were reached. This book is a treasure trove of information about how and why the political decisions were reached and I recommend it without hesitation to anyone interested in knowing the background behind these decisions. It is one of the finest books on the war that I have ever read.

    The last 10% (or so) of the book covers Churchill’s life after he lost of the office of Prime Minister and after the end of the war. It covers, in considerable detail, his work in opposition to the Labor Party and his efforts to create a “United States of Europe”. While I understood how he, almost alone, understood the coming Nazi menace I was not aware of how he continued to predict the course of political events after the war. His foresight in seeing the coming cold war between the West and the Soviets and his efforts to preserve freedom and security during the late 1940s and early 1950s was new to me. It is also a very personal book and, at the end, I had tears in my eyes at the passing of such a great man.

    The book is read wonderfully by Clive Chafer who does a passable impression of both Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. One reviewer complained that the book is read by an American, but that is only true of the introduction, which is read by the author. The rest of the book is a pleasure to listen to. This is a worthy conclusion to the monumental first two volumes of this trilogy and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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    The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

    • UNABRIDGED (53 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By William Manchester, Paul Reid
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer, Paul Reid
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (398)
    Performance
    (335)
    Story
    (335)

    Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, Defender of the Realm, the third volume of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister - when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill portrayed by Manchester and Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A worthy final volume in a great biography"
  • "Very thorough history."

    Overall

    I am not the target audience for this book. Evans says, in the preface, that his target are those who know little or nothing of this period and I have been reading about the lead-up to World War II for most of my adult life starting with Shirer's The Rise And Fall of the Third Reich (a book Evans does not think much of).

    I had not expected to learn very much new, but found how wrong I was about that. The first 1/3 of the book involves the period from the start of the Bismarck period through the end of World War I and does not involve any of the familiar names (Hitler, Goering, Gobbles, Hess, Himmler, etc). It does give the background that provided the fertile ground that allowed the Nazi movement to find purchase. In doing so the author shows that the Nazi beliefs in anti-Semitism, anti-Marxism, anti-socialism, their disdain for democracy, their belief in pan-Germanism and their desire to find extra living space in the East were not new to German culture or beliefs, but had been around for a long time. And this foundation does much to explain the speed with which the Nazi movement gained ground and grew. The remainder of this volume deals with the Nazis themselves, their allies, their opponents, their climb to power and the individuals involved.

    I have only two complaints about this book. The first concerns the author's decision to make no moral judgments about the morality of the Nazi actions. While I understand the desire to create a history that deals with facts rather than emotions, this decision seems to me to often ignore how basically evil the events being described were. The second complaint is with the uninspired reading by Sean Pratt. Most of the reading is monotone and, even more annoying, his reading contains pauses in the middle of sentences which have no contextual meaning and serve only to break-up the logical flow of thought.

    But these are minor concerns. I am waiting for Audible to add the next volume of this history.

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    The Coming of the Third Reich

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Richard J. Evans
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (728)
    Performance
    (444)
    Story
    (452)

    There is no story in 20th-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time.

    Tad Davis says: "Compelling and depressing"
  • "Interesting book"

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    Hitlerland is a collection of individual recollections and anecdotes about the period from 1930 through the start of US involvement in World War 2. While it is full of interesting information, and contains much that I never knew before about the period, it is worth mentioning that it is not a serious history of the period. Rather it centers on the observations of various observers, mostly reporters, about events during the period and how they reported the rise of the Nazis.

    It is thoroughly enjoyable and I found myself reluctant to stop listening, but in the end left me feeling that there was not much real history in the book. If you would like an interesting "gossip" piece about the period, this is your book. If you are looking for something serious, you might want to look elsewhere.

    I gave it 4 stars because I was expecting something "meatier" than this, but I would stress that it is very interesting and Robert Fass' reading is first class. I am not sure that the classification "light book" can be reasonably applied to anything written about this terrible period of history, but if it can, then this book is qualifies and is first class. I do not mean to suggest that this book treats the period lightly, but only that it is not a period history like Richard J Evans' The Third Reich In Power.

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    Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Andrew Nagorski
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (75)

    Hitler’s rise to power, Germany’s march to the abyss, as seen through the eyes of Americans—diplomats, military, expats, visiting authors, Olympic athletes—who watched horrified and up close. By tapping a rich vein of personal testimonies, Hitlerland offers a gripping narrative full of surprising twists—and a startlingly fresh perspective on this heavily dissected era.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Interesting book"
  1. The Last Lion: Winston Sp...
  2. The Coming of the Third R...
  3. Hitlerland: American Eyew...
  4. .

