I first read this book years ago when I was teenager and found it be so fascinating and well written that it stimulated my interest in history (especially World War One) which I have maintained to this day. Although she went on to write several other excellent books , I believe that this was Barbara Tuchman's best book. This audiobook has reinforced my opinion. By listening to the audiobook, one really acquires a great understanding of just how August 1914 transformed the world. Up until that point, the old order (monarchs and aristocracy) held strong in Europe and Europe controlled the world. After 1914, things would never be the same. Although the war lasted until 1918, by the time it ended, nothing was left of the old order and it was really the personalities of the new order (Lloyd George, Clemenceau and Wilson) who brought about the peace. What makes the book great is the manner in which the author takes the historical figures of that time period (such as the Kaiser, Foch, Joffre, Churchill, French, Kitchner, Von Moltke, Poincare) and paints a very human portrait of all of them through short biography of their pre 1914 lives and how these pre war events shaped the decisions that they made during the first month of the war. The narration is quite good as the narrator does her best to put foreign accents on all of the French and German personalities (I actually think it might have worked better if a man had narrated the book- namely because all of the main characters were men-but Ms. May does a very good job). I also believe that listeners will enjoy the chapter that chronicles the flight of the German cruiser Goeben during the first month of the war. I would strongly recommend this audiobook to anyone who is interested in history and to anyone who has never been interested in the subject, because they found history to be boring when they studied it in school. It is very well done- a good recording
As a student of history I found this biography to be an excellent book about a man whose career spanned two different period in US History- the period leading up to and including the Civil War and the Guilded Age that covered the development of America up to the Progressive Era prior to World War One. The author does an excellent job of covering the details of not just John Hay's life but the historical events (including the assasination of three presidents, the Spanish American War, The Boxer Rebellion, the Panama Canal land acquisition, and the Russo Japanese War) that were an integral part in US development into an imperial power. Great nuggets were also included (such as the fact that Hay's granddaughter was actually the first owner of the NY Mets baseball franchise).The narration was also excellent and I learned a great deal about a period of history of which I thought I had a good knowledge. I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to learn more about the history of America from the American Civil War through 1905.
This is the only book of Maugham's that I have actually read (kindle e reader), listened to (audible) and seen the movie (Tyrone Power and Bill Murray versions). I found this audio book version to be the best of the three mediums. Narration was outstanding and I felt more involved with the story and characters than I did with the book and the movies. I would recommend this recording to anyone with any interest in Maugham's books.
I thought that this was a very well written and narrated book about an historical subject and era that does not receive enough attention. The conviction and exoneration of Alfred Dreyfus by the French Army and Government marked a watershed event in the history of that country. The French had been defeated by the Prussians in 1870-71 and the army had performed poorly. When secrets had been leaked to the German government, the army turned on Dreyfus as a scape goat- and the fact that he was a Jew from Alsace/Lorraine whose relatives remained behind in the German occupied provinces was a perfect excuse for the withhunt. Harris does a great jog in telling the story through the eyes and narration of George Piquart who almost lost his military career and life as a result of his standing up for the truth- namely that Dreyfus was framed and the military covered up the framing. The book introduces the listener to some of the key political actors who played a part in saving Dreyfus- namely Clemenceau, Zola and Jaures. It is an exciting and worthwhile listen. The only problem I had with the story is that Harris identifies Moscow and not St. Petersburg as city in Tsarist Russia that was the hub of Russian military intelligence. Not a big deal- but to a student of history like me, it bothered me. Otherwise I would recommend the book- and as a result of my listening to it, I now find my interest piqued in the Dreyfus affair
I thought that this book was extremely well written. I also thought that Jeremy Bobb did an superb job with the narration. The biggest problem I had with the book is that Professor Berg has produced a volume that deifies President Wilson too much and is not critical enough of his shortcomings both as a person and as a world leader. Throughout the book Berg gives short shift to Wilson's weaknesses (his unwillingness to forgive people whom he felt betrayed him, his pure enmity for Henry Cabot Lodge with regard to the Versailles treaty and the racism that came from his Southern roots) while spending way too much time on the good that he accomplished (his Progressive Agenda and his willingness to try to avoid US involvement in World War I until Imperial Germany pushed him too far). In writing this book Berg indicated that he had access to previously unreleased materials (i.e. the letters of one of Wilson's daughters and the letters of Dr. Grayson who was Wilson's personal physician), but in completing the book I am left with the feeling that the addition of these materials did not add greatly to the biography or shed any new light on Wilson than what I already know. If you have never read a biography of Wilson before, this book would be a good place to start in trying to understand him- but I believe that if you really want to understand the man and the times he lived, this book is only a first step.
