WICHITA, KS, United States | Member Since 2013
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.
The book starts off great. There's a great buildup describing the main characters, what their mission is, who the villains are, what the scenes will be....but then nothing comes together. The 10 main characters all have great back stories, and I was led to believe that they'd all come together to undo some big evil plan of Rosenberg's...but no, nothing. The way Ettlinger's back story was set up, I thought he'd play a huge part in the book, but no, he gets drafted, then pulled from his unit before going to the front, sits around for four months doing absolutely nothing, does some translation work for the MFAA, finds his grandpa's painting, then goes home. What?!? All this buildup for that??? So far as I can tell, the 10 main characters are never even in the same room together. They barely meet, and when they do, it's for a matter of days, maybe a week, then they're off running around like a chicken with its head cut off. That's how the story line of the book goes to, if you can say there is a story line. There's no plot. There's no antagonist. There's no theme. There's no drama. There's no buildup. There's no climax and there's no resolution. The book is just a hodgepodge of random, disjointed stories with WWII going on in the background. Why should I care that a Christmas package of fruit cake arrived in March instead of at Christmas? Why should I care that Rose Valland can't trust anyone and won't give up the information she'd been collecting for 3 years? I don't know. The monuments men follow the front line, going to churches, castles and caves finding and saving artwork that was either stolen or stored for protection. They constantly complain about being understaffed and under-supplied, but no one ever does anything about it. No one seemed to care about the monuments men during the War, after the war, or even up till today. Also, this book is full of historical inaccuracies. Churchill most certainly did not insist on a cross-channel invasion of Europe after fighting had ceased in North Africa. He wanted to go for the soft underbelly of Europe - Italy. Ike, Marshall and FDR were the ones wanting to invade northern Europe right away. If you're interested in WWII history, this book is not for you. Maybe if you're in to art history, you'll find something of interest here, but I doubt it. Is art worth a life? I don't know, but reading this book didn't do anything to answer that question for me.
Probably not. There are blatant historical errors in his research and he didn't do a good job of writing a coherent story.
I don't know. He's got a good voice, but with so many characters, even the best narrator would have a hard time differentiating them all. I couldn't keep track of who was who and where everyone was and what they were doing and why they were doing it. But, on a whole, the narration was okay. His accents sounded forced, fake and it was hard to understand what he was saying with an accent.
I don't know....all of them? After getting through the whole book, I still wasn't sure who was who. I just finished it a few hours ago and I can't even tell you who was in charge of the MFAA. They were really quite forgettable.
Skip this book. I've heard that the Rape of Europa by Lynn H. Nicholas is much better and reads like a thriller.
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.
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.
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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