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Inferno Audiobook

Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945

From one of our finest military historians comes a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences. Remarkably informed and wide-ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued. Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the 20th century.
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Publisher's Summary

From one of our finest military historians comes a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences.

World War II involved tens of millions of soldiers and cost sixty million lives—an average of twentyseven thousand a day. For 35 years, Max Hastings has researched and written about different aspects of the war. Now, for the first time, he gives us a magnificent, singlevolume history of the entire war.

Through his strikingly detailed stories of everyday people—of soldiers, sailors, and airmen; British housewives and Indian peasants; SS killers and the citizens of Leningrad, some of whom resorted to cannibalism during the two year siege; Japanese suicide pilots and American carrier crews—Hastings provides a singularly intimate portrait of the world at war. He simultaneously traces the major developments—Hitler’s refusal to retreat from the Soviet Union until it was too late, Stalin’s ruthlessness in using his greater population to wear down the German army, Churchill’s leadership in the dark days of 1940 and 1941, Roosevelt’s steady hand before and after the United States entered the war—and puts them in real human context.

Hastings also illuminates some of the darker and less explored regions under the war’s penumbra, including the conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland, during which the Finns fiercely and surprisingly resisted Stalin’s invading Red Army, and the Bengal famine in 1943 and 1944, when at least one million people died in what turned out to be, in Nehru’s words, “the final epitaph of British rule” in India.

Remarkably informed and wide-ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued. Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the 20th century.

©2011 Max Hastings (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“This is the book [Hastings] was born to write: a work of staggering scope and erudition, narrated with supreme fluency and insight, it is unquestionably the best single-volume history of the war ever written.” (Sunday Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Yachtmaster Hawaii, USA 10-14-15
    Yachtmaster Hawaii, USA 10-14-15 Member Since 2015

    Yachtmasterkyle

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    "The Single Best Book on WWII?"

    Inferno by Max Hastings is a true masterpiece. It is both the war told from 30,000 feet and the war told from those on the ground. WWII is such a vast subject, perceived in so many ways by so many people that it is not possible to condense the event into a single volume. But, if you had to pick a single book from the thousands, this could be the one.

    I would recommend this book as mandatory reading, not just to those interested in the war, but to everyone. Simply put, this is one book I would not want to have left unread. I suggest that it goes on the top of your list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rudolph 07-20-15
    Rudolph 07-20-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Editing To The Wind"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend but understand the editing can be annoying at times.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This book provided a different perspective of the war but jumped around with what appeared to be random order at times.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was clear and concise but at times apparently the narrator wanted to do this all in one take and moved away from the microphone changing tone and volume.


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

    Some of the passages will make you laugh at the ridiculous claims of justifications of action and then cry with anger for the needless deaths of soldiers and citizens to pacify people like MacArthur. And then there is the sadness of the impact on innocent lives, combatants and civilians.


    Any additional comments?

    The time editing of this audio book as it relates to chapter and sectional breaks is all but non existent. Had this been my first audiobook I may not have purchased others. This is by far the worst time editing of an audio book I have experienced. Be prepared to constantly use Bookmarks and not rely on the chapter times and breaks to plan your listening. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best, this is a 2 compared to all other audio books I have experienced being a 9 or 10.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Northbrook, IL, United States 06-22-15
    Eric Northbrook, IL, United States 06-22-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Superb!"

    An excellent re-telling of the factors leading up to, during and post WWII. There's a bit more concentration on the European Theatre of operations but even for someone like myself who considers WWII a topic about which I know a great deal this is a fantastic novel. Hastings reveals numerous obscure, yet fascinating facts as well as the stories of battles, facts and circumstances that are very well known in a way that keeps the story captivating and interesting beginning to end. Finally I find the narrator Ralph Cosham to be among my very favorite. I highly recommend this novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laurie 04-04-15
    laurie 04-04-15

    I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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    "Less military macro than human micro"

    I read a lot of WWII books, but this one was unusual. Despite the vastness of the project and the expanse of years, Hastings's book is highly personal. We listen to soldiers' and civilians' intensely moving diary entries, letters to loved ones, and eyewitness accounts. No other book has made the depth of suffering so clear and real to me, person by person by person.

    And yet the book was not sensationalism. It was scholarly and informative. Hastings is clear in his opinions of the role each nation played in the war. Russia made the biggest contribution and, at great sacrifice, won the war for the Allies. The Brits don't come out looking so good. The US emerged, relatively speaking, unscathed.

    I was so impressed with Inferno, I used my next credit for another Hastings book.

    The narrator did a wonderful job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brad t. deaton 02-22-15
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    "The enemy's view"

    Well written. Many new facts. If you love history, highly recommend this. Gives overview as well as personal touch to events

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fran 01-23-15
    Fran 01-23-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Dull & repetitive at times, different perspective"



    A lot of numbers but interesting personal accounts and new observations. Worth listening to

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    McCoffee Saratoga, CA, United States 12-13-14
    McCoffee Saratoga, CA, United States 12-13-14

    I like history and biography, novels too. I do have a thing for zombie books as well. I need crappy thrillers now and then.

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    "Big scope, human, sad, great overview"

    Hastings hits on everything, especially the human costs of the war, not just the numbers of dead but the personal stories. The war is not a series of campaigns, this book reminds us, but a story of mass murder, rape, and starvation. Probably the best all-around history I've read. And Hastings is not reluctant to voice opinions. He's tough on the tyrannies of the time, of which their were many.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki In Crete Chania, Greece 05-24-14
    Vicki In Crete Chania, Greece 05-24-14
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    "Incredible Insights The real history WWII"

    This is an incredible book. I learned more about WWII from this book then from other histories combined. After reading this book one has a better idea of why it was called a world war and a better understanding of the complex relationships between the Ally and Axis powers. Wars are not simple events and they are not attractive, Mr. Hastings respects both facts. The narration is excellent. In all ways a great audible book. I would recommend this book to anyone trying to understand the historical background to events after WWII and to contemporary events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Scott Covington, KY, United States 02-07-14
    Scott Covington, KY, United States 02-07-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Lots I didnt know about WW 2"
    What made the experience of listening to Inferno the most enjoyable?

    Both the material and the reader.


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

    Moved is probably not the right term. I was shocked by the hypocrisy present even in the days of WW 2. Countries seldom do the right thing because its the right thing to do. I was shocked by the atrocities committed by the japanese and the worlds {us} wiling ness to turn a blind eye. The whole war is surely far more complex than we are led to believe today.


    Any additional comments?

    This narrator fit this book as well as is humanly possible. Listen and I think you will agree. Its almost as if Churchill were reading to you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Brittain Grasonville, MD, United States 01-26-14
    Brittain Grasonville, MD, United States 01-26-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Facinating"
    What made the experience of listening to Inferno the most enjoyable?

    The author's in depth research and the way he addressed so many topics relating to the war. The war in Asia, Russia, Great Britain, Southeast Asia, Japan, the air phase, weaponry, Naval warfare (on the water, below the surface and naval aviation), the effects of war on the citizens of the countries at war; all of these topics are examined in a way we haven't seen previously


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the way he personalized so many events. His research must have uncovered personal diaries and letters.His quotes of those involved brought the event to life.I also enjoyed his analysis of phases of the war and how today the view of WWII personalities varies from the immediate post war view.


    Any additional comments?

    For those that enjoy lengthy detailed stories as I do, this book will capture you. Max Hastings brings history to light.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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