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Tobruk | [Peter FitzSimons]

Tobruk

In the early days of April 1941, the 14,000 Australian forces garrisoned in the Libyan town of Tobruk were told to expect reinforcements and supplies within eight weeks. Eight months later these heroic, gallant, determined "Rats of Tobruk" were rescued by the British Navy having held the fort against the might of Rommel's never-before-defeated Afrika Corps.
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Publisher's Summary

In the early days of April 1941, the 14,000 Australian forces garrisoned in the Libyan town of Tobruk were told to expect reinforcements and supplies within eight weeks. Eight months later these heroic, gallant, determined "Rats of Tobruk" were rescued by the British Navy having held the fort against the might of Rommel's never-before-defeated Afrika Corps.

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.

What the Critics Say

"Gripping stuff." (Sydney Morning Herald)
"A thorough, highly readable, distillation of the overlooked Battle of Tobruk." (The Age)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (213 )
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Story
4.4 (116 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Paul Quakers Hill, Australia 10-05-14
    Paul Quakers Hill, Australia 10-05-14

    I am a sales rep. I spend many hours in the car often travelling to see my parents 16 hrs each way. These books are such an intergral part of travelling for me...

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    "The Rats come alive"

    I could never make sense of this part of the war ...you see my mothers uncle survived Tobruk ...but he was British and the Rats of Tobruk were Aussies. Not only does it now all makes sense I actually feel like I have just lived through history and several battles as an eyewitness. Great piece of story telling but more so; Great piece of history telling.
    I recommend Peter's book to anybody who "thinks" they understand Tobruk and it's place in the war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Stevenson Houston, TX, USA 09-19-14
    James Stevenson Houston, TX, USA 09-19-14
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    "A great story, told like a fire-side yarn"
    Where does Tobruk rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's very good. I've read a lot of history, and this is told quite differently to a lot of history. Some history books are dry, stale statings of facts. This isn't that. But nor does it attempt to be the kind of telling that is super erudite that might be aiming for a Pulitzer or something. Tobruk aims to be a tale told like your grandfather might have told it to you if he were there. Like someone telling a tale by the fireside. It's told in Australian idiom, rich in Australian humour. And it really excels. As a history nut at first it was a shade jarring - simply because that style is so rare in history books. But I quickly realized that this style is a tremendous vehicle to get this great story across in a super readable, and endearing way. And that means more people will learn of the great story of Tobruk, and the soldiers who fought there.


    What other book might you compare Tobruk to and why?

    There are lots. A Bridge too far. The Longest Day. Band of Brothers. But the style of this is quite different to those. I suppose Fitzsimons' other books, but I haven't read those.


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He's a great reader. A few times I found myself thinking that Peter Fitzsimons himself was reading - which is probably a sign of the reader doing a great job. He tells the story like a tale.


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

    I don't know if you could call yourself human if this kind of stuff didn't affect you. I laughed with humour and with pride, and I felt tears welling up quite regularly. My own grandfather's squadron is mentioned a few times in a book, so a particular burst of pride for me.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're Australian, read it. If you're interested in WWII, or military history in general, read it. And if you're interested in a tale of adversity and mateship where a bunch of blokes are put together and fight to defend a town - you'll enjoy this.

    More than anything - if you're someone who finds reading history daunting - this would be especially good for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Milton Soong Los Altos, CA USA 03-11-13
    Milton Soong Los Altos, CA USA 03-11-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Bank of blokes."
    Would you try another book from Peter FitzSimons and/or Humphrey Bower?

    No. While entertaining, I am looking for more insight I. My history reading.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Fun presenter, like a sports announcer. Playing up the Aussie "bloke" stereotype which can turn someone off.


    Did Tobruk inspire you to do anything?

    To look for another more serious treatment on that campaign.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Bailey Sydney 02-04-13
    Jonathan Bailey Sydney 02-04-13 Member Since 2014
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    "FitzSimons honours true heroes."

    This book is excellent. FitzSimons avoids writing a dry history and instead gives a lively narrative that leaves you with a sense of the what life was like during the siege of Tobruk for the soldiers on the frontline, their commanding officers and their loved ones at home.

    Humphrey Bower's performance is exceptional, particularly when it comes to the accents of the various soldiers in the campaign and his delivery of the German phrases and words. Each character in the story is given a life of their own and this is what lifts this from a simple historical account to a story that everyone needs to hear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald 09-03-12
    Donald 09-03-12 Member Since 2010

    I enjoy listening to audible recordings while exercising and doing tasks around the house. My interest is mainly on historical nonfiction.

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    "Aussies at war in North Africa"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I loved this book. I would certainly recommend it to someone who likes the personalization of war. It contains many little details of how the war in North Africa was conducted by individual soldiers, especially the Australian troops. It has a definite Aussie slant.


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    The portrayal of the "Desert Fox", Irwin Rommel was especially good and well balanced. It did not dress him up and make it look like he did not make mistakes. He certainly did and they are well illustrated in the book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not necessarily, it is a book which can be broken into parts and does not suffer from leaving it for a few days.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis 08-17-12
    Dennis 08-17-12
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    "What a Great Listen!!"

    This is a great book! I was totally caught up in it! Even learned a couple things about WWII.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James SUGAR LAND, TX, United States 08-09-12
    James SUGAR LAND, TX, United States 08-09-12 Member Since 2013
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    "A Flavor of the times"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The book does a great job of balancing the battle for Tobruk between the Australian and German perspectives. The author also adds a lot of language peculiar to the Australian defenders which adds color to the story. There is emotion in the story as the battle inevitably takes its toll on both sides. The author also adds in the political element which overshadowed the British/Australian relationship in the North African theater.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tobruk?

    When one of the main characters is killed - it is a moment of great sadness and how it affects the character's family at home is quite moving.


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The accent adds much to the story. Being an American I may not know exactly how to relate to a particular saying but the narrator does a great job making it relevant.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I will most likely still buy the physical book as it is one of the few in-depth accounts i have run into about the siege of Tobruk.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Richardson ACT, Australia 05-10-11
    Ken Richardson ACT, Australia 05-10-11
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    "Tobruk a great story"

    A fantastic read detailing many sides to the seige of Tobruk. I picked up the story at every opportunity. Another great effort by Peter FitzSimons. Thank You

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jeff Fredericksburg, VA, USA 09-09-09
    Jeff Fredericksburg, VA, USA 09-09-09
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    "Inspiring"

    Fantastic account of the Aussie soldiers and their role in holding off Romel's Panzer Division in North Africa.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron Lawton, MI, United States 09-03-09
    Aaron Lawton, MI, United States 09-03-09 Member Since 2014
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    "Nicely told"

    In the spirit of Stephen Ambrose, Mr. Fitzsimsons Tobruk tells a great story of the men who bravely held and fought for stronghold. Good story telling! I recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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