I read and listen to a lot of WWII history. Every time I think I'm beyond being shocked at the atrocities of the war, I'm proven wrong. 9 times out of 10 it's a story from the Holocaust that gets me.
This audiobook, told in the first person by the actual people involved, is no exception. The tone tends to be matter-of-fact, rather than emotional, but that adds to the impact of what you're hearing. One of the stories hit so close to home that I broke down and wept at one point, and that's not the sort of thing I do often.
My only complaint is that the work was too short, skipped too many parts of Europe, and skipped over large sections of the war. It's entirely possible that I wouldn't have been satisfied until they'd made a 100 hour compilation.
I highly recommend this audiobook, as well as the other Forgotten Voices books to have come out of the Imperial War Museum. This one, however, is not for the faint of heart. The soldier's war was much different than what was experienced in the ghettos, concentration camps and hideouts throughout Europe. This is an unblinking chronicle of some of the worst things humans have done to one another in recorded history.
Grant's memoirs are considered the most readable, concise and approachable war memoirs ever published in any era. I'm finding this to be true. His language is surprisingly modern, and Grant has a habit of reminding you who people are when they are re-introduced several pages later -- it makes the overall feel of the book one of a narrative rather than a history.
The narrator, though somewhat bland, suits his source material rather well, and doesn't distract much from the book.
I'm disappointed that they've broken up Grant's memoirs into three separate audiobooks, but I can live with that thanks to my subscription. If you want excruciating detail about the Civil War, buy Foote's histories. For a broader overview of Grant's war, with the perspective of the commanding General, read these memoirs.
Leckie and Sledge have written the two classic tales of the 1st Marine Division in WWII. Helmet for my Pillow and With The Old Breed are both highly recommended.
That said, Leckie is a bit of an oddity in enlisted-man war memoir authors, quoting Homer, Herodotus, and St. Thomas Aquinas, and eschewing the profanities that he heard and likely used every day in uniform. Given when he wrote this book, that's not all that surprising. Leckie also uses pseudonyms for his fellow Marines, which is annoying, but it is what it is.
This book is longer on personal narrative and less about the graphic and gory details of what combat in the Pacific was like. For that, see Sledge.
Other reviewers are correct about the narrator: he takes a bit to get used to, and I can see where he'd turn some people off. I went with it, and soon it didn't bother me.
If you're into reading about the Pacific War from a worms-eye view, this book is essential reading.
A childishly dramatic reading. I couldn't get more than 10 minutes in before giving up, despite being a Heinlein fan.
I love Christopher Moore, generally.
I'd rate this book as his 2nd weakest of those I've read so far, with Fool being the only one I've liked less.
An interesting subject that attempts to chronicle the effects of Meth on a small town.
Then it's about the loss of union jobs. Then the Mexican cartels. Then the town again. Then Big Agra. Then the prosecutor's inability to settle down with the love of his life. Then illegal immigrants.
Great subject material in dire need of a good editor.
I found myself completely fascinated by this book, and couldn't wait to get back in my car to hear the next section.
Minus one star for the narration, which was a bit stilted and awkward in several places. That's the fault of the editor or producer rather than the reader, though; it should have merited a re-take.
Ms Handler makes her way from meaningless hookup to meaningless hookup throughout her early adult life, sometimes finding herself in some truly funny situations. The thought occurs to me over and over again while listening that she seems quite unhappy, and it's largely because of the unnecessary lies she's told for her own amusement while pursuing these disposable relationships; any chance of a connection is gone because of how she got to where she did. Her cynicism shines through loud and clear, though, talking about how she doesn't want to waste her "first marriage" on a gay man, for instance.
It's no spoiler to say that she hits bottom (a couple of times) and starts thinking about settling down by the end of the book. I wonder, though: who would have her after reading this?
I'm on a Christopher Moore kick lately, having listened to and enjoyed Practical Demonkeeping, A Dirty Job and The Island of the Sequined Love Nun in the past couple of months.
Fool is, different. Different in tone. Different in character development. Different in style.
That's fine for what it is, and Fool was enjoyable, mostly, but if I'd bought it first, I probably wouldn't have continued through Moore's stuff.
I have to wonder if I made it through this book only because I'd read King Lear in the past couple of years. A friend of mine who's never read Lear, gave up because he tired of feeling lost.
I'm not giving up on Moore, though. "You Suck" is being downloaded as I write this.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend this audiobook.
I listen to a lot of military history, and this stands out as one of the more enjoyably written books I've listened to in a while. The author strikes a decent balance between his narrative and the historical events, and, importantly, continually interjects personal details and minutia that make the men of Torpedo 8 come alive.
I finished the book feeling like I knew some of these guys, and wanted to hear more about them. Well done. I'll seek out other books by this author in the future. And I'll be heading to the war museum in nearby Fredricksburg to get a good close-up look at the Avenger they have there.
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