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To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War | [Jeff Shaara]

To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War

Spring 1916: the horror of a stalemate on Europe's western front. France and Great Britain are on one side of the barbed wire, a fierce German army is on the other. Shaara opens the window onto the otherworldly tableau of trench warfare as seen through the eyes of a typical British soldier who experiences the bizarre and the horrible - a "Tommy" whose innocent youth is cast into the hell of a terrifying war. In the skies, meanwhile, technology has provided a devastating new tool, the "aeroplane", and with it a different kind of hero emerges: the flying ace.
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Publisher's Summary

Jeff Shaara has enthralled readers and listeners with his New York Times best-selling novels set during the Civil War and the American Revolution. Here the acclaimed author turns to World War I, bringing to life the sweeping, emotional story of the war that devastated a generation and established America as a world power.

Spring 1916: the horror of a stalemate on Europe's western front. France and Great Britain are on one side of the barbed wire, a fierce German army is on the other. Shaara opens the window onto the otherworldly tableau of trench warfare as seen through the eyes of a typical British soldier who experiences the bizarre and the horrible - a "Tommy" whose innocent youth is cast into the hell of a terrifying war.

In the skies, meanwhile, technology has provided a devastating new tool, the "aeroplane", and with it a different kind of hero emerges: the flying ace. Soaring high above the chaos on the ground, these solitary knights duel in the splendor and terror of the skies, their courage and steel tested with every flight.

As the conflict stretches into its third year, a neutral America is goaded into war, its reluctant president, Woodrow Wilson, finally accepting the repeated challenges to his stance of nonalignment. Yet the Americans are woefully unprepared and ill equipped to enter a war that has become worldwide in scope. The responsibility is placed on the shoulders of General John "Blackjack" Pershing, and by mid-1917 the first wave of the American Expeditionary Force arrives in Europe. Encouraged by the bold spirit and strength of the untested Americans, the world waits to see if the tide of war can finally be turned.

The Great War: explore our wide-ranging list of titles about World War I.

©2004 Jeffrey M. Shaara; (P)2004 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"[Shaara] again displays his gift for portraying the intensely human side of warriors.... Shaara is at his best in describing scenes of battle.... First-rate storytelling." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (247 )
5 star
 (143)
4 star
 (76)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
4.5 (130 )
5 star
 (85)
4 star
 (33)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.5 (131 )
5 star
 (78)
4 star
 (44)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Suzanne Gulf Shores, AL, USA 01-22-09
    Suzanne Gulf Shores, AL, USA 01-22-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
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    483
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    "To the Last Man"

    This Author is truly great. World War I is a period in history that many students of Baby Boomer age never covered fully in American History. This book was full of new information to me. I have since become much more interested in this period in our history.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Los Gatos, CA USA 09-19-08
    John Los Gatos, CA USA 09-19-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    82
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A Solid Jeff Shaara effort"

    Seems to concentrate on the emergence of the airplane as a major weapon of war, but that could be a strength for folks who like stories which include the technology of warfare. Generally solidly written, and it is narrated with top-notch superb skill, so the book is well worth its price.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Manassas, VA, United States 11-10-09
    David Manassas, VA, United States 11-10-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Superb"

    It is the unique, disparate and fascinating perspectives through which Shaara tells the story of the Great War that make this book so good. As the author states, he is telling a story, not simply writing a history book. I highly recommend this book to history novices and experts alike. It is an exceptional retelling of exceptional events.
    Paul Michael is an amazing performer. It is not a cliche to say that he brings characters to life. Lufbery, Temple, Richthofen...I could actually 'see' them. Mr. Michael is in that exclusive pantheon of great performers that also includes Roy Dotrice and Barbara Rosenblatt.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gareth Columbus, OH, United States 06-21-13
    Gareth Columbus, OH, United States 06-21-13 Member Since 2013

    I love all nonfiction but in particular history & science. When I tire of facts I'll run to fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    10
    5
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    Performance
    Story
    "WWI from the famous, infamous and unknown"
    What did you love best about To the Last Man?

    I loved how this was an all encompassing story of WWI. It covered so much that you'd never learn in a history class and was told in such a way that I'd be inclined to become anti-social in order to learn more.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story of the Lufbery was most intriguing. I've never heard of him before and most likely never would have. It staggered me to think of how close we really are to our history in the US. Still a very young country.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene before the Red Baron dies.