A Peek at Christopher's Bookshelf

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SPRING HILL, FL, United States 69 REVIEWS / 158 ratings Member Since 2010 17 Followers / Following 0
 
Christopher's greatest hits:
  • Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

    "Better in print?"

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    I think this book might be better in print -- as an audio book it comes off more as just a listing of events with X number of victims and Y location, repeat. I've read a ton of WWII books and I've read (listened) to all the available post-WWII books on Audible, this is not one of my favorites. I have a pretty high tolerance for facts and figures in audio format and even with that this book came off as dry with the exception of a few chapters. If you're a very tough listener and very interested in this period of time give it a listen -- also check out other reviewers and see what they think and don't just rely on this opinion alone.

  • Hitler: A Biography

    "An Excellent Read"

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    I've read a ton of WWII books so I wouldn't say there is much I learned from this book, but it is a great single volume collection and it's very readable. Another reviewer said that you needed to be a historian or something to read this, that is nonsense. While the book is long it moves at a a good pace and to me always remained interesting. I think the early years of any biography are the most difficult to keep interesting but again I think Kershaw did a good job of providing detail but not getting bogged down in detail. Everything is covered and at times I actually wish there was more detail if anything, not less. Again this is a 40-hour long book so there is a good amount of detail, but I never was bored by it.

    The reader does an excellent job throughout.

    Overall if you're of average intelligence and can stand the length this book will pose no challenges for you. Even though I knew almost everything that was about to happen I still found myself getting wrapped up in the story. This is a historical-biography written in an interesting manner, which is no easy feat. I highly recommend.

  • Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

    "Very good book"

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    Honestly I just didn't know that much about post WWII history in Europe until recently and this was part of learning about that period, about how Europe was rebuilt and how we got to where we are today.

    I'm giving the book 5-stars, if you have even a passing interest in this period you should pick-up this book without giving it another thought.

    With that said let me offer some mild criticism -- these should not keep you from purchasing the book but there were a few things I could have done without.

    The author is by no means anti-American but almost seems to suffer from a really rare strain of not really giving a care. This I must say is rare since generally Europeans are so arrogant and snobish about America you just assuming anything to do with the US will be negative in todays post-USSR world. This is not the case. The author doesn't blame every bad thing that happens in Europe on America -- but he also doesn't really give America credit for anything either. It really seems that the further you go back the more neutral the stance is, as the book gets closer to today it gets a bit more cold towards the US including taking swipes (not shots to be clear) at Reagan basically discounting his role in bringing down the Soviet Union. This is annoying in my mind but wasn't done in an offensive way -- he wasn't bashing but it's pretty obvious he wasn't a fan of Reagan or Thatcher. At the same time he does a great job of explaining how people in the eastern block lived and how communists ruled, which means it's a pretty negative take on that.

    So in total this book is very balanced and works extremely well as a modern history.

  • Year Zero: A History of 1945

    "An interesting read"

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    I've always been interested by what happened just after after WWII, WWI, and the Civil War ended. How do you go from wartime to peace, how is it to live day to day. I grab whatever books are available on Audible for the subject so this book interested me in that regard.

    So how does the book do? Well it's hit and miss. This is by no means a serious historical read, while it covers a lot of ground it doesn't cover anything in-depth. Also it was funny to me that near the end of the book the author uses the phrase "American smugness" since from the beginning of the book I was thinking that this book heavily suffers from typical European smugness. NOTE - it's not anti-American by any means, it's just that smarmy European attitude. So if you can deal with that, and it's by no means the worst I've ever heard, there is a lot of interesting information to be found.

    The reader does a good job, it's mostly a straight read but the reader has good pacing and timing, very professional. Also he'll throw in a few different voices to help you along - so if it's an American speaking he'll do his American accent, etc. This can help you keep track of who he's quoting so it's welcomed.

    Overall you're getting what the description of the book claims, if that sounds interesting to you, you should enjoy the book.

Flatbroke

Flatbroke Maryland, United States 04-08-13 Member Since 2001
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  • "Women of Strength"

    3 of 3 helpful votes

    The tragic story of Juana would be reason enough to read this book. However, there is so much gained in taking a second look at Catherine of Aragon. Juana is unfortunately remembered as Juana the Mad, but this book examines the evidence and casts doubts on the accuracy of the sobriquet. When she inherited the kingdom of Castile on her mother's death, she ended up at the mercy of men competing to rule it- her husband, her father, and eventually her son Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Not in dispute is her legacy of numerous offspring that married into many royal houses.

