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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 (306 )
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4.4 (275 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kurt W. 08-19-16
    Kurt W. 08-19-16
    ratings
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    8
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    Story
    "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 Member Since 2015
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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
  •  
    Josh 08-21-15
    Josh 08-21-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Great, Great book about a great, great man."

    It doesn't get any better than this. A great World War II story that deserves recognition.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cliff Plowman 08-12-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great story"

    Great story about a National Guard unit. It is amazing to hear that a Guard unit, not an active unit had the most fighting in WW2

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Allentown, PA USA 06-07-15
    Matthew Allentown, PA USA 06-07-15 Member Since 2013

    mkj246

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    "Well written and easy to follow"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Liberator to be better than the print version?

    I can't say - didn't read the printed version.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The main character of the book, of course, Felix Sparks. The narrative focused on him, because the book was about him.


    Which character – as performed by Fred Sanders – was your favorite?

    Again, Felix Sparks. This was not a fictional narrative, but a true life story.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I listen to audio books while commuting, and even thought this story was good, I had no issues waiting until my next travel day to continue.


    Any additional comments?

    Very intriguing story. Great example of leadership, and shows a part of WWII for the Allies that was largely neglected and overseen by other events. A must read for all WWII enthusiasts who want to get a full view of what happened in Europe during this time period; not just what has been popular.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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