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

    There is no way to listen to this in one sitting. It's too much. This is the kind of book for commuters.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Valrico, FL, United States 08-27-12
    Tom Valrico, FL, United States 08-27-12 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    9
    3
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    "great bookl"
    Would you consider the audio edition of To the Last Man to be better than the print version?

    although print is good, the audio inflection of the reader makes the book very enjoyable


    What was one of the most memorable moments of To the Last Man?

    when Lufberry lost his life


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The visual of the initial living of the pilots in the chateau


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    when Richtoven was playing with his dog prior to his last flight


    Any additional comments?

    The history mixed with the fiction made this time period come alive. Sometimes very hard to distinguish between the two

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Xavier Los Angeles, CA, United States 08-13-12
    Xavier Los Angeles, CA, United States 08-13-12 Member Since 2010

    I enjoy counter-terrorism, westerns, historical fiction, detective mysteries, and old school comedy like "A Christmas Story".

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better way to view WWI history e.g."The Red Baron""

    The story was interesting being told through the lives of various characters on both sides of the war, i.e. primarily German, British, and American characters.This process makes history more interesting. I recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    audacious b Los Angeles, CA 06-28-11
    audacious b Los Angeles, CA 06-28-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    33
    1
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    "Will not disappoint"

    An excellent portrayal of WWI. You feel as though you are there. Great writers have this knack for making history seem like the present becomes they hone in on the human element. Jeff Shara never really disappoints but this is book is superb.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Smith Northern VA 07-14-14
    Peter Smith Northern VA 07-14-14 Member Since 2004

    boomer643

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding"
    What did you love best about To the Last Man?

    One of the best books I have ever encountered.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way the author personalized the story.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scenes re: Gen. Pershing. He was an unknown to me prior to this book despite having read dozens of historical war histories.


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

    Yes but too Lombard
    NGO.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doris Salunga, PA, United States 04-12-14
    Doris Salunga, PA, United States 04-12-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not enough stars!"

    To The Last Man is truly one of the most riveting history books I've ever read. It portrays the war not through statistics or battle accounts, but through the eyes of four men who fought and (in the case of two) died during the war: Gen. Pershing, Baron von Richtofen, Raoul Lufbery, and Roscoe Temple, an American Marine. Shaara has kept the stories personal enough to engage the reader, but broad enough to expose the politics behind the tactics of various pieces of the war. He glosses over nothing - not the carnage, not the loneliness, not the filth, and not the stupidity.
    Special mention must be made of the narrator, Paul Michael. He is exceptional. He glides among various regional American accents and European accents easily, and provides the only credible German accent I've yet heard in narrations.
    The book could have been twice as long, as far as I'm concerned. It's top-notch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 04-08-14
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 04-08-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    70
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    156
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    "A very riveting story line"

    Typical Jeff Shaara, well researched, written to keep a reader engaged & packed with knowledge we all wish we got in school… highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 14 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Amanda
    Woking, United Kingdom
    6/14/11
    Overall
    "now now now."

    The book follows servral different people during WW1 and these people seem unconnected other than the fact they are fighting in the same war. Giving the book the feel of 3 seperate books. The writer has a brisk kind of sawn off style of writing, in which the sentances are made as short as possible, i quess to give a sence of urgency to the text, i felt however that made it sound like i was listerning to somebody reading a list. The author also finishes almost every second sentence with the word 'now' which is really really grating. Story, (stories) isnt bad though, the book looks at mainly the American's view of the war, which was mainly the last year of ww1. Sorry about my bad spelling.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • DAMON
    Frome, United Kingdom
    11/27/12
    Overall
    "Interesting Novel spoiled by basic continuity mist"

    As I have a great interest in the First World War I thought this novel was an interesting concept of storytelling using actual hisotircal characters, whilst the novel was bitty and disjointed in parts and missed out huge and pivotal historical events the main issue I have is the silly basic continuity mistakes that littered the book, the same lines of spoken text being repeated, this is unacceptable and should have been edited out. Given what each novel costs the listener it is a shabby way of presenting the novel.



    This is becoming an increasing irritation with Audible books and greater care must be taken with editing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • andrew
    ELY, United Kingdom
    11/14/12
    Overall
    "Recomended"

    Anyone with an interest in the First World War, this is a great listen-read, it crosses through from 1914-1918 and is mainly American or German in its story. I enjoyed it very much, however did get frustrated at what appeared to be the lack of acknowledgement the sacrifice of UK forces made during the war.

    The author has well researched this book, and it carries an enormous amount of historical fact which I liked.

    Well worth the purchase

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results

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