    Catherine of Aragon faced many difficult times. She left Spain to marry Prince Arthur of England. After Arthur died, she faced years of uncertainty and financial hardship while her father-in-law and father remained in a bitter money dispute over her dowry. Her life brightened when Arthur's brother Henry VIII ascended to the throne and immediately married her only to later leave her when his head was turned by Anne Boleyn.

    The book is very good at going into details on the case presented to the church by both sides. Henry is very upset that Catherine couldn't provide him with a son (that lived) and blames this misfortune on marrying his brother's wife (degree of affinity) even though the church granted a dispensation for Catherine and Henry's marriage. One of the weaknesses of this argument that is prominently pointed out in the book is that since Henry's former mistress Mary is Anne's sister, marrying Anne would be violating the same degree of affinity. Anne Boleyn's role (and that of her grasping family) in assisting Henry's side is also detailed in the book.

    Catherine is presented as a counselor to Henry during the beginning of his reign. When her crafty father Ferdinand would try to better his own prospects at the expense of Henry and England, Catherine would stand behind Henry and her adopted country. Her intelligence and determination is best shown in her tenacity fighting for her marriage and enlisting the help of Juana's son Charles V to repeatedly pressure the Pope. The book brings out Catherine's concern on how adversely an annulment will affect the future of her daughter Mary. Not only did it affect her prospects as an heir, it also severely affected her marriage choices. Catherine, brought up by the "Catholic monarchs" Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, also despaired at the rise of Protestantism in England and worried about the effect of the broken marriage as well as Anne and her beliefs would have on the country. The book brings out that the unfortunate result of Catherine's struggle to keep her marriage would end up weakening the Catholic church in England by forcing Henry to leave the church to get his much desired marriage to Anne. She also had to endure Henry's punishment of isolating her from her beloved daughter.

    The book provides a good look at the children of Ferdinand and Isabella and their influence on the world at the time. The good qualities of Juana have been hidden underneath an accusation of insanity, made by the people who profited the most by her removal from the scene. Catherine of Aragon is more than just a bitter, overly religious first wife- she is an educated woman concerned about the future of her daughter, her country, and her husband.

    I discovered this book because I had bought another book George, Nicholas, and Wilhem that was also narrated by Roslyn Landor. I enjoyed the book and her performance and was interested in her other books.

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    Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Julia Fox
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (68)

    Looking through the lens of their Spanish origins, Fox reveals these queens as flesh-and-blood women—equipped with character, intelligence, and conviction—who are worthy historical figures in their own right. Sister Queens is a gripping tale of love, duty, and sacrifice—a remarkable reflection on the conflict between ambition and loyalty during an age when the greatest sin, it seems, was to have been born a woman.

    Cariola says: "Sad but Fascinating Lives"

What's Trending in European:

  • 4.8 (10 ratings)

    British History for Dummies

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Sean Lang
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (7)

    Putting history into a perspective, this is an engaging, entertaining and educational trip through time, packing in equal parts fun and facts. Recently updated, British History For Dummies introduces listeners to recent events, including British actions in Afghanistan, and David Cameron's formation of Britain's first coalition Cabinet since World War II. But don't worry - British History For Dummies doesn't skimp on the old stuff! It's a riotous, irreverent account of the people and events that have shaped Britain.

    michele says: "British History for the Rest of Us"
  • 4.5 (2982 ratings)

    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By William L. Shirer
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (2982)
    Performance
    (2060)
    Story
    (2064)

    Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Tale of Momumental Evil, Stupidity and Hatred"
  • 4.3 (1408 ratings)

    Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Eric Metaxas
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1408)
    Performance
    (900)
    Story
    (914)

    A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Führer and was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.

    Alan says: "Very Moving"
  • 4.3 (522 ratings)

    Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lynne Olson
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (522)
    Performance
    (271)
    Story
    (285)

    Here is the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, and John Gilbert Winant. Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and a reluctant American public to support the British at a critical time.

    Susan says: "If we are together nothing is impossible"
  •  
  • 4.3 (456 ratings)

    The Birth of Britain: A History of the English Speaking Peoples, Volume I

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Winston Churchill
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    Overall
    (456)
    Performance
    (186)
    Story
    (188)

    The English-speaking peoples comprise perhaps the greatest number of human beings sharing a common language in the world today. These people also share a common heritage. For his four-volume work, Sir Winston Churchill took as his subject these great elements in world history. Volume 1 commences in 55BC, when Julius Caesar famously "turned his gaze upon Britain" and concludes with the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

    Terryl says: "Birth of Britain"
  • 4.4 (432 ratings)

    The Modern Scholar: The Anglo-Saxon World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Michael D. C. Drout
    Overall
    (432)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (193)

    Had the Angles and Saxons not purposefully migrated to the isles of the Britons and brought with them their already-well-developed use of language, Angelina Jolie may never have appeared in the movie Beowulf. Professor Michael D.C. Drout is at his best when lecturing on the fascinating history, language, and societal adaptations of the Anglo-Saxons.

