Probably not. I'm a Catholic and a huge WW2 history buff, and after listening to this, I came away feeling let down and unsatisfied. The history is nothing new. The story inside the Vatican is interesting, however. The story bounces around. The theme is very unclear until the very end. I came into this book thinking it'd be about a priest actively working with the pope against Hitler. Instead, it's a priest personally summoned by the pope to perform a task. This priest performs the task with zero enthusiasm and without any heart...that's kind of the same way I felt listening to this book.
Probably not. The story telling was sporadic and random. At first, I thought that this would be about John LaFarge, and for the first third of the book, it was. Then, the story starts jumping around following different people and telling seemingly meaningless stories of their lives while somewhat following a story line and some sort of plot.. The story begins in semi-first person then goes to third person, then back to first person, then is told in the form of a history lesson.
The narration, or the voice of the story was somewhat disappointing. I felt like I was a sixth grader being read to by a teacher - too simplistic and not a lot of emotion or variation in the voice. The pace of the story was slow.
This is a story of a simple, naive, uncourageous priest and treachery in the Vatican under Pope Pius XI. The WW2 history is uninteresting and abbreviated. LaFarge's actions are a disappointment. The outcome of this story is a huge disappointment.
Maybe, but probably not for a while. It is 39+ hrs long, so I had enough in-depth coverage of WWII for a little while (even though I'm a WWII buff!). I love Beevor's writing (notably Berlin and Stalingrad), but listening to this book, I noticed that Beevor focuses far too much on the French (even after they were defeated and contributed practically nothing to the rest of the War on either side) and to the imperialistic British. I was offended that Beevor only gave one or two sentences about *some horribly dreadful march from Bataan*, yet spent pages, if not chapters, talking about the boring and irrelevant British interest in maintaining their crumbling empire in the far east, and the squabbling and ineptitude of the British command there. I don't care about what the British commander looked like and when he took his tea when, at the same time, thousands were dying on the Bataan Death March. Really, I think Beevor bit off more than he could chew with this. He does have interesting side stories that I haven't ever heard anywhere else, but they tend to drag the storytelling down in some places talking about some ultimately insignificant event, and then speeds through other important events without hardly event getting into detail about them. Beevor, in his own words, in an Anglophile and has a slight Anti-American tone, and continually downplays America's significant contributions to the War. I got the impression that whenever Beevor talks about the Allies, Britain is portrayed as the most important, followed by France, followed by Russia, followed by America, which is way out of line in my opinion. When he talks about the German-Russian battles, the coverage is more balanced and fair. I was sad that I read/listened to this book - it tarnished my respect and admiration for Antony Beevor as an author. This book is okay for WWII history buffs, but I'd really recommend reading the much better and more fairly balanced Stalingrad or Berlin.
The interesting side stories that I hadn't heard anywhere else before. Also, this book covers far more of the Chinese-Japanese conflict than I have read in any other WWII history book.
Good accents and good tone. It was very easy to listen to.
Yes, but at 39 hours, that isn't possible.
Yes, and for several reasons. If you are interested in a German soldier's vantage of WWII or if you are just a WWII history buff, this is the book for you.
The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer
No, but he is a pretty good reader. His reading seemed very rushed at the beginning - it was hard to follow because he barely stopped at the end of sentences or to even take a breath, but he slowed down later. His style is personable and really helped me get immersed in the book and in Knappe's story.
Yes, but at 12 hours, that wasn't practical.
I read this book in college and thought it was great. I got the audiobook to listen going to and from work, and ended up listening to the whole thing in only a few days because it is such a compelling and interesting story.
If you are into a methodical story of a battle from both sides, then Beevor is a master, and this book is for you. I couldn't stop listening.
Stalingrad by Antony Beevor and Berlin by Antony Beevor
His accents were great. He has brilliant, distinct accents for American Generals, American Soldiers, Canadians, Scottish, German and eccentric Brits, etc... I was pleasantly surprised by his masterful performance
I did, but at 20+ hours, that's not possible. It took me about a month of listening to and from work.
The only criticisms I have is there is far too much focus on the French (especially at the end), and not enough criticism of the French (there seemed to be praise and admiration for them and their pompous attitudes). Also, while it is highlighted, I don't think there is enough criticism of Montgomery's failures. I would have also like to hear more from the German perspective, especially from their home-front. But these criticisms are nothing significant. Overall this is a great book.
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