This is great survey of Post 1945 Hungary the Stalinist terror and 1956 Revolution. Now... I know outside of the few hungarian speakers this won't be an issue, But the pronunciation of Hungarian names and places is atrocious. Ok, so i realize how arcane and difficult Hungarian is but, there was no effort at consistent and correct pronunciation of places and names. I found this a bit disbarring distraction to a great book.
Most people forget that wars don't just have an end when the fighting stops. Just like the Antebellum south the consequences are far reaching. Although i have gone through the equally good "Post War" it has not opened my i eyes to the actual depth of suffering and chaos from the years of 1945 to after the death of Stalin like this book. It is trully a miracle that Europe has recovered after the World War's. Although the current tension in the Ukraine and the ongoing tension in the Balkans does show the shallowness of the peace. The amount of death and suffering is shocking.
Also the fact that Nazi Concentration / Death camps really just changed hands and were back at work killing Germans and Ukrainians and other suspect nationaltes etc, is crucial to understand the shades of grey within human morality and how hatred build hatred and vengance builds vengance. The concept of the "Last Great War" painted by some historians is out right insulting to the population of Europe.
This book has also give great insight to my own family history since one of my grandparent 4 years in POW camps (Luckly american) and Displace Person camps untll returning home in 1949. As i child i knew this happened but not what it meant. Also the climate they had to live with a Volks-Deutch / Croatian family for 20 years seems frankly unbearable. So no ever talked about it.
However this book is in-depth so its not an easy listen for some casual historian might want to start with "Post War" which covers a larger period but in less detail or "The Iron Curtain" the performance is dry but i like the narrator's work its just not possible to spice this one up.
I also recommend listening to "Bloodlands" before to build the context of German, Ukraninan, Polish and Russian race relations (eg multi dimensional genocide) that did not stop for a long time after the war.
This will give you the full context to understand the situation in the Ukraine today.
So... Currently i am listening to Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder and this book. Bloodlands is by far the best work i seen on Poland and the Ukraine between 1920 to 1945 and the holocaust in general. It is does a great job comparing and contrasting the genocidal polices carried out by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. It is a great book but it will crush your faith in morality and humanity. Its has been one of the few books that caused genuine depression and anxiety for me.
But both "Panzer Commander" and "Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying" do a great job restoring the human element and both authors are genuinely likable. I found both of these genuinely refreshing. I was vary about the Narrator since he played the horrible stereotype character of "Cousin Balki" in "Perfect Strangers" in the 80s. A show that was so offensive to me that i remember it to this day. But he does an excellent job and is crucial to translating the charisma of the book.
So it has been very interesting to alternate between the two view points.
One of the most profound books of our time. Thematically is very disturbing both for it subject matter (the Holocust and the descent into Genocide) and its thematic matter (Orestes and the furries and a treatise of morality and teh law). This book will disgusts you . It will mock and punishes you for starring upon the horror of ourselves. It is challenging to overcome. But what do you expect from a book on this topic? A Pirates of the Caribbean version of the Holocust? We deserve this.
With that said there were sections where i almost gave up, there are 2 sections of the book where Little uses sexual hallucinations to invoke the furries. However these are a too long even for me, i am in no way a conservative but, jesus there is only so many ways to #@$#$ your sister. Make your thematic point and then move on. Of course the irony of being disquested at the main character more for his sexuality than his role in the holocust is irony in in itself
Far as history goes, As a educated amateur historian, i found this novel, extremely well researched and historically accurate except for a few editing errors. There is more accurate historical material here than most non-fiction books on the subject.
A worthy listen. Just not very good history. A Lot of things could of happened in history, but it does not mean that they did.
I started out enjoying this book, the author's style and the narrator are enjoyable. However by the last chapter i was purely cringing. The author makes constant use of "it is possible" or "he might of" to build large parts of the narrative. The historian job is to interpret the facts and present them in a digestible manner, using smart interpolation when necessary. Is possible that Augustus though of Spartacus on his death bed? Yes, does evidence support this even remotely? NO! This is just plain out bad history.
Although not as nearly famous as the first volume, Volume 2 is great history of the Eastern Roman Empire from the fall of Rome in 476 to the sack of consantinople in 1453. This title has an excellent narrator and classical score, a must for Roman historian interested in the Eastern Empire.
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