Like Gallipoli and Kokoda, the siege of Tobruk is an iconic battle in Australia's military history. Under ceaseless attack from Rommel's men, the Australian defense held strong. In Tobruk, Peter FitzSimons relates the personal histories and stories not only of the men who defended the garrison against the German onslaught but of the Desert Fox, Erwin Rommel, and the powers back in both Berlin and Britain.
©2006 Peter FitzSimons; (P)2007 Bolinda Publishers Pty Ltd.
"Gripping stuff." (Sydney Morning Herald)
"A thorough, highly readable, distillation of the overlooked Battle of Tobruk." (The Age)
This is an entertaining Aussie-eye view of events in World War 2, centering on, but not limited to, the stubborn defense of Tobruk. The book is written in colloquial Australian-English and is well recorded and, as nearly as I can tell, perfectly read. Highly recommended.
This is an outstanding history of the battle of Tobruk and Australia's role in World War II from the point of view of the digger, the average Aussie soldier. It is biased towards the Aussies, who at times Fitzsimmons paints as supermen, but Fitzsimmons admits his bias in the introduction. This is an ode to Australia's World War II soldiers and an entertaining listen, especially the slang. This book is a primer on Australian slang. I thought the narrator was great, but at times the Australian slang may be too much for some listeners.
"Tobruk" is a great book for serious World War II buffs, because frankly it goes into details about the Aussies that no general campaign history will ever cover. Fitzsimmons is tough on nearly every non-Australian leader other than Rommel, but his critical assessment of Churchill is particularly refreshing.
If you like "Tobruk" I would recommend "At All Costs" by Sam Moses about the siege of Malta too.
A great story well told. I've read A LOT of history books about WWII, this one goes up there with the Battle of the Buldge by Ambrose. Rarely do Americans realize how much effort other non-European countries put into the winning. This book goes beyond the battle and includes all the interesting political and background info leading up to and through the battle.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the timelines and the way the reader is involved in mutiple parallel stories on different sides of the globe adds much depth and is significant to the complete works.
Very well written and wonderfully read by Humphrey.
I work in IT, I love reading, I love Writing and for those daily travels too and fro I love to listen to Audible books too
I am a lover of Peter Fitzsimons books and this is no exception. His level of detail is masterful
Tobruk is an equal to many of Peter's books, but a comparable effort to Kokoda
This is the classic true tale of the Tobruk siege as told by the premier Aussie historical author, Peter Fitzsimons. An abridged version of the siege could be told in 4 hours, but the depth of research undertaken and the unrivalled re-telling in this book is equal to his other works, that is outstanding.
I was often disappointed to get to the end of my drive and have to stop listening. Not only a captivating story, but a history lesson as well. Listen to this and then listen to "Kokoda" by the same author, you will not be disappointed. This is not predominantly a war story, it is a story of Aussie guts, adversity, mate ship and triumph, in a simpler time when the world was at war.
The narration by Bower is another excellent job. He has narrated other of Fitzsimons works with equal success and passion.
This story epitomises the Aussie spirit, told from a partially biased perspective, as all home grown stories are. Long live the legend of Jack Edminson VC. Listen to this book and you will know what I mean.
Often I have discussions with my family and friends about what movies made better books, and vice versa. With audible, the question is "does a narrator do a book justice?" Well, with Tobruk, I have to be honest, I doubt I would ever stayed with this if I picked it up off a bookshelf. The author has an unusual story telling style that I doubt comes off well if simply read. He mixes tenses, writes from imagined view of participants, complete with a slang, and worse, he segues from well-described battle scenes to anecdotes that while they may or may not truly relate to his story, they definitely hinder momentum built up by the prior scene. He even quotes Shakespeare at odd moments(sometimes without attributing).
However, having said that, Humprhrey Bower transforms this book and somehow brings this fascinating story to life.
I am two thirds through the book and loving it. Bower does a great job of transporting you to the scene of the battle, to life in tanks and trenches, the hot sun beating down, the trepidation of the battle, the heart wrenching sorrow of an Australian wife whose husband is in the battle. Even the odd slang sprinkled throughout, which at times reminds you of characters in 1940's movies saying "Golly Gee" or "Goshdarnit" ,comes off well done.
