The true story of a serial murderer set against the backdrop of occupied Paris? Sign me up!
That's how I guessed I would react to this book; I was wrong. The most compelling parts of this book are contained in the first hour or so, with the discovery of the bodies in 1944. The author then jumps around back and forth in time, from detective, to murderer to victims, and manages to tell us that the murderer did it when he should have been building suspense about his guilt. Later, he tells us who the killer is hiding with while trying to build suspense as to his whereabouts.
Compelling story, disappointingly told. I found myself slogging through the latter 2/3 of the book rather than being on the edge of my seat.
The narrator was fine, though I didn't care for quotes being read in a French accent. That's probably my thing, but I still count off for it.
A tremendously interesting story about how museum curators went on the front lines to save, salvage and rescue much of Europe's cultural heritage as the Allied war machine marched towards Berlin. Some wonderful characters, working secretly to document what the Nazis had taken, from whom, and to where.
I'm glad the Army spent time and effort preserving these treasures. I've seen many of the rescued works in churches and museums across Europe. But this story is a footnote to WW2; the author seems like he's trying to make heroes out of his main characters. Undoubtedly some of them were brave and physically courageous. But heroes?
A worm's eye view of a selected few vignettes of the author's life before and during his service in VietNam.
The author is long-winded, repeats himself, tells stories out-of-order, says the same things over and over again, and weaves several threads of narrative in and around one another in a manner reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut. Some people may like that.
But not me.
I was expecting another D-day-only narrative when I bought this book. Something to compliment Ryan and Ambrose. I was pleasantly surprised to get much more, since the book covers the European campaign in some detail from D-day until the liberation of Paris, with much time being spent on the siege of Caen, the battle for the Falaise Pocket, and the capture of Paris.
The narrator did a decent enough job, except he imitated accents when speaking in the voice of American, French, or German people. He even had voices he did for Monty and Churchill.
The practice hit a very discordant note, and distracted from the narrative.
I've read or listened to several histories of Bletchley Park. This one does a great job of letting you know what it was like for the people who were there. How the food was. What the conditions were at their billets. How so many people could work in such close proximity and rarely see one another. How the secret of Ultra could have been kept by so many, for so long.
And, yes, what sorts of contributions to the war they were making, whether they knew it at the time or not.
Jim Calvert went on an astonishing 9 war patrols in WW2 submarines, and later went on to be one of the highest ranking officers in the Navy.
This is an astonishing book, marred by some unevenness in the production quality. Still a great listen.
I stopped listening once arrests were made; the last third of the book held no mystery, and so I lost interest.
The planning and execution of the heist was enthralling, though.
One or two decent stories, but mostly she's having a run at Jenny McCarthy's Crude-but-unfunny title.
I listen to a lot of WWII history. This book is a fine example of Lt. Col Sparks, the 157th Infantry Regiment, and their long, hard war from Salerno and Anzio, through the invasion beaches in the south of France, and on into Germany. LTC Sparks saw a hell of a lot of combat, and in areas that are often neglected by the popular histories.
But that's all covered at least as well in other books. Audie Murphy's "To Hell And Back" gives a better idea of the exhaustion, and fatalistic pessimism that comes with being in combat for the better part of two years.
Where this book gets really interesting is at the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp at the end of the war as it deals, unflinchingly, with the summary execution of SS troopers captured as Dachau was being liberated.
That is not a story often told; that prisoners of war were killed by both sides. And that part of the book, the subsequent investigation, involvement of Patton, and doubts that lingered for more than 40 years, were the parts of the book that make it stand out from other histories.
I recommend this book, but not to everyone. It was a good read, and I am glad to have learned more about Felix Sparks, and his war.
I listen to a lot of first-person histories of the war. Since I don't speak German, I was hoping that this book would give me some insight into the German war experience.
The author spends a tremendous amount of time on the sociological and psychological reasons behind the soldiers actions, and how easy they were persuaded that what they did was normal, expected, and "just a job".
Dull, dull, dull, dull...
I'm returning this audiobook. I couldn't make it through the first hour.
Tedious language. Annoying narrator. I've listened to more than 100 books of all sorts, but this one was unlistenable. I only made it 30 minutes, so it may have gotten better, but I wasn't willing to invest more time.
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