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.
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©2004 Jeffrey M. Shaara; (P)2004 Books on Tape
"[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)
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.
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.
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.
One of the best military history book I have experienced in print or on Audible.
With a handful of historical figures, from lowly privates and high flying, dogfighting aviators to the famous and infamous generals and political figures who, for better or worse, led the troops to glorious victories and bloody failures, Jeff Shaara has laid out a rich tapestry of World War I and what it was like in the filthy, stinking, many times gory, usually muddy, wet trenches in the fields of France and Belgium. Trenches, providing the most disgusting living conditions imaginable and even during lulls in battle a place where the troop knew at any second an artillery shell could be falling toward them. Shells filled with marble sized shrapnel or poisonous gas that would begin another round of terror and death or horrendous injury to themselves or their comrades.
This book provokes anger directed toward men long dead, the architects of the first modern technological war and using tactics of a by-gone era when soldiers would fire single shot rifles at each other and as horrible as those battles may have been, they pale when compared to fields of battle where the weapons are accurate artillery fired from miles away, machine guns capable of rates of fire unimaginable in earlier conflicts, diabolical chemical formulation delivered in gas form to battlefield and newly invented aircraft capable of raining death and destruction from above. The politicians and generals answers to these horrors: Rise from your defensive trenches and walk, run, crawl through these murderous weapons to gain a few hundred yards of "dying grounds". Ground that few of them would see but instead, receive and review reports and statistics representing the results of “their" efforts.
This is a great history lesson of the War to End All Wars. It provides insight into what the American military brought to the conflict and its part in the outcome.
I love all nonfiction but in particular history & science. When I tire of facts I'll run to fiction
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.
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.
The scene before the Red Baron dies.
There is no way to listen to this in one sitting. It's too much. This is the kind of book for commuters.
although print is good, the audio inflection of the reader makes the book very enjoyable
when Lufberry lost his life
The visual of the initial living of the pilots in the chateau
when Richtoven was playing with his dog prior to his last flight
The history mixed with the fiction made this time period come alive. Sometimes very hard to distinguish between the two
I enjoy counter-terrorism, westerns, historical fiction, detective mysteries, and old school comedy like "A Christmas Story".
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.
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.
One of the best books I have ever encountered.
The way the author personalized the story.
The scenes re: Gen. Pershing. He was an unknown to me prior to this book despite having read dozens of historical war histories.
Yes but too Lombard
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.
"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.
"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.
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
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