The book does manage to be informative and interesting, but seemingly in spite of itself. The narration makes the worst of purple prose by reading it off like a movie trailer. The try-hard prose would've been unfortunate enough if read normally, but the dramatic reading veers into outright irritating. Ending chapters with "sinister climax! Suspense!" sound bites is just insult added to injury. The subject matter is interesting enough on its own; the flair actively detracts.
I wouldn't have assumed Napoleon's actions as a historical figure needed a great deal of excusing (he is dead!), until the author spent the entire book doing just that. I suspect I would not have been a big fan of Napoleon either way, but the author's relentless dedication to exculpating him made the historical figure seem far more suspect than he would have, otherwise. The book IS informative; however, I am not confident in the veracity of its contents. It is, if nothing else, read very well.
I mean, maybe this is a good book, but it's not a good audiobook. The narration is halting and unprofessional. Narrators often over-act, which is irritating, but here there is no intonation at all. Couldn't make myself listen through it.
This could have been good! It would be hard to argue that "What if Hitler won?" is not an interesting premise. Unfortunately, both the plot and characters are so predictable, that they may as well have come out of a can. You want your hardboiled, cigarette-smoking, divorced detective who goes against the grain? Here you go. Plucky girl reporter, "unlike any woman he's ever met?" Here you go.
Unfortunately, recycling characters doesn't seem to have given the author extra time to flesh out the setting, either - of course he talks about it at length, but little of it is particularly creative, or thought-provoking. I did, however, find the idea that Holocaust studies still existed in a form very similar in character and scope - just about Stalin's purges, instead of the Final Solution - intriguing. Too bad that's just about the only thing that stood out, and only for a sentence.
Less purple prose might be nice - human interest it may be, but the author still overdoes it in places. The narration is what affected my enjoyment of the book most. I wish narrators didn't have this idea that they need to imitate accents. This isn't voice acting.
I might recommend the print version because the underlying personal histories are interesting, but I would not recommend the audiobook.
I'd rather not.
The interactions between the judges, the prosecution team, the defense team, and the defendants themselves are revealing.
The Nuremberg Trial is yet another book about events in Nazi Germany that feels it has to work very hard to convince you that the authors hate Nazis. It's both understandable, given the ever-insecure state of scholarship on the subject, and irritating because it feels a bit like being treated like a child. I enjoyed the book, but would have found myself far less critical of it, if it weren't full of hyperbolic mock-horror and disgust at the acts of the defendants. I'd be concerned that their other books are also wasting far too much time on overbearing, moralistic CYA.
Great reading. I would have liked more specifics about the cross-examinations.
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