A very amazing story of a one very lucky man’s experiences through the entirety of WWII. This is a must read for anyone remotely interested in how the average German Soldier perceived the war. It’s also a great background piece for how the East / West divide opened up during this period.
Narration was sound, but a little uninspiring. It wasn’t difficult to listen to, but it could have had more inflection at times and been more dynamic.
A warning: an general interest in military issues is an asset, as the average readers eyes may glaze over in parts where units, places, and dates are brought up.
In summary, an very good piece of work.
As the title for my review states, this was my first foray into "alternative history", and I couldn't have picked a better novel to start with.
Having just finished North and South last year, this was great way of thinking about the "what if" of the civil war. Turtledove does a great job of putting together a plausible story to support his cast of historical characters. At first it seemed a bit odd, as the story goes against everything I know about the characters and history of this period, but after a few chapters giving the background of how the alternative events came to be, the story started to flow and I accepted the story as it unfolded.
From what I understand, there are some follow on books to this one, but this novel stands on it's own without a "cliff-hanger" style ending. I'll likely give them a read, although I believe the story picks up a decade or so later, so the period will change somewhat.
Give this book a read if you're interested in the Civil War period, interesting historical figures, and if you have an accepting and good sense of imagination.
This is a must read for those wanting to know what the private experienced during WWI. Of course, having been written during the war itself, it is somewhat sanitized by the sensibilities of that era. You won't find the horrific descriptions that novels of the Vietnam War era have. That being said, knowing this, one can imagine the true difficulties and horrors being described.
Others have classified this story as a propaganda piece. I would argue otherwise. Obviously, the author has a very defined sense of right, wrong, and duty. I don't think the author's goal was to recruit others to the cause, but his intent was to simply tell his story, and this he does well. The only areas I would consider propaganda are in the small vignettes within the main story, but I get the feeling the author was just relating some of the stories he had heard in the trenches.
The real value in this story lies in the telling of the day to day life of the front line soldier. Details of assisting the cooks and scouring the pots with mud, how leave was announced and executed, the unit play, etc. These glimpses into life in the trenches are a goldmine.
A short work, it won't take up much of your time. This novel is a must read for anyone with relatives, now passed away, who fought in WWI, and for those even remotely interested in that period. Don't let the fact that the story is 100 years old dissuade you, as it' is a fresh and pertinent today as ever.
This was a rock solid book about company of Aussies and their faithful companion. While the story about the dog is key, the book could also stand on it's own as a story about the lives of the ordinary Commonwealth soldier during WWII.
Anyone interested in furthering their knowledge of the history concerning ordinary soldiers during this historic period should consider this work. Of course, if you're after a good dog story it has that too.
This was my third read of a Jack Reacher novel, even though this is the 7th book in the series. It does well as a stand alone novel, and the sequencing of the stories is immaterial.
This audio book was an excellent package deal. The story and narrator were a good match.
As for the Jack Reacher character, well let's just say he is the anti-bond. Bond is slick and suave, and Reacher is rough around the edges. Bond is a socialite, and Reacher a loner.
Both characters share many similarities, as does the story and writing styles. These books can be a bit formulaic, as are many series, but that is really a minor detraction.
Pick this up if you are looking for a well crafted bit of entertainment.
As with all of Abercrombie's works, Best Served Cold is a very dark story. I think that's what makes them such a compelling read. The "hero's" to use the term loosely, are really quite despicable, but for some reason you find yourself identifying with certain characters.
I think that really is the Abercrombie trade mark. Characters with major flaws, often more than one, that perhaps reflect reality much more than people are comfortable with.
I would recommend you consider the "Blade Itself" series and "The Heroes" before this book, but it could be listened to as a stand alone work. I think, however, it would lose something without that background knowledge.
Don't get me wrong, the underlying message and premise of this story was solid. Unfortunately, the author repeatedly slapped his audience in the head with his messages. Nothing subtle here, and it did the story a disservice.
The book did entertain me, but it could have been much more nuanced. The narrator was pretty good, but was a bit deadpan when not doing voices.
So, if you're interested in seeing what one author thinks of what military / civilian/ governmental relationships will look like in the distant future, give this one a listen, but don't expect too much.
Of note, the author does indicate this is his first novel, so you must take that into consideration. I'm assuming his writing style has matured since then.
This was another one of those books that I picked up just to give it a try. I was very pleasantly surprised, but then again, I did love comic books as a kid.
And that really does sum up this book. It's a comic book story without the pictures. I wouldn't be surprised to learn this has been published as a graphic novel.
So, what do I mean by "comic book story"? Well, it is pure fantasy and in many places over the top. Lots of literary "kitsch" with many improbable action scenes, over described blood and gore, and improbable hero's. In short, a wonderful melange of entertainment.
Make no mistake, this is entertainment, but the author and narrator pull it off with gusto. This type of story could have been a disaster, but it was well put together. Others have noted that the author does tend to elaborate a bit too much about firearms, but hey, it doesn't really detract from the story. Rather, it adds to the kitsch.
So, if you need some solid entertainment that will bring the odd smile to your face during your commute or other times you need to unwind, this book should work for you.
First published in 1953, I'm willing to bet that most people have grown up on "Hollywood Bond". So it was for me. Having listened to this book, I can say that I have done the book and myself a disservice.
The story is quite crisp and well paced. There is none of the overt complexity and silly "wow" factors of the modern screen Bond. The novels' characters were believable and much more complex. The basis of the story was simple, but very captivating.
A warning, however, and that is there are a few chauvinistic passages in the book. Smoking is also featured heavily. It was written in 1953, after all.
As always, Simon Vance put in another sterling performance. He was made for Ian Flemings works.
So, if you haven't invested some time to investigate where the Bond character started, I recommend you give this audio book a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.
While most WW II history books focus on the Admirals and decision makers, this book is unique in that it covers the history of a single ship. From the laying of the keel and the composition of the crew through to the tragic end, this story will keep your interest.
As a Navy man myself, I appreciated the detail the author brought to this story. That he did so in such a smooth and interesting way gives tributes to the authors literary skills. While American in focus, the nationality of the ship isn't that important. What is important is the story of the men and how they came together in just 6 months. There are many lessons to be learned in this book.
I can recommend this to anyone with an interest in WWII, history, leadership, ships, or in excellent stories that just happen to be true. Try it. You won't be disappointed.
Generally speaking, there will be 3 types of people who will but this book:
a. Those already atheistic or leaning that way;
b. The curious and maybe a bit doubtful, but open minded; and
c. Those who will be very much opposed to the arguments put forth in this book.
If you are in category 1 or 2, I can highly recommend this book. If you are in category 3, no matter how sound the arguments made or how well presented, you will dislike this work, so save your money.
This book had dual narrators. I'm not sure why they went with this, as it could have done without, but it didn't detract from the work. Both narrators were quite talented.
To sum up, I can recommend this work, as it takes what could be an exceptionally dry subject and turns it into an engaging listen.
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