Grab this one. Manchester is an incredbile author and does a great warts and all bio of a fascinating subject.
It is slightly longwinded at times, but he captures the essence of the man from childhood through his "fading away".
The narrator didn't stand out like Humphrey Bower or Kevin Pariseau, but he keeps story moving.
Complaints below were that Manchester is too pro-Macarthur. While he may not be as critical of Macarthur, he doesn't put him on a pedestal. The man comes across as brilliant, arrogant, egotistical, yet a true family man.And his handling of the Truman issue was very fair-handed, rapping both for the issues.
I would love to see Manchester's book on Krupp next on audible.
Not sure what it was, but I loved the movie, and liked the audible of the book but this radio dramatization(based on the book) didn't work for me. Get the movie--and Mr. Roberts while you are at it.
And for great audible of Herman Wouk, get Winds of War and War&Remembrance, you won't be disappointed.
Often I have discussions with my family and friends about what movies made better books, and vice versa. With audible, the question is "does a narrator do a book justice?" Well, with Tobruk, I have to be honest, I doubt I would ever stayed with this if I picked it up off a bookshelf. The author has an unusual story telling style that I doubt comes off well if simply read. He mixes tenses, writes from imagined view of participants, complete with a slang, and worse, he segues from well-described battle scenes to anecdotes that while they may or may not truly relate to his story, they definitely hinder momentum built up by the prior scene. He even quotes Shakespeare at odd moments(sometimes without attributing).
However, having said that, Humprhrey Bower transforms this book and somehow brings this fascinating story to life.
I am two thirds through the book and loving it. Bower does a great job of transporting you to the scene of the battle, to life in tanks and trenches, the hot sun beating down, the trepidation of the battle, the heart wrenching sorrow of an Australian wife whose husband is in the battle. Even the odd slang sprinkled throughout, which at times reminds you of characters in 1940's movies saying "Golly Gee" or "Goshdarnit" ,comes off well done.
The story itself is worthwhile, the heroism of the Australians stopping the German Blitzkrieg. Obviously the author is in love with his subject, so don't expect an objective view, although he does a good job covering the German viewpoint.
To be honest, this really comes across like a novel, not a history. What you might call a docudrama or dramatization.
Personally I think I would have loved Fitzsimmons book more if he had written a straight up novel, as this so much reminded me of Stephen Pressfield's Killing Rommel.
As for Bower, I am definitely interested in picking up another book he narrates. I listened to a sample of Kokoda by Fitzgibbons and while style is the same, it isn't Bower, and sounded very flat compared to this book.
By the way, the common complaint in other reviews before I purchased is about the slow start. I didn't find it as bad as all that. He first mentions desert warfare in Chapter 4 and really doesn't even mention Tobruk itself until the following chapter. Yes, this certainly could have been trimmed, but again, Bower kept me going. Stick with it as the battle scenes are very well done.
I liked the background of the Admirals---showing how carrier, sub, and destroyer tactics developed under these four Admirals. I also appreciated the in-depth bio of Leahy who is rarely covered.
Book does a great job telling a short concise bio of each, intertwined together through events that made them famous. HOWEVER, it avoids almost all controversy. Even with the Typhoons, Halsey gets treated with kid gloves.It leaves mistaken impression that all four worked very well together and rarely disagreed. That wasn't exactly the case.
Yes, but this one disappointed me. Toward the end, as somone else noted, his ability to differentiate characters was lost and that hurt in some sections as it is all dialogue and being able to distinguish who is talking helps.
I loved his narration of Winds of War and War&Remembrance, so was surprised at this performance.
Ok,confession...I love the movie. I downloaded the radio dramatization and hated it. Because of Kevin Pariseau's prior Wouk performances, I tried this one.
As someone pointed out:
1. This isn't Wouk's best work.
2. Pariseau is quite a few levels down from his prior narrations.
3. Get past the annoying May/Maria storyline, and this is actually very well done. Really do feel a part of the ship and provides greater appreciation for both Caine Mutiny and Mr. Robert's movies. At first I was surprised that Wouk continued beyond the court martial, and while a bit preachy, it did provide better closure than the movie.
Yes. Very compelling story, neatly done.
The whole Von Roon imitation of Manstein's Lost Victories and Halder's and Von Bock's War Diary and even Speer's books, was incrediblbly dead on. Great mechanism for not only explaining events, but also demonstrating the prejudices of the Germans in a very subtle fashion.
Astounding his ability to mimic the different voices. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I am an amateur historian of WWII, and have over 2,000 books covering various aspects of the war. But when I was 7 or 8, my parents had me watch the Robert Mitchum miniseries(knowing even then my fascination with the period) However, Mitchum and the rest of the cast were so horribly stiff and their stilted performances bored me to tears. And of course Pug appearing in every major scene of WWII was mindboggling. Strangely, listening to this book, I was able to suspend my disbelief on that point and enjoyed the story immensely.
And yes, I went back and tried an episode of the miniseries on NetFlix and still found it incredibly poor, even for the 80's. Shame as Blue and the Gray showed it could be done well.
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