This is only the 2nd book Ive given 5 stars to. The author and narrator grab your attention from the opening paragraph and hold it to the very end. Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Truman literally come to life with each paragraph. You can almost see them as Bob Walter reads this brilliant work. You are transported back to 1945 and you are witnessing these giants of history formulate the next 50 years of anglo-russian relations. The cold war is born and you are there to witness it.
I have only 2 minor complaints. The first one is the humanization of Joseph Stalin. For a man that killed more people then Hitler, Stalin is not portrayed in this negative light. The book describes how Stalin sought German reparations to aid in the rebuilding of his country but fails to acknowledge how Stalin caused a lot of this suffering himself. I.E. the great hunger in Ukraine
Second is the SLIGHT drop in audio quality during the last hour.
These 2 reasons do nothing to detract from the overall appeal of this book.
This is the most powerful and compelling book on WWII on a personal level that I have ever read / listen too second only to Diary of Anne Frank. The author Max Hastings does a tremendous job of interweaving the overall events of WWII and the lives of the people it touched. Both German and Japanese theaters are discussed. It is chilling how the author reads letters and diaries of people caught up in the events of day just to conclude that the character dies a couple days later. True stories of parents doing all they can to save their children tears emotionally at your heart.
The reader must understand that this book is about the human spirit, both good and evil, and is not another historical thesis on the war.
I had no problems listening to the narrator. He did a wonderful job
Buy this audiobook and a box of tissues
This is the first lecture series from the Great Courses that I have listened to. In the past I have totally enjoyed the Modern Scholar catalog. I have listened to quite a few of Professor Thomas Madden's work and have come to totally enjoy his courses.
First off let me say that Professor Childers does an excellent job presenting this lecture series to us. He speaks clearly and distinctly. His knowledge of WW2 is extensive and he feels comfortable talking to us.
Despite this, this series does have its flaws.
First off, this is a lecture about WW2 and not about Nazi Germany. As such, hardly any mention is made about the years 1919 - 1939. It is as if this period holds no importance. Many of the top Nazis aren't even mentioned. The Battle Of Dunkirk is discussed and we are only 40 minutes into a 15 hour lecture. This IMO opinion is a major flaw. Way too much history is ignored.
I was about to put this series down and move on when we hit the chapter of The Battle of Tarawa ( November 1943 Pacific Theater ) when all of a sudden, the lecture series comes alive with a BANG !! This is by far one of the best lectures in this course. In
fact, most of the Pacific campaign is vividly presented. It is from this point that the series takes off.
The discussion about the final bomber raid over Germany on April 21, 1945 is gut wrenching. Bravo Professor for including this.
Another defect of this presentation is the canned applause and chamber music that signals the start of another lecture. It got to be totally annoying.
This book is worth the credit and the time to listen to it and is mildly recommended. Personally I came away from this series wishing more time had been spent on the early years
Phlegm, Bile, Black Blood and Red Blood. My God! How did we ever make it as a race let alone a country? That little tie bit is just a taste of some of the rocks Mr. Philbrick has overturned to give us the story behind Bunker Hill and the hardships the American Patriots overcame to become the United States. People like (Dr.) Warren, and Church, Washington and Adams as well as countless other took on the 18th century just as ardent as the themselves. The redcoats were really no match then, were they?
I'm never disappointed when I read a Philbrick book. Whether he tells of the wooden whaling ships on the high seas or the same on an expedition. The story behind the Mayflower or Custer's last stand, he never lets the reader down. Bunker Hill is just another fine example of the writer sharing a story in a way that makes sense to the reader without dumbing it down, and without the endless ramble of how we got from page 1 to page 2..
This book was enjoyable, finishing it in about a weekend. And a big part of that goes to Mr. Chris Sorenson whose even tone and inflection made the book even easier to read/listen to. For a moment, I thought I was hearing Dylan Baker (Steve Jobs) which I read/listened to 3 times. Very easy on the ears. Well done!
This book is a credit well spent, and well worth the 12 hours to hear. Traveling in a few weeks, I may pop it in again!