Beevor gives a thoroughly readable account of the familiar D-Day story, enlivened by a number of telling anecdotes from generals to privates and unvarnished sketches of all the key participants on the Allied and German sides. Nor does Beevor spare us the truly gory details of the battles and the systematized killing that was the Normandy campaign. War is always a bloody business and Beevor rightly refuses to ignore it. This is a refreshingly unsentimental view of things that should never be seen as anything but what they were.
The book is not faultless, however. There are annoying factual and grammatical errors that could have been prevented by an attentive copy editor with minimal knowledge of the era: in the most striking example, Beevor writes of a bombing attack carried out by "B-24 Flying Fortresses" and "B-17 Liberators," when the opposite terminology is of course the correct one. My late father-in-law, a "mickey operator" on Eighth Air Force B-17s in 1944-45, would have turned even greyer at the hearing. And Beevor's troops are forever becoming "disorientated." The correct word is "disoriented."
The narration is technically competent and Cameron Stewart moves it along crisply in a strong, clear voice, but he has an unfortunate habit of adopting rather bad American, French and German voice accents when recounting stories from archival material, military orders, personal diaries, and the like. The Germans all sound like bad actors in a B movie. A straightforward narration in his own voice throughout would have been the better course.
Nevertheless, this is a fine account of one of the world's most significant battles and its ensuing military campaign--one that changed our civilization forever for the better. I commend "D-Day and the Battle for Normandy" to historians, WW II aficionados, and general readers alike.
The book presented a detailed, highly literate history of the battle, with the personalities and their strengths and shortcomings in sharp relief. Although it is a "military history," anyone with even a small interest in American history will be rewarded.
His readings are always strong, clear and provide character to the main personalities in a way few narrators can.
Last Chance for a 'Lost Cause'
I have not read the print edition.
The book has a number of highlights as Andersen digs deeply into the personal and political team that was Jack and Jackie Kennedy. It is full of telling insights and fascinating anecdotes. As a history of a marriage and a family, it offers the reader little in way of the nation's larger events of the time--Vietnam, the civil rights movement, Cuba, and other contemporary issues. It delves into the president's sexual exploits in frank detail and reveals new information on Jackie's feelings about her husband and his many infidelities, seemingly carefully researched and sourced (I could not refer to a bibliography of notes, naturally).
Dean is always excellent. I look forward to his readings. "Masters of the Air" was especially fine.
Yes, I listened on a business trip at every break in my work.
This is a terrific book. It details the horrors of the sea battles in and around Guadalcanal as the U.S Navy sought to recover the initiative in the Pacific. Hornfischer does not gloss over the tragedy of the bloody fighting or the many tactical blunders of the inexperienced American admirals as they learned their trade at the cost of thousands of American lives. Highly recommended.
I bought this book after listening to "Masters of the Air," the story of the American air war over Europe. Dean is an outstanding narrator, polished, fluent, and totally familiar with his story. One of the best on Audible.
There have been enough books, movies and TV series about the Tudors and the rise of Protestantism to fill a large warehouse. But this book earns a place on anyone's reading list with an essential telling of the six Tudor monarchs from Henry VII to Elizabeth I. This is a richly detailed history with enough sweep and detail to satisfy the general reader and the specialist. I was surprised to feel some empathy for Mary I ("Bloody Mary"), a smart, strong woman who is usually ignored by most historians. She allowed her deep-seated religious prejudice against Protestants to overwhelm her many forward-thinking programs. Another surprise was the portrait of Elizabeth I, who is usually depicted as a dynamic leader. Here she merely hopes to survive a tumultuous era without losing her head or her crown. Henry VIII is, correctly, portrayed as a bully, a self-willed monster and a wholesale murderer who killed thousands out of childish irritation. Henry let few scruples stand in the way of his egocentric needs, a Renaissance dictator worthy of Saddam's terror. The narration is first-rate. Highly recommended.
This is an absolutely heartbreaking story of one famous American airman's tortured captivity by the Japanese between 1943 and 1945. It also is a larger story of the immense suffering that tens of thousands of Allied POWs experienced at the hands of the Japanese during the war, the details of which remain shocking to the early 21st century reader. Laura Hillenbrand tells a riveting story that details the full horror of aerial combat and captivity in strong, clear prose that is unsettling, deeply moving and thoroughly compassionate without being worshipful. She is a masterful writer and storyteller. Edward Herrmann's narration is superb--a crisp, strong, empathetic reading that totally captures the writer's marvelous prose. This book gets five stars because that is all that I am allowed--10 stars woulld be too few. Buy it, listen to it and then listen again. And remember.
"Supreme Power" is a brilliant exposition of the period when the Constitution emerged from the straightjacket of the 19th century property rights movement and helped to create modern constitutional approaches to the inherent powers of the Commerce Clause and the plenary power of Congress to act in the national interest, which was essential to the civil rights and environmental movements, among other important trends in contemporary America. Shesol tells an utterly compellibng story in a lively, non-pedantic manner. An absolute must for any student of American political history.
A fascinating look at America's beginnings told by an archeologist who has literally sifted the evidence at gound level and written a first-rate account of the history of the nation's earliest settlement. The narration is clear and concise.
This is a thoroughly engrossing history of the British monarchy from the 15th century Wars of the Roses to the Victorian era. Frankly, it is more of a survey than a comprehensive study as no author could be expected to adequately review and analyze more than 400 years of British history in a single work. Thus, some of the portraits of monarchs are rather hastily sketched. But it is particularly strong in Starkey's study of the Tudor era, his specialty as a historian. Nevertheless, the book is full of richly drawn descriptions of virtually every holder (and pretender) to the throne over four centuries, including a fascinating study of the Cromwellian "republic." It also traces with remarkable clarity the development of the British system into the present era as the monarchy slowly lost its ability to control events with the growth of that new political power center, Parliament--a development not lost on observers in 13 North American colonies throughout the 18th century. "Monarchy" is intelligently written and beautifully narrated by the author. It deserves a place in the library of anyone even remotely curious about the origins of the modern world.
This is a thorough and absorbing history of mid-18th century colonial America and the war that laid the foundations of our modern republic. Anderson is an outstanding historian and an expert in the field. This military and political history is a shorter version of the longer, more nuanced study in his "Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766." Nevertheless, this book is a worthy history in itself. Anderson's analysis is balanced and even-handed throughout, and hardly an apologia for any particular side in the war. His research speaks for itself, and the native Americans fare no better than the British and French in the accounts of their mistaken judgments, greed and duplicity. Listeners will have to draw their own conclusions about the allegedly "revisionist" nature of Anderson's treatment of white policy toward native Americans since 1620, but I suggest it is very far from a "blame white America" work. This is a most interesting study of a little-known period in our history and well worth the attention one pays to it.
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