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The Liberator Audiobook

The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau

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Publisher's Summary

The true story of the bloodiest and most dramatic march to victory of the Second World War: the battlefield odyssey of a maverick U.S. Army officer and his infantry unit as they fought for over five hundred days to liberate Europe - from the invasion of Italy to the gates of Dachau.

From July 10, 1943, the date of the Allied landing in Sicily, to May 8, 1945, when victory in Europe was declared - the entire time it took to liberate Europe - no regiment saw more action, and no single platoon, company, or battalion endured worse, than the ones commanded by Felix Sparks, who had entered the war as a greenhorn second lieutenant of the 157th "Eager for Duty" Infantry Regiment of the 45th "Thunderbird" Division. Sparks and his fellow Thunderbirds fought longest and hardest to defeat Hitler, often against his most fanatical troops, when the odds on the battlefield were even and the fortunes of the Allies hung in the balance - and when the difference between defeat and victory was a matter of character, not tactics or armor.

Drawing on extensive interviews with Sparks and dozens of his men, as well as over five years of research in Europe and in archives across the US, historian Alex Kershaw masterfully recounts one of the most inspiring and heroic journeys in military history. Over the course of four amphibious invasions, Sparks rose from captain to colonel as he battled from the beaches of Sicily through the mountains of Italy and France, ultimately enduring bitter and desperate winter combat against the diehard SS on the Fatherland's borders. Though he lost all of his company to save the Allied beach-head at Anzio and an entire battalion in the dark forests of the Vosges, Sparks miraculously survived the long bloody march across Europe and was selected to lead a final charge to Bavaria to hunt down Adolf Hitler.

In the dying days of the Third Reich, Sparks and his men crossed the last great barrier in the West, the Rhine, only to experience some of the most intense street fighting and close combat suffered by Americans in WWII. When they finally arrived at the gates of Dachau, Hitler's first and most notorious concentration camp, the Thunderbirds confronted scenes that robbed the mind of reason. With victory within grasp, Sparks confronted the ultimate test of his humanity: after all he had faced, could he resist the urge to wreak vengeance on the men who had caused untold suffering and misery?

Written with the narrative drive and vivid immediacy of Kershaw's previous best-selling books about American infantrymen in WWII, The Liberator is a story for the ages, an intensely human and dramatic account of one of history's greatest warriors and his unheralded role in America's finest achievement - the defeat of Nazi Germany.

©2012 Alex Kershaw (P)2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"[Kershaw] is a captivating narrator, hammering home the chaos and carnage of war, sparing no sensory detail to paint a cohesive picture. [His] portrayal of his subject (based on interviews with Sparks, who died in 2007, and other survivors) makes for a riveting, almost epic tale of a larger-than-life, underappreciated figure." (Publishers Weekly)

"This engrossing wartime narrative offers a fresh look at the European campaign and an intimate sense of the war’s toll on individual participants." (Kirkus Reviews)

"A searing, brilliantly told story of the heroism and horror of war, Alex Kershaw's The Liberator is a book that's impossible to put down. A must read for anyone who loved Band of Brothers." (Lynne Olson, author of Citizens of London)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (341 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-12-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Artificial american heroism"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Americans who want to read about how great are US soldiers.


    What was most disappointing about Alex Kershaw’s story?

    I hate to say it, this is the only WW2 book that I didn't finish because it was too boring and full of artificial american heroins.


    Have you listened to any of Fred Sanders’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Americans are the bravest, the toughest, they are the center of the universe in this book. Siegfried Knappe's "Soldat" was a million times better, I devoured it.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Liberator?

    No scene, I did not finish it because it was so bad.


    Any additional comments?

    The pace is too fast, the writing is poor compared to other WW2 books, the author sends you from one location to another without describing the feelings and emotions that found in other books.
    I really tried to read it cause I bought it (because of goodreads reviews), I am an avid WW2 reader but I had enough after a few chapters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan 11-08-16
    Dan 11-08-16 Member Since 2016
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    12
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    "America's equired reading"

    This should be required reading for every American to help them better understand where we came from as a nation so that we might not so casually carry the freedom we enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frances Manly 11-02-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great story line"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This is an amazing story of what the soldiers went through. There is a lot in this story about Italy and how hard they had to fight to win.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kurt W. 08-19-16
    Kurt W. 08-19-16 Member Since 2016
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    "An Amazing Story"

    Its hard to believe that 1 man went through so many bitter battles and survived all of it. It really gave me a good sense of what it was like for the troops on the front lines and greater appreciation for the sacrifice they made for our freedom today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    scott 07-15-16
    scott 07-15-16 Member Since 2016
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    "American Hero"

    I wish I would met this man while he was alive. His experiences would have broke most,yet he was rock solid. Good bye and thank u Felix.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    christopher reif 05-18-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Gut Wrenching"

    I loved the book! It's full of vivid descriptions of how Col. Sparks over came many of his challenges during the horrors of evil!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald 02-23-16
    Ronald 02-23-16
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    "Great Story of Sacrifice & Heroism."

    A great read! Good narration. The only think I didn't like was the NRA bashing and politics inserted into the book. It PISSED ME OFF!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ryan j diamond 02-13-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Incredible Story!"

    I highly recommend this story for anyone who wants to see the war through the eyes of the men who lived it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    warner smith 11-16-15
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    "1157th FSC"

    outstanding true story about soldiers of the 1157th from Colorado. my unit has history with them

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 09-08-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent Book"

    Too many times these days the term hero is thrown around. This is the story of a group of true American Heros. A fast and very interesting read. I recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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