History, historical fiction and mysteries are my faves, but a fan of all genres.
Follow this up with All Quiet on the Western Front and it will give you a very good perspective on the tragedy that was WW1.
Nadia May doesn't miss a note or a word, and through effective use of tonality and accents, keeps me tuned in to the story. Very educational.
Engaging, Dramatic, Suspenseful
I have listened to two other performances by Nadia May, "Anna Karenina" and Barbara Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror". At first I thought that Nadia May's voices for characters were a little off-putting but having listened to her with multiple texts, I find that she really gives life to the words on the page.
This is the story of the events running up to the colossal mobile battle that set the stage for the dissolution of Old Europe in the trench warfare of 1915-1917 and paved the way for the horrors of the twentieth century. It was an old fashioned campaign fought with new weapons: heavy artillery and the machine gun, with infantry and horses along for the ride. The narration is effective and urgent, though at times mannered where French and German accents are assumed. You can feel the old world giving way to the new under the remorseless pressure of events and the foolish optimism of the leaders of Edwardian Europe. The description of the events surrounding strategic and command decisions in the first weeks of the war is masterly. The course of events was dictated by the whims of the Kaiser, the delusions of the French military staff, Imperial Russian honor and stupidity, British blundering that worked out in the end (at the cost of virtually the whole army), and railway timetables.
I decided that the author's academic, though ironic, detachment from the horrific behavior of the Germans in Belgium in the first days of the war was the best way of approaching the topic since it left the reader to decide for himself what reaction was justified at the time. The reaction of the British was perhaps the most natural and explains much about the subsequent course of the war. We can ponder whether the world has advanced or retreated since 1914, when the Germans felt no need to dress up the deliberate murder and dispossession of civilians as anything other than a legitimate military tactic, intended to shorten the war. The 'Huns' were brutal, but they were honest.
Yes, I would definitely recommend this audiobook to a friend. It is an amazingly detailed look at the events leading to WWI. The story feels like a behind the scenes expose because of the author's use of diverse sources from top military leaders and the wives of diplomats to everyday people caught in the middle of fight.
Her narration and excellent accents bring to life the host of international characters in the story.
If you enjoy non-fiction related to major world conflicts you probably already own this book but having it read to you by a skilled narrator will prove to be a great experience.
I love Audiobooks. I listen to roughly 50-100 hours a month. It's a good thing I work for Audible!
I'm not sure if the book could be improved as an Audiobook. Its well written, and well read, but it features a lot of dates, names, locations and shifting points of view that are hard to follow without a visual reference.
It was difficult to follow all the players and points of view without a map, glossary and footnotes. Her descriptions are rich, but I kept loosing the flow of the book
I like the scene she painted in the first part of the book of the funeral of the King on England. The heraldry and pomp of all the assembled royalty of Europe in a long-gone London (much of it bombed out of existence in World War II). Its hard to appreciate how much the world has changed in less than 100 years!
Not so much a scene but I would definitely cut back on how much the author changes perspectives between different characters. It devolves into a lot of "he said, then so and so said" in ways that don't really clarify your understanding of events.
As much as I'd love to recommend this book - good narration, fascinating topic, well written, its just not right for an Audiobook. Skip it.
A classic history
The myth busting about the BEF and the dreadful leadership of their commander Field Marshall French.
The March of Folly
The narrator has a shrill almost migraine inducing voice that gets worse whenever she attempts to put on ludicrous accents for French, Russians, Germans etc. Her voice grates on the nerves making it difficult to listen for anything but short periods of time. I recommend Tylenol or Ibuprofen be take with this otherwise excellent book.
Why are all the accurate (negative) reviews of this reading listed last? I could not suffer through even 1/3 of the material. Can I have my money back?
I recommend the written book, not this audio version.
Couldn't make it through this reading.
I was looking forward to learning more about WWI, but I was disappointed with this work. On the other hand, I highly recommend
Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
August 1914 in WWI - Won Pulitzer for non-fiction. Book concentrates on the opening of WWI and what lead up to it. It covers mistakes that were made by all sides that lead to the war lasting so long, the beginning of trench war fare, and what from the beginning may have resulted in a subsequent war in the 1940s.
I had a hard time with the narration of this book - this was the first non-fiction I've listened to with Nadia May as narrator (Anna Karenina and Middlemarch, and it just didn't work for me). I was surprised as I've really enjoyed Nadia May before. Also, I've listened to quite a bit of non-fiction audiobooks, and this is the first that didn't work for me.
I'm sure if I read the book, it would get an 4 or so, but I'm giving a 3 because I was never engaged as I would wish.
I just finished listening to this book and there's a lot to like. Focusing on such a short period of such a long war gives you some amazing insight into the thought processes, failures and successes of the leaders at that time.
Some people complained about the narrator's habit of speaking with accents for the various players, but I appreciated it because there are so many names being thrown around that sometimes it's hard to remember which side they are on. What IS annoying is all of the French phrases being tossed in there...but you start to ignore them after a while.
Also, you should find and study a good map of France, Belgium and Germany, because you will be totally lost unless you have an understanding where these battles took place.