Best book I've listened to on Audible so far! I listened to those pretty much every day on the way to and from work, and have taken many long walks, just so I could listen to it.
Shirer describes Hitler's early life, how he joined a little known party, how he formed that party into the NAZI party the world came to fear, how he brought the party to power and installed himself as Chancellor, and then how he took Germany to dizzying heights, but ultimately destroyed her. This is not a military history. It is most definately a political/diplomatic history. Shirer spends a long time on the many diplomatic maneuvers and ploys engaged in by the NAZI's before the start of the war and then spends realitively little time on the actual battles. But if you understand this is not a miltary history, you won't be dissapointed.
Shirer relies on mainly on primary sources, but this is not a dry scholarly account. What I love about Shirer, is that he tells like it sees it, and the way he sees things is very intersting, insightful, and often humorous. For example, he often uses the adjective "corpulent" when describing Goehring.
To top it off, the narrator is amazing. Best narrator i've heard on Audible.
I love Charles Dickens! His insight into human nature is remarkable, and his ability to create unique characters unmatched. So much has been said about Dickens, I don't need to add more here. As for the story, it was written early on in his career, and is consequently has a youthful swagger about it. It is most definitely a romance, all ends up well in the end. Not as good as some of his more mature writing, but better than Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend.
Simon Vance is an amazing narrator. The amount of different voices he comes up with is remarkable. The only voice I didn't like was Smyke's, but that may have been intentional on his part. Amazing narrator, best one I've heard on Audible besides Grover Gardner.
This book seemed like a great idea. Take two seemingly unrelated subjects, and weave their stories together. Unfortunately, this book is really only one story. The Devil part of the book is more like a footnote to the story of the fair, and the fair story can be fairly boring. I actually got through half the book, until I threw it in the waste basket (metophorically of course). Then I picked up the book six months later to try to finish it, and realized why I had destined it for the waste basket in the first place.
I couldn't help feeling that Larson was inserting his own drama into the story, when the reality was much less exciting. Most the story is spent on Olmstead's (sp?) obsession with flowers and ferryboats (which by the way, is never resolved). There is a ton of drama built into the quest for the new Eifel tower, but when we finally get to the Ferris Wheel, Larson quickly changes to a different subject, and really never picks up that thread again.
As an alternative I would recommend wikipedia.
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