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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 (195 )
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4.4 (100 )
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4.4 (100 )
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Performance
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  •  
    J B Tipton Minneapolis, MN USA 11-22-08
    J B Tipton Minneapolis, MN USA 11-22-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Fair dinkum"

    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.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles West Monroe, LA, USA 01-24-09
    Charles West Monroe, LA, USA 01-24-09 Member Since 2007
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    "The Few, The Proud, The Australian!"

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meade Flanders, NJ, USA 01-10-09
    Meade Flanders, NJ, USA 01-10-09
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    "Great Story"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Graham Seahampton, Australia 06-18-11
    Graham Seahampton, Australia 06-18-11
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    "ABSOLUTELY BLOODY FANTASTIC"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 05-07-14
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 05-07-14 Member Since 2013

    SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "'Bloody' Brilliant!"

    This ain't just for Aussies (though I can see how this book could definitely make them puff their chests out in pride!) What a great book! This covers a battle of World War 2 that I hadn't heard about it, but I must fess up that I'd never been that interested in the war in Africa. I know: Shame on me! And I also confess that at the last minute I changed the Overall to 5-stars. The reason: It was so good that I ran to the computer to use a credit for "Kokoda" because I thought the author was brilliant at making figures of history so real to me and for making the men who fought in the battle men that I desperately wanted the best for.
    This is a seamless narrative, great representation of characters, with a drop-dead thrilling "plot." I do, however, get twitchy about narrators, and while Bower was almost flawless, I thought I had to listen at x1.25 speed to get that sense of breathlessness that I desire in something that needs the swift pacing that the story seems to demand.
    If you're a war buff, or if you just like good action with lots of humor, give this book a try. Definitely credit-worthy.
    My favorite line from the soldiers that I have added to my working dialogue: "If it's stupid and it works... It ain't stupid!"

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Garry Cannington, Australia 04-21-13
    Garry Cannington, Australia 04-21-13 Member Since 2011

    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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Peter Fitzsimons at his best"
    What made the experience of listening to Tobruk the most enjoyable?

    I am a lover of Peter Fitzsimons books and this is no exception. His level of detail is masterful


    What other book might you compare Tobruk to and why?

    Tobruk is an equal to many of Peter's books, but a comparable effort to Kokoda


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    Enjoyable


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Robina, Australia 12-04-12
    Brad Robina, Australia 12-04-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Another Aussie Classic from Fitzsimons"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rory K Gallagher Philly 11-09-12
    Rory K Gallagher Philly 11-09-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Written book vs Audible--Incredible Performance"

    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.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan McGrew Safford, AZ 08-28-12
    Dan McGrew Safford, AZ 08-28-12 Member Since 2012

    Military History and Archaeology

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    "Bring it on Rommel!!!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Tobruk the most enjoyable?

    The details of the people involved and the background information.


    What other book might you compare Tobruk to and why?

    A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge, Charles McDonald or John Tolands Battle Story of the Bulge.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    O'Brien Singleton, Australia 05-16-11
    O'Brien Singleton, Australia 05-16-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Well written , entertaining and captivating"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 25 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Darren
    Stroud, United Kingdom
    2/6/09
    Overall
    "Absolutely superb."

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    rochester, United Kingdom
    5/10/11
    Overall
    "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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Lester
    Hastings, United Kingdom
    11/9/11
    Overall
    "Tobruk"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    near Carnoustie, United Kingdom
    11/2/11
    Overall
    "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

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Andy
    Leicester, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Easy listen history lite account"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    More quoting of primary sources needed - much of the book is unattributed. Example writing about thoughts of people who left no written record - pure imagination.

    Very pro-aussie stereotyping - Aussies lean mean fighting machines, good hearted kind but tough fighters. Brits Poms public school educated aristocrats and incompetently led.

    Bit like the Bradman Jardine caricatures of the bodyline series


    Would you recommend Tobruk to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes if a human interest history of tobruk is what your interested


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

    N/A


    Could you see Tobruk being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    Yes - not sure some aussies


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M. J. Wallace
    Ross on Wye UK
    5/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superbly written"
    Where does Tobruk rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top five


    What other book might you compare Tobruk to, and why?

    This is the first WW2 book I have listened to and I will be looking for more
    So nothing to compare against at the moment


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    The narrative is excellent ,and read with compassion !


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

    There are several very moving sections to the story ,especially when close friends are lost in battle
    As an ex soldier myself ,I can feel the pain that is written !


    Any additional comments?

    A superbly written book and expertly read
    Very enjoyable

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dave
    4/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "All the info I did not know about Tobruk"
    If you could sum up Tobruk in three words, what would they be?

    Long live Rats


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story behind the story, the history, the players, the men, the families.


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

    No


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

    oh yes


    Any additional comments?

    Well worth the wait

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    United Kingdom
    2/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating Listen"
    If you could sum up Tobruk in three words, what would they be?

    Informative Humbling Exciting


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tobruk?

    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.






















    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    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


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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