    Matthew says: "Amazingly good"
  • 4.4 (398 ratings)

    The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

    • UNABRIDGED (53 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By William Manchester, Paul Reid
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer, Paul Reid
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (398)
    Performance
    (335)
    Story
    (335)

    Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, Defender of the Realm, the third volume of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister - when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill portrayed by Manchester and Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action.

    Mike From Mesa says: "A worthy final volume in a great biography"
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By William L. Shirer
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (2982)
    Performance
    (2060)
    Story
    (2064)

    Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Tale of Momumental Evil, Stupidity and Hatred"
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Eric Metaxas
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1408)
    Performance
    (900)
    Story
    (914)

    A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Führer and was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.

    Alan says: "Very Moving"
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2132)
    Performance
    (1531)
    Story
    (1528)

    The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another....

    Chris says: "Frightening, Powerful, Deeply Thought-provoking."
  • The Hiding Place

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (171)

    At one time, Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that she had a story to tell. For the first 50 years of her life, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened to her. She was a spinster watchmaker living contentedly with her sister and their elderly father in the tiny house over their shop in Haarlem. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. But with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, everything changed....

    Christina says: "My new guilty pleasure"
  •  
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Susan Bordo
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Part biography, part cultural history, The Creation of Anne Boleyn is a fascinating reconstruction of Anne’s life and an illuminating look at her afterlife in the popular imagination. Why is Anne so compelling? Why has she inspired such extreme reactions? What did she really look like? Was she the flaxen-haired martyr of Romantic paintings or the raven-haired seductress of twenty-first-century portrayals? (Answer: Neither.) And perhaps the most provocative questions concern Anne’s death more than her life.

    Roswatheist says: "Most Enjoyable Biography--Win!"
  • The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Dan Jones
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (168)
    Story
    (169)

    The first Plantagenet king inherited a blood-soaked kingdom from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic history, Dan Jones vividly resurrects this fierce and seductive royal dynasty and its mythic world. We meet the captivating Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; her son, Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and King John, a tyrant who was forced to sign Magna Carta, which formed the basis of our own Bill of Rights.

    Benoibe says: "A rare and amazing look at the Plantagenets."
  • The Railway Man

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Eric Lomax
    • Narrated By Bill Paterson
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    A naive young man, a railway enthusiast and radio buff, was caught up in the fall of the British Empire at Singapore in 1942. He was put to work on the 'Railway of Death' - the Japanese line from Thailand to Burma. Exhaustively and brutally tortured by the Japanese for making a crude radio, Lomax was emotionally ruined by his experiences.

    Parusski says: "From hatred to forgiveness"
  • The Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest

    • ORIGINAL (19 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Jennifer Paxton
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (72)

    These 36 lectures tell the remarkable story of a tumultuous thousand-year period in the history of England. Dominated by war, conquest, and the struggle to balance the stability brought by royal power with the rights of the governed, it was a period that put into place the foundation of much of the world we know today. As you journey through this largely chronological narrative you'll see key themes emerge, including the assimilation of successive waves of invaders, the tense relationship between kings and the nobility, and the constant battles over money and taxation.

    Benoibe says: "Absolutely OUTSTANDING!!!"
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  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen Greenblatt
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (778)
    Performance
    (661)
    Story
    (658)

    Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

    Ethan M. says: "Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis"
  • Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Timothy Snyder
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (294)
    Performance
    (183)
    Story
    (181)

    Americans think of World War II as “The Good War”, a moment when the forces of good resoundingly triumphed over evil. Yet the war was not decided by D-day. It was decided in the East, by the Red Army and Joseph Stalin. While conventional wisdom locates the horrors of World War II in the six million Jews killed in German concentration camps, the reality is even grimmer. In 13 years, the Nazi and Soviet regimes killed 13 million people in the lands between Germany and Russia.

