I was more than pleasantly surprised with this book and Terry Brighton, who I never read before, pulled off something rather extraordinary. Far from being a gimmicky attempt to use top generals to slap together an historical narrative, this book is very well written, the content well researched, and the presentation well delivered.
From an historical perspective this is a surprisingly good book on WWII. I liked how the author offers several view points on a subject, or the motivation of why a General did "x", and when he gave his own insights I found them to be well reasoned and thoughtful. I also found myself both liking and disliking all three of these great "Masters of War", and the excellent back drop of the important events in WWII made this an enjoyable read.
I came away with a better understanding of all three men, and surprising insight on the course of the war in the Western theatre and how significant each of these men were in the overall outcome of the major battles and the war itself. Whether you are a war buff; or are new to the world wars in Europe, I think you will find this book informative an enjoyable as I did.
I can recommend this book and believe you will be touched by Grisham's accounting of death row. Very different from The Chamber, there is suspense leading up to this event, and is Grisham at his best.
He does a terrible job, again, with the main characters. The Clergyman is weak, the law enforcement personal complete fools, government reps. mental and unbelievably arrogant, and the lawyers a mix of all these traits. Even the victims, the parents in particular, come across as so inauthentic that it makes what could have easily have been a five star book, IMHO, a mediocre story.
This book is meant to stir your emotions, and I think it will. The moral of this story is supposed to be that there is no justification for a highly cultivated civilization as ours to administer justice by putting someone to death, or killing someone, as the text reads. What you'll find, however, is that what Grisham is really saying is that it is wrong to put an innocent person to death. The "real" perpetrator - well, kill the S.O.B.
The inconsistencies and outright contradictions, the outrageous suit which puts a man on death row, the cast of numbskulls, and an ending which fizzles out is why I cannot give this book more than two stars. I think that us Grisham fans are longing for a spellbinding legal thriller with the unanticipated twists, and characters we learn to love or love to hate. What I believe we are not looking for is for Grisham to use his gift of writing as a means for him to convey his polical, social, or moral convictions - which is how this work and others in recent past have come across.
Prior to listening to this audio book I knew very little of Robert Ludlum. I did enjoy The Bourne movies series but found those same audio books a bit tedious and tough to get through - strange since most of the time its the movie which does injustice to the book! This book is very well written, the characters terrific, and the overall crafty planning of this thriller makes it at once believable and unbelievable. The narrator, Paul Michael, has become one of my favorite and does an excellent job once again, IMHO. If you have listened to other Ludlum books and found them long and drawn out, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with this audio book. If you are already a fan of this extremely talented author, I have no doubt you will enjoy this too!
In this account of the tragedies of the first and second world wars, Buchanan tries to point blame at Churchill and ends up confusing the reader. Below I list some examples of this:
1) The title of the book, in part, 'The Unnecessary War' is a reference of Churchill's assessment given to WWII. In covering Churchill, who was the First Lord of the Admiralty in WWI, the back drop of this book is both wars.
2) Churchill is implicitly found culpable for WWI because he is in a happy state of affairs during this time. This is an annoying point especially when you think of George Patton or Robert E. Lee in the American Civil War, to only name a couple.
3) Whenever Buchanan is on the verge of making a so-called courageous point of the guilt of Churchill, he backs down and quotes notables such as Barbara Tuchman or John Keegan, often siting the evils of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany, or Hitler - in other words, coming to no conclusion at all.
4) Buchanan is unable to keep Churchill at the center of his narrative and pulls in Gray, the members of the house of commons, and England herself so that he confuses the reader on the point he is attempting to make, rendering sections of his book incoherent.
5) In the context of this narrative, Hitler's name in the title is irrelevant and may as well have been the Kaiser, or the Nazi, etc.
I enjoy fresh perspectives on 20th century events, the characters, and the tragic consequences but believe that in terms of an historical account this book is not salvageable. There are simply too many events, too many factors, too many people involved in the first and second world wars to point the finger at anyone person (although I would admit you could get away with this in blaming Hitler for WW2 and Germany's bizaare desire for a pure race). This account was too trivial and unfair, and it did not add anything to my understanding of the tragedies which befell mankind during this hellish period in our history.
Well it took me the loss of a credit and time to understand that this was not meant to be a historically accurate account of the battle of Gettysburg. Although the story is well written and the narrator just fine, I am not one who is "bored" by factual accounts of history. This seemed to be one of Gingrich's motivations to change the battle fields and ending, by injecting a "what if" scenario in its place. The irony is that he did not need to do any of this, as Michael Shaara's "Killer Angels" proves. A disappointment for me as I was looking, and thought I had found, another excellent Civil War book by a reputable historian.
I really enjoyed this book and the author's approach to an historical account of how the battle against disease began, and how it continues. I do have a science background, but not in medicine and am even less knowledgeable about history. I found myself recalling the names of tools or procedures used in biology, such as the Petri dish named after a German student, as the author gave an intricate account of the evolution of modern science.
What I really enjoyed about this book is the how the author describes the exhaustive efforts of scientist and researchers in the earlier part of last century; those who pushed the creative genius of mankind to its limit to find cures for the deadliest diseases known to man. I could not imagine having the strength, courage, faith, not to mention intelligence to discover something that barely existed as an idea at that time. The author was amazing at capturing how the pain and suffering of physicians who lost so many to disease, and how their love for their fellow man were the primary motivations which made the miraculous discoveries possible. With money, prestige, and self-gratification other motivators, the less admirable qualities of men were also told. This was a very well written book read by a terrific narrator that you are sure to enjoy!
I first need to admit I have not finished the book, but am more than half-way thru, am thoroughly enjoying it, and don't run the risk of giving away the ending! The beginning is a bit slow, but you'll understand why as the characters develop and as the book picks up in pace. The book is very cleverly written, a bit tedious with details, but twists in this book are anything but "predictable". If you are in the science field, as I am, you may find yourself critical of some of the material but remember "its simply non-fiction". One quick example is how virtual universes are explained as infinite, perhaps to account for all possible combinations of outcomes throughout history, but when questioned about the dangers of going to a different point in time and how this could change the present, the main character explains how this is not possible with such few people (the better explanation I would think would be that it would not be possible since you are in a different "universe" so returning to the current universe, nothing in its past actually changed). Types of exchanges such as these occur only at the beginning of the book, but if you hang in there it is really worth it, and is a book I believe many will enjoy in audible or written format.
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