I've listened through the entire book, and I've definitely learned quite a lot from it. However, there's been a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that the book could have been just as good at about half the length. The author alternates between historical narrative (useful) and long editorial segments that ultimately don't provide much information (not so useful). Dr. Roberts appears to have a significant interest in cultural/societal trends throughout history, but commentaries on these subjects unfortunately suffer from a flair towards wordy expositions that don't offer much substance. Also, for better or for worse, the book is decidedly Eurocentric (and especially Anglocentric), which may be understandable given Dr. Roberts' background. For example, more is discussed of the British occupation of India, as of the entire history of modern Latin America.
Overall, it is worth listening to in order to achieve a greater understanding of the flow of history and the complex interactions between civilizations over time. But I almost wish I had instead chosen an abridged version. (I have the book form of his "A short history of the world", which is much more succinct, although it leaves out much of the historical narrative and leaves in too much of the editorial commentaries.)
The mind-boggling heroism displayed by the sailors in this battle is amazing. The story is very well-told and is very hard to put down (or to stop listening to). Almost as interesting is how the magnitude of the loss of life may have been totally avoidable, and the aftermath of this realization among senior Navy staff.
This audiobook was an in-depth and fast-paced telling of the role of US submarines in the Pacific during WWII. The aggressiveness and bravery of the men on these vessels was captured well, and Dick O'Kane's exemplary behavior is amazing.
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