©2008 Andrie Cherny; (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC
"[Written] with the flair of a novelist ..." (strong Kirkus Reviews)
Some people would give it four instead of five stars. This might be due to the detailed descriptions of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering. However, for me, it is a wonderful, get-out-yer-hankies (in spots), well-read book. After I had a run of middlin' books from Audible, this is a grand slam home run!!
This book is a real surprise. Not only does it give a history of the Berlin Airlift, the men who dropped the candy to the children in Berlin and the men who planned and orchestrated the over 240,000 flights that saved the city from the Russian blockade. You meet the generals and civilians in charge and the others involved. It takes you to Berlin after the end of WWII and the savage and brutal treatment of the citizens of Berlin by the Russian troops. Cherny also describes the 1948 presidential election, the candidates and their campaigning, the infighting among the State Department, Joint Chiefs of Staff, James Forrestal and Truman. Jonathan Davis is a terrific reader.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Cherny made history live by providing background to all facets of this incredible feat. He focused on several central players and provided their history and interwove this information into the greater story. I felt as if I was hearing a cliffhanger who-done-it even though I knew that the airlift happened. It was interesting to see how chance events came together to cause this bit of history. Cherny also speculates about the impact the Berlin Airlift had on the American image overseas and the USAs pre-eminence in the second half of the 20th century. Overall a great book.
This was an excellent story with facts about the end of WWII, Berlin, Truman politics and Gale Halverson. Gale was from Utah and so am I so it struck a good cord. His kindness to the sad Berlin children helped to galvanize the West Berliners against communison and changed their hearts about their US conquerers. Well narrated and worth the listen.
This book was interesting throughout - I never tired of listening to it. It isn't just one story - it is a combination of several stories involving people, history, and and the impact of an often overlooked piece of history. So much background is provided that the reader gets an indepth and fascinating picture of the world and its political realities after WW2.
The narration is excellant and gives the book an edge that I don't think would be there in the print version.
This is a story about American's at their best. The beginning part of the book while a sometimes a bit dry in it's history is very informative and as the story builds the book just gets better. It's a good listen and it's nice to hear about America doing the right thing even when it wasn't the easy thing. At over 20 hours it got me to and from work for long time.
Say something about yourself!
Excellent history of post-WW2 Germany, the Truman administration, and every day life in occupied Berlin.
A MUST LISTEN........!!!!!!
The beginning is a bit slow as it develops the characters that later comprise the decision makers in this historical saga, but once that is over, you will have a hard time stopping. It is an amazing account of a time in history most of us know little about. Excellent narration and well written. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
I'm a bit conflicted that I gave out a better rating to Bob the Streetcat, but 1) the narrator for that book rocked, and 2) please consider the genre and point of each book. That one is meant to be lighter, less in-depth reading/listening.
Besides, overall this is a solid 4.25 (why, oh why, audible, don't you allow for 1/2 and 1/4 stars?).
This is a GREAT book, and I'm thrilled to have used a credit so wisely. It is extraordinarily well-researched, has a swift pace, and allowed for little ho-hum "I'm-sitting-hear-listening" awareness.
If you're a certain age, you might find the first 7-8 hours a bit tedious because it's all set up of the Cold War. I, however, was a little girl during the Vietnam era (grew up on Captain Kangaroo which was followed by the daily death count in the war), and my heroes at the time were the POWs. So this information was all new to me. All I knew of the Berlin Wall, the Airlift, and the Cold War could be summed up by the half page we had in our 8th grade history book.
This made The Candy Bombers flat-out fascinating listening for me. It's a play by play, and a who said what to whom account of how it all happened, and I knew just enough to find myself shouting, "Don't do THAT!" throughout my day. I couldn't stop listening to it!
Many, many angles are covered from politics, to human interest, with romance, misunderstandings, and misrepresentations galore. Don't expect the Russians to come out looking good, and I'm not sure that Truman was the glowing individual this book represents him as (especially as it seems to gloss over how many, "We must find the Communists hiding in our midst" statements there are here. Things gotta kinda bad with the blacklists, and the McCarthyism that followed, yes?)
And it's emotionally compelling! The case made that one soldier handing out two sticks of gum, in violation of the rules of conduct, could change the perception that Berliners had of Americans, and that Americans had of Berliners is totally reasonable. Children started waiting for the Wiggle-Wings pilot, letters from children started getting sent to the airbase. This from the traumatized and brutalized kids who, after seeing so much, used to play "rape" as a game. Suddenly they started playing "airlift."
I cared about every person, whether I agreed with them or not. That's how well-developed and well-chronicled their efforts are in this book. And the only real problem I had was with the narrator. He does a very respectable job, but don't expect a performance. This is delivered almost as a factual news account, but with a bit more emotion and intensity. The pauses in between statements and scenes, however, almost drove me nuts at times. The middle third, I listened to it at x1.25 speed, because the book almost started dragging, and I was far too interested to sit around and wait. By the end, the narration went back to being decent, and I could listen to it in normal time.
If you like history, if you're fond of non-fiction, this book is a real treat, a great ride. And hats off to the candy bombers. Those POWs of my memories have some new heroes to join them!
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