    Joseph says: "Stuck between mad men"
  • A History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Mark Steinberg
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    It's difficult to imagine a nation with a history more compelling for Americans than Russia. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, this was the nation against which we measured our own nation's values and power and with whom war, if it ever came, could spell unimaginable catastrophe for our planet.Yet many Americans have never had the opportunity to study Russia in depth, and to see how the forces of history came together to shape a future so different from the dreams of most ordinary Russian people, eager to see their nation embrace Western values of progress, human rights, and justice.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not story-telling but history-telling at its best"
  • Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Suzanne M. Desan
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (71)

    The 25 years between the onset of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Bourbon Restoration after Napoleon in 1814 is an astonishing period in world history. This era shook the foundations of the old world and marked a permanent shift for politics, religion, and society - not just for France, but for all of Europe. An account of the events alone reads like something out of a thrilling novel.

    Monte Johnston says: "Such a great balance of the big picture and detail"
  • Lost and Found in Russia

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Susan Richards
    • Narrated By Lynne Jensen
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    After the fall of communism, Russia was in a state of shock. The sudden and dramatic change left many people adrift and uncertain—but also full of a tentative but tenacious hope. Returning again and again to the provincial hinterlands of this rapidly evolving country from 1992 to 2008, Susan Richards struck up some extraordinary friendships with people in the middle of this historical drama. This remarkable history of contemporary Russia holds a mirror up to a forgotten people. Lost and Found in Russia is a magical and unforgettable portrait of a society in transition.

  • The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Thomas Goetz
    • Narrated By Donald Corren
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    (0)
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    In 1875, tuberculosis was the deadliest disease in the world, accountable for a third of all deaths. A diagnosis of TB - often called consumption - was a death sentence. Then, in a triumph of medical science, a German doctor named Robert Koch deployed an unprecedented scientific rigor to discover the bacteria that caused TB. Koch soon embarked on a remedy - a remedy that would be his undoing. When Koch announced his cure for consumption, Arthur Conan Doyle, then a small-town doctor in England and sometime writer, went to Berlin to cover the event.

  • Conspiracy of Letters

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 48 mins)
    • By Liel Leibovitz
    • Narrated By Robert Blumenfeld
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    Nearly 120 years after the Dreyfus Affair, a new secret file has been unearthed - and it upends much of what we knew about the famous case involving the French Jewish officer wrongfully accused of treason. As the file against Dreyfus shows - recently revealed by the French army and excerpted here for the first time in English - the case against Dreyfus was shockingly more complex, involving an affair between two military attachés, a series of forgeries, and an insidious campaign that subtly blended homophobia and anti-Semitism to thwart justice and land an innocent man in jail.

  • The Modern Scholar: Medieval Mysteries: The History Behind the Myths of the Middle Ages

    • ORIGINAL (4 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Thomas F. Madden
    • Narrated By Thomas F. Madden
    Overall
    (1)
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    (1)
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    The Middle Ages is not only a period of Romance, but of legends, tales, and mysteries. In this course, Professor Thomas F. Madden guides listeners through the most famous and enduring narratives of medieval Europe. Beginning with King Arthur, Professor Madden peels back layers of exaggeration and fiction to lay bare the historical basis for the mythical king.

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  • The Modern Scholar: Europe's Dark Journey: The Rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany

    • ORIGINAL (4 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Beth A. Griech-Polelle
    • Narrated By Beth A. Griech-Polelle
    Overall
    (1)
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    In Europe’s Dark Journey, Beth A. Griech-Polelle examines the factors that led to the ascendance of Adolf Hitler during the rebuilding of post-WWI Germany. Moving from the birth of modern Germany through the First World War, Polelle then focuses on Hitler’s early years and the creation of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

  • Verdict on Vichy: Power and Prejudice in the Vichy France Regim

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Michael Curtis
    • Narrated By James Patrick Cronin
    Overall
    (1)
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    This masterful audiobook is the first comprehensive reappraisal of the Vichy France regime for over 20 years. France was occupied by Nazi Germany between 1940 and 1944, and the exact nature of France's role in the Vichy years is only now beginning to come to light. One of the main reasons that the Vichy history is difficult to tell is that some of France's most prominent politicians, including President Mitterand, have been implicated in the regime. This has meant that public access to key documents has been denied and it is only now that an objective analysis is possible.

  • The Pike: Gabriele d'Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Lucy Hughes-Hallett
    • Narrated By Karoline Newman
    Overall
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    Winner of the 2013 Costa Book Awards, Biography of the Year. Winner of the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. The story of Gabriele D'Annunzio, poet, daredevil - and Fascist. In September 1919 Gabriele D'Annunzio, successful poet and occasional politician, declared himself Commandante of the city of Fiume in modern-day Croatia. His intention - to establish a utopia based on his fascist and artistic ideals. It was the dramatic pinnacle to an outrageous career.

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