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.
The sidetracks often taken by the author to give a very detailed background pertinent to events unfolding in the Ardennes in the winter of 1944-1945.
I thought this story was told much in the same way as "A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918." There's so much detail in the story telling, and it's presented in a manner that is interesting and captivating, and not boring and tedious.
I don't know, and I don't particularly care to. He has a weird accent, and is another case of a narrator not being able to pronounce German (or in that case, English) words correctly. I had to rewind and re-listen to several passages because I couldn't understand what he was saying. He puts weird emphases on "foreign" words and, many times, pronounces them incorrectly. He also continuously incorrectly identified ammunition caliber, for example, in stead of correctly calling a Colt .45 a "Colt 45," he would say, "Colt 45 inch."
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I went into it a bit skeptical because I usually enjoy WWII books who's scope is broad and wide. I usually don't get books that appear to be narrow in their scope, such as looking at just one battle. While this book's focus is ultimately the Battle of the Bulge, the author provided wide berth of information, relevant stories and history I wasn't expecting. Aside from a few production errors, this is an excellent audio book. I especially appreciated the unbiased, even take on the events. The author clearly has experience in the military, of being in combat zones, and of having visited the Ardennes. I liked how he would step aside of the story and inform us of pertinent history, or personal experience. I liked how the end of the Battle of the Bulge wasn't the end of the book - he went on extensively as to how this battle affected people and events decades after the fact. This is an excellent WWII book...a must read.
I think so. The story is very good and moves fairly quickly, but the narration is hard to listen to.
Lubbeck's recollection of life after the War.
Learn how to speak German. It drives me crazy when narrators read books about German soldiers and can't speak German. His constant mispronunciation of "Wehrmacht" (vermaaaaaaaaacht) and "Leutnant" (looot-nant) drove me absolutely crazy.
Overall, I think this is a great story. However, I was a bit uneasy when Lubbeck kept claiming he and his family weren't Nazis and had absolutely no knowledge of Nazi atrocities or even of any concentration camps. I can understand wanting to clear your name if you are truly innocent, but the repetition of these claims just didn't sit right with me...I don't know...I guess it just didn't sound sincere. Maybe that was the writing, maybe it was the narration. I wasn't there, so I can't say for certain, but I have ready many, many accounts of German soldiers and civilians. I find it hard to believe that a veteran of the entirety of the war on the East Front never once witnessed a war crime, when Lubbeck himself claims that they were fighting the barbaric (insinuating less than human) Red Army. I find it hard to believe that, living in Eastern Germany, he never even heard of a concentration camp until after the war. I've read other accounts of German families in the mid to late 1930s joking with their children that if they didn't behave, they'd be sent to a concentration camp, showing that they knew of the existence of these camps. Maybe they didn't know the extent of the horror that was going on inside, but they knew of the existence of the camps. Lubbeck knew of none.
Other than that, I think the story is well told. It went a bit quick for me, and didn't go into great detail, but it was interesting to hear the story of an artillery soldier that rose through the ranks, having served through the entirety of the War.
Duty, Chivalry and Courage
Soldat by Siegfried Knappe because of the in-depth recollection and storytelling of the wartime service of a German soldier.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand because you get the same sense of dread every time a bomber crew took off on a mission.
This is a must read (listen to) for any WWII history buff. This is an excellent source of information into the lives of a German fighter pilot and an American B-17 pilot. While the story focuses primarily on Franz Stigler, you still get an good story for Charlie Brown and his crew as well. I was pleasantly surprised at the detailed recollections of Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown and how their stories interwove. Both stories were captivating. Really, though, the "escort" part of the book (as depicted on the cover) was only a minor part of the story...probably the most interesting part, but that was not the climax of the book. The writing was such that you got a real sense of the stress these men faced on a daily basis. Descriptions made it feel as if you were in the heat of the desert or freezing at 30,000 ft. You felt the tension of having to go up on another bomb run over German, or diving in the Bf-109 towards the enemy bomber formation. Adam Makos' research really pays off in his writing. This book is definitely worth your time and money. A MUST READ!!!!
The story of your typical unrepentant Nazi...one who is a racist, babbling on about things he knows nothing about and holding himself up as a more important figure that he was. This guy was Hitler's valet, not a soldier, not a general and not a politician. He should just stick to telling his experience as a valet.
Performance was good, nothing to complain about.
This guy was in charge of making sure Hitler's underwear was folded correctly and that he had enough socks...I don't care to hear his rantings on how the War was managed by the Generals and Hitler and what he would have done better. I don't need to hear his racism. I don't need to or want to hear his Nazi propaganda. What's interesting to hear (and what I wish there was more of in this book) is his experience being intimately close to and the day to day interactions with Hitler from 1935 till the end in 1945.
The book does well about 2/3 of the time, when Linge is sticking to what he knows (service as a valet). The book is awful when Linge tries to lecture on things he knows nothing about - being a soldier, military tactics, military operations, when he tries to describe "coward" generals, when he praises the genius of and his thoughts on the infallibility of Hitler.
Busy busy busy...
I wasn't a fan of Vonnegut's typical "war is bad," "people are bad," "science is evil" and "religion is stupid" cliches. I really wish I hadn't know this book was by Vonnegut because I really enjoyed it. I really don't like Vonnegut's hippy-dippy ways, but if you try to block that out, this is a very enjoyable story. In fact, it's the only audiobook (so far) that I went back and listened to a second time immediately after finishing it.
No, but I'm going to. He is the first performer that I've liked so much that I'm going to find other books he reads to listen to them. The way pulled off the voices of all the characters was unique and fit them to a tee.
"History! Read it and weep!" -Bokonon
An overall good story with an excellent performance by Mr. Roberts. A must-listen!
Coherent writing. A serious take on the Dresden bombing. A main character who isn't an idiot. Characters that grow and develop.
Everything. Amateur writing. Disjointed story. Zero climax. Forgettable characters. Annoying use of, "or so it goes."
His performance was adequate. He definitely made Billy Pilgrim sound like the idiot he is.
Can't event tell. I hated the book. Everything about the it, I hated. No amount of editing could have changed how much I despise this book.
Don't waste your time, money or credits on this!
Yes - the presentation was perfect. The print version would be nice to have as a reference though. I was very impressed with the amount of information provided in this work.
The Backgrounds provided at the beginning of several chapters. Not only does this book do an excellent job of thoroughly and fairly covering what happened between 1914-1918, but it provides necessary background to important events, battles, people and places, which are necessary to know before you can understand the significance they had in the War.
He didn't perform characters, as there weren't characters to perform.
I can't quite listen to a book that's 28 hours long, but it provided me a great month of listening to while driving to and from work.
If you want to have a well-rounded, in-depth, fair, balanced, well written and well read history of WWI, you need look no further. Get this book! You won't be disappointed!
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.
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