Battle: The Story of the Bulge, John Toland's first work of military history, recounts the saga of beleaguered American troops as they resisted Hitler's deadly counter offensive in World War II's Battle of the Bulge - and turned it into an Allied victory. It is a gripping work, painstakingly researched and imbued with such vivid detail that listeners will feel as though they themselves witnessed these events. This is a book not to be missed by anyone interested in this tumultuous era of our world's history.
©1959 John Toland (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
52, retired soldier and surgeon. Teach Combat Surgery and Military History and hold the rank of Brigadier. Lost wife, love dogs, ski to fast
Mr Toland needs congratulations on what is a great read. So well researched and animated in a way many popular historians have not been able to do with such skill. I know the battle well (Soldier for 23 years), and who has ever done Staff College without the 'Bulge'.American arms growing up and entering world history with thunder and courage. It was a great battle and has never been praised enough for the shear courage and professionalism of American Armies. For that is what we are talking about, a clash of titanic proportion and infantry losses 3x that of the Eastern Front. Again, well done Mr Toland I would love to chat with you one day on certain points, but if you are a history buff and want a story to tell the 'Spartans' this is the one to get. (And and I apologize for the crass and churlish out pourings from Field Marshal Montgomery bringing shame to so many British Tommie's who bled and died next to their American brothers)
Great description of the battle.
Besides the Audible edition, I also had Amazon send me the hardbound book, because I love to follow a battle on maps, and satellite views. The hardbound contained about five useful maps, which help a lot in the case of Bastogne, but not so much elsewhere.
There is another factor for map followers: Location names. Internet map searches require properly-spelled location names, and you don't get that from Audible.
I listened once through, then went on Amazon and bought the hardbound, plus a good map. Now I am ready to sit down and REALLY enjoy a second listen, while following along with maps!
A fascinating tour through the battle from a perspective of only a little over a decade later. The book captures the entire lead up to, and length of the battle of the Bulge, not only from the Allied side, but also the German side. It looks at the battle from a birds-eye view, and a worms-eye view, through detailed personal stories. An interesting read about the conflicts between field marshal Montgomery and generals Eisenhower and Bradley, as well as the surprising effect, the German offensive had on the Allied leadership.
Most history is told top-down—giving the reader an overview, then more detail, then another overview, then more detail. "Battle," however, never really re-orients the listener with the perspective necessary to understand exactly what's going on. It's told like a collection of independent vignettes—episodic, and not well connected—like a series of isolated incidents, lacking in cohesive structure.
Furthermore, unless the listener has a fairly detailed map of Germany and Belgium in his head, there's little guidance as to where the action is, or which direction it's headed. There simply isn't enough geographical or strategic detail to help the listener get a handle on why things happened as they did.
Unfortunately, Dan Butler's narration does nothing to improve this. His constant pausing mid-phrase makes it clear he has minimal comprehension of what he's reading. The resulting lack of continuity renders the story quite difficult to follow—and even more difficult to care about. At some level, I'm sympathetic to Mr. Butler's apparent lack of experience, but this is a huge assignment, given his level of talent—and it's clear he's bitten off way more than he can chew.
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