I must admit that I am not a great fan of Lyndon B. Johnson-especially since I place great blame on him for the Vietnam war. That being said, upon finishing this book I acquired a great deal of respect for President Johnson- especially in light of the way he handled himself during the time period that is covered in this book. The humiliation that he faced while serving as Vice President and his ability to hold up to being ostracized by the Kennedy White House inner circle during the Kennedy Administration are very well portrayed in this book- and have in part changed my opinion of him. But my greatest respect for him is reserved for the way in which he almost single handedly pushed through the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
As he always does, the author does a great job in describing and analyzing all of the events from Johnson's election as Vice President to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Grover Gardner does a great job (as he almost always does) narrating the book. I am really looking forward to his next volume on Johnson's life.
This book is well worth the listen.
The author started with a great thesis- namely the decline of the Army Leadership by the Generals who have led the US both during and since World War II. He then did an excellent job supporting his position by offering great insight into all of the wars in which the army has been deployed- from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan. Portraits of all of the American Generals who commanded the US Army in these- Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, McArthur, Ridgeway, Taylor, Westmoreland, Abrams, Schwartzkopf, Powell, Franks, Petraeus, Sanchez, McCrystal are laid out here for the listener, as well as how each contribted to the success or failure of the army high command during these wars.
George Catlett Marshall- whom quite frankly not many people know enough about and appreciate today. Ricks portrays him as the father of what was great in the army during World War II- namely the ability to select men of high intelligence, energy and affability to lead the US forces- and to remove from command those generals who did not win battles. I became so fascinated by Ricks' portrait of Marshall that after listening to this recording I actually purchased and am reading a biography of Marshall from Amazon (Ed Cray's book entitled "General Of The Army"- which happens to be a great read so far) . Not many people actually realize it but Marshall wanted to command the Allied Invasion at Normandy in 1944- and it was at Franklin Roosevelt's request that he did not agree to become the commander and instead appointed Eisenhower- who as we all know won enough accolade and fame to eventually be elected President of the US.
All were decently portrayed
While I did not have an extreme reaction to the book, I must admit that I came away with the feeling that the current US Army command leadership structure needs to be reformed and new blood infused into that institution if the army is to be a relevant force in protecting the interests of our country. I believe that the author's recommendations on how to bring about and implement this change are well laid out in the epilogue to the book
I am glad that I purchased and listened to the book. While another reviewer has aptly pointed out that there is only theme to this book and that the author constantly reiterates it- I believe that book is well written and well narrated and worth the listen.
This is a very well written and well narrated book. As has been pointed out by previous reviewers the book is narrated by Cotter Smith and not Professor Feldman. The book focuses on the lives of four of FDR's Supreme Court Justices- Jackson, Douglas, Frankfurter and Black- all of whom had a very significant impact on the history of the Supreme Court from the New Deal era to the current day. Professor Feldman does an excellent job discussing the backgrounds of the four justices and how their education, social and political experiences framed their view of jurisprudence. For readers who are very interested in the Supreme Court and how it has become so important in the modern day political era this is a great listen. I would also recommend that after listening to this volume, readers may also want to listen to Jeff Shesol's well written and narrated book "Supreme Power" which focuses on FDR's attempt to pack the Supreme Court. While the court packing scheme is discussed in Professor Feldman's book, it is justifiably given less space than in Mr. Shesol's book. I would strongly recommend both books. Great additions to the Audible Library
This was an extremely well written and narrated book. The author did a great job in describing the various aspects of the war from the leaders (Churchill, Hitler, Stalin and Roosevelt but not Mussolini), to the commanders (Mainstein, Guderian, Rommel, Patton, Montgomery, Brooke, Eisenhower, Rommel, Patton, Bradley and Clark but not MacArthur) to the various aspects of the war (the nuclear bombs, air power, sea power). The narration by Christain Rudska was excellent. I thought Mr. Rudska's ability to portray the actual voices of the characters was great. I learned a great deal about the war that I did not know listening to the book. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in acquiring a full knowledge of the Second World War
Although I have read the book before and thus am familiar with the plot, I believe that this one of the finest narrated books in the audible collection. John Lee did an absolutely fantastic job in narrating the story. I believe that the story is Dumas greatest work (although the Three Muskateers and The Man In The Iron Mask are also great books). I think that the translation from French to English left something to be desired (for example the term "notaire" in French should translate to "solicitor" in English not notary) but overall a great book and very much worthwhile listening to.
As a student of history, the First World War is my favorite topic. Norman Stone is an excellent historical scholar on this topic. His book "The Eastern Front" (not available in audio) which discusses the Eastern Front in World War One is a bible for people like me. This book provides an excellent concise overview of the war in a very well written and organized volume. If you have never listened to any books regarding the topic and want to understand this period in history, this book is where you should start. There are some small historical errors but these do not detract from the narration and content. Overall a great addition to the Audible Library
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