The story itself is worthwhile, the heroism of the Australians stopping the German Blitzkrieg. Obviously the author is in love with his subject, so don't expect an objective view, although he does a good job covering the German viewpoint.
To be honest, this really comes across like a novel, not a history. What you might call a docudrama or dramatization.
Personally I think I would have loved Fitzsimmons book more if he had written a straight up novel, as this so much reminded me of Stephen Pressfield's Killing Rommel.
As for Bower, I am definitely interested in picking up another book he narrates. I listened to a sample of Kokoda by Fitzgibbons and while style is the same, it isn't Bower, and sounded very flat compared to this book.
By the way, the common complaint in other reviews before I purchased is about the slow start. I didn't find it as bad as all that. He first mentions desert warfare in Chapter 4 and really doesn't even mention Tobruk itself until the following chapter. Yes, this certainly could have been trimmed, but again, Bower kept me going. Stick with it as the battle scenes are very well done.
Military History and Archaeology
The details of the people involved and the background information.
A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge, Charles McDonald or John Tolands Battle Story of the Bulge.
An excellent yarn and the equivalent of a book that you can't put down. The story is well structured and apart from the usual character set up at the beginning of the book I was never bored. The narrator’s change of pitch at the start of some chapters was a bit off putting, though this didn't detract from the overall experience. Can't wait for my next credit to grab Kokoda by the same author.
No. While entertaining, I am looking for more insight I. My history reading.
He can cut out a lot of background material to tighten the focus on just the protagonists and their ordeal in Tobruk. We do not need to know about the origin of Nazi germany or other potted history like that.
Fun presenter, like a sports announcer. Playing up the Aussie "bloke" stereotype which can turn someone off.
To look for another more serious treatment on that campaign.
Absolutely superb. 23 hours long means no stone is left unturned with this, everything is covered in detail from the world Political situation to the action on the frontline. But it never gets boring with plenty of drama and a healthy dose of humour. The Aussie bloke reading it does it good job too.
"Australians in North Africa"
One of the most striking statements in this book concerns the German’s asking Australians what they are doing in North Africa. At a time when Japan was threatening Australia and the war was going badly in the Pacific a large army of Australians where fighting under the British in the desert campaign. Their contribution was vital and their reputation was second to none. This is their story and I would not hesitate to recommend it. It is packed with detail from the soldiers on the ground to the Australian PM travelling to Britain to plead with Churchill to allow Australians to command Australians and to allow troops home to defend their homeland. It is a stark reminder of the power of the Empire that South Africans, New Zealanders and Indians where also there. While their existence and contribution is largely unknown in the UK, it is engrained into the memories of their ancestors as much as the Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain are in the UK. A very well written and narrated story.
I don't normally write reviews, however this is up there with Jackson's 'storm of war', Evans 'Third Reich' series, and Lord's 'Miracle of Dunkirk'. It's an excellent book.
"Torbruk by Peter Fitzsimons"
A first rate story well presented I could imagine the hardship of warfare in such an unforgiving environment. I highly recommend this audio book
Informative Humbling Exciting
The fact that the "Digger" Officers took their shirts off and worked alongside their men when digging the trenches. At one point a crisply turned out English Officer admonished a grubby man in a trench for not saluting him. The "Digger" stopped what he was doing and put on his shirt - the pips showing him to be a Superior Officer. He made the Englishman salute and then told him to "piss off". This was a lighter moment in the book but one which illustrated the attitude of the Australian Offiers toward their men.
Humphrey Bower could make the telephone directory sound riviting. He excels in everything he reads. Thank you Mr Bower, I must confess to being a great fan
Although this is a book of my time, I lived through World War II, I knew very little about the Commonwealth Forces who worked alongside the "Tommies". I felt rather ashamed about this and realised how truly grateful we should be to those men.
The book was obviously thoroughly researched and the author is to be congratulated for the way he told the story. A very thought provoking listen.
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