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To Hell and Back | [Audie Murphy]

To Hell and Back

Audie Murphy was a desperately poor eighteen-year-old orphan when he joined the Army, nineteen when he first saw a buddy die from an enemy bullet and an enemy die from one of his own. By VE day, he had killed at least 240 Germans, had single-handedly destroyed a German tank in one battle and held off six tanks in another, and had become the most decorated soldier in American history, winning every medal his country offered, including the Congressional Medal of Honor.
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Publisher's Summary

The time is 1943, the place is Sicily, and the event is the start of the most remarkable career of any American infantryman in the war. Audie Murphy was a desperately poor eighteen-year-old orphan when he joined the Army, nineteen when he first saw a buddy die from an enemy bullet and an enemy die from one of his own. During the next two years, he fought in Italy, France, and Germany. By VE-day, he had killed at least 240 Germans, had single-handedly destroyed a German tank in one battle and held off six tanks in another, and had become the most decorated soldier in American history, winning every medal his country offered, including the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Four years later he was living in Hollywood trying to get an acting career off the ground when he and a friend decided to turn his story into a book. Instantly recognized for its grim authenticity and its unblinking accounts of some of the most terrible fighting in the war, To Hell and Back became a best seller and, in 1955, the basis for one of the most successful WWII films ever made, with Murphy playing himself.

©1949 Audie Murphy; (P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"Audie Murphy hit the big time with this simple, compelling narrative....It is a book of raw honesty, clipped descriptions and simple courage." (AudioFile)
"Tom Parker brings this terse yet vivid and articulate memoir to life....Parker's clear and well-paced reading is a joy." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (124 )
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4.5 (64 )
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Performance
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  •  
    charles 11-11-05
    charles 11-11-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book by one of the true American heroes"

    Although the story is one of death and injury, this book is certainly one of the best war stories I have ever read. The narration by Tom Parker is absolutely the most enjoyable narration I have ever heard in an audible book. He absolutely makes the characters come alive and this book is the prime example of why I find audible books so enjoyable.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Platteville, WI, United States 04-04-09
    Stephen Platteville, WI, United States 04-04-09 Member Since 2008
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    "An American Classic"

    This book reads well on the printed page, but reads even better with Tom Parker doing the reading for you. His voice captures the laconic mix of grit, horror, humor, stubborness, unheroic courage, and tragedy that characterized the American infantryman in WW II.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick 12-30-13
    Patrick 12-30-13

    The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

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    "Puts you in the place & time along with him"

    Murphy didn't just write a dry narrative, he wrote a factual work complete with dialogue that bears a close resemblance to today's American grunt dialect. The story is straightforward, engaging, exciting, and insightful. Murphy's depiction of the honest and intimate banter between soldiers is reason enough to read this book. The way that men speak to one another during a time of war is something that most people never encounter, let alone understand. Murphy captures the camaraderie known to those who have shared combat and exhaustion. The men and their actions aren't glorified or demonized, just passed along as Murphy saw and experienced them.

    Tom Parker (Grover Gardener) excels as a narrator and doesn't disappoint.

    Recommended for fans of historical non-fiction, WW2 buffs, and those who find amazement in the Medal of Honor and other military citations.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TD Atlanta, Georgia United States 04-19-15
    TD Atlanta, Georgia United States 04-19-15 Member Since 2011
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    "An Amazing Man With An Amazing Story"

    I have generally thought of our heroes as ordinary men that arise to the occasion via heroic, bold actions in the face of danger. What I learned from this story was that Audie Murphy was an extraordinary soldier and man. His intelligence came through in his decision-making and memory of people, places, events and dialogue between soldiers. He astonished me time and again.

    These "simple", uneducated soldiers spoke with color and creativity that we just don't hear today. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and performance and came away with a much deeper appreciation of our country's greatest hero of WWII. His heroism was no accident. He was simply great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James C. Zachary, Jr. 02-07-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Absolutely wonderful!"

    This is such a well written book. The story of Audie Murphy is a one for the ages. War is hell in any age. We should never forget what our military personnel have given. The performance given by a Mr. Parker is phenomenal. His voice characterizations remind me of the way radio used to be. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who may be even the least bit interested in hearing the story of World War 2 from Italy to France and to Germany through the eyes of Audie Murphy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tantely Keith 01-23-15
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    "A true story, fought in WWII, by a true man."

    A heroic tale from the man who lived it, told with humility. Actually Audie went to war at 16 (not 18, as stated in the book). He didn't want to give the impression that it was okay to lie about his age.

    (Not in the book)

    It's truly sad how the war affected him after. PTSD, led to alcoholism, sleeping pill addiction, and a gambling habit. He fought that personal war too, and tried to be a better person till his death at age of 45.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Wyatt Colorado Springs 11-28-14
    Daniel Wyatt Colorado Springs 11-28-14 Member Since 2014

    Addicted to Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Listening to this will give you PTSD"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    No, well maybe the sound effects could make it even more.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters.


    What three words best describe Tom Parker’s voice?

    Ok, Ok, Ok


    What else would you have wanted to know about Audie Murphy’s life?

    Nothing


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BRENT 07-06-14
    BRENT 07-06-14 Member Since 2014
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    "great read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes its one of the best WWII books I have listened to. Its doesn't drag and the author shows you the human side of the main characters. The humor through out the books is a nice touch so its doesn't seem to drag from one battle to another.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kilibreaux Madera, California 05-19-12
    Kilibreaux Madera, California 05-19-12 Member Since 2011

    RK

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    "Outstanding is an Understatement"
    What made the experience of listening to To Hell and Back the most enjoyable?

    The fact that is is the biography of a true American hero.


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

    Have not listened to Tom Parker before but the narration was quite good including the accents. I've seen the movie a dozen times and never realized that Murphy's principle friend was Irish but having heard this book it made him somehow more "valid."


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It would be hard to speak in terms of "extreme" reactions to this book simply because it covers a subject few ever experienced. Also it seems Murphy himself insisted on keeping the book more low-key rather than typical post-modern sensationalism to garner audience reaction.


    Any additional comments?

    In the movie one could easily grasp the significance of Audie Murphy's actions thanks to photographic impact, but listening to the book seem to lack some of that - again I understand Murphy did not want his story told as being principally about HIM, and more is the pity because he truly deserves such a telling.We live in a world where people who have done nothing beyond being born with a certain name are considered celebrities with their every action reported upon by a overly-dramatic, profit-driven media, yet, Audie Murphy truly EARNED a place in American history, and perhaps it's time Hollyweired revisted his story with a more dramatic retelling that focuses more on him than the entire period.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Meyer 08-23-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Hell and Back"

    I was impressed with how Audie Murphy (and his ghostwriter) were able to focus on his consciousness, all the things he thinks about while in war. He deals with the same difficulties that continue to this day. For example, having to follow the rules of engagement. He had to take care of the Germans who they had wounds. He talks about why he fights: to stay alive and keep your buddies alive. He talks about how incredibly lucky he was. He talks about seeing a prostitute but leaving it unsure if they consummated the relationship. Audie and his brothers in arms used extensive humor to be able to tolerate the war. He does not mention any of the awards he was given. He describes the event that awarded him the Metal Of Honor. He does a very good job detailing how he had so may lucky incidents. Audie jumps on a tank and takes the 50 cal and begins shooting the Germans. THe Germans expected the burning tank was abandoned because it was about to blow up. Audie says he didn't know this and probably wouldn't have if he'd have known. different lucky incident. There was then a wind the blew the snow in such a way to allow him to remain unseen while he killed the Germans. My conclusion is that it is a great war memoir and is as pertinent to it today as it was in 1950's when it came out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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