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Preston Leonard

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  • Neptune's Inferno

  • The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
  • By: James D. Hornfischer
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 18 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,030
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 875
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 874

With The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and Ship of Ghosts, James D. Hornfischer created essential and enduring narratives about America’s World War II Navy, works of unique immediacy distinguished by rich portraits of ordinary men in extremis and exclusive new information. Now he does the same for the deadliest, most pivotal naval campaign of the Pacific war: Guadalcanal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Desperate battles, well told

  • By Robert B on 05-04-12

Very descriptive

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-17-18

Very descriptive retelling of vicious naval fighting on the waters around Guadalcanal. The accounts of veterans told in the book are spine tingling to the core. Burning exploding ships, ambushes by Japanese warships with torpedoes and shells in the pitch black darkness. The gory carnage that destroys any heroic images of war. This book is incredible

  • The Forgotten Soldier

  • By: Guy Sajer
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 21 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,598
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,470
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,463

When Guy Sajer joins the infantry full of ideals in the summer of 1942, the German army is enjoying unparalleled success in Russia. However, he quickly finds that for the foot soldier the glory of military success hides a much harsher reality of hunger, fatigue, and constant deprivation. Posted to the elite Grosse Deutschland division, he enters a violent and remorseless world where all youthful hope is gradually ground down, and all that matters is the brute will to survive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Beautifully Written Heartrending Tragedy

  • By Gillian on 03-31-17

Misery, Suffering, Pain...

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-15-18

If I could rename this book these are the names I would settle on. I've heard this book maybe all be fiction, however I feel as though this is irrelevant. This is a grueling recollection of a young French teenager naively joining the German war effort and finding himself enduring the worst war in human existence on the Eastern front of World War 2.

As far as personal accounts "With the Old Breed" has more detail pertaining to combat where-as this book might seem to drag on with the everyday problems of being a soldier but it is still without question in my opinion one of the best war stories of all time. It should not be viewed as a accurate re-telling of historical events but as a personal, heartbreaking story of a young man forever changed by a nightmare he could not escape from.

  • The Last Battle

  • By: Cornelius Ryan
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 15 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,089
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,010
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,007

The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater. The last offensive against Hitler’s Third Reich, it devastated one of Europe’s historic capitals and marked the final defeat of Nazi Germany. It was also one of the war’s bloodiest and most pivotal battles, whose outcome would shape international politics for decades to come.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Masterful Work

  • By Shaun on 08-03-12

Focus on Allies hurts great book

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-31-18

I felt as if this book spent too much time on the British and American decision to not take berlin, the political and public reactions. While the Russian side is covered throughout, at the end I felt as though the fall of the city had been rushed and I had missed out on something. Antony Beevors classic is a more vivid, detailed accounting but this book is still on my bookshelf because it's still good in it's own regard. Just not as good

  • The Fall of Berlin 1945

  • By: Antony Beevor
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 17 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 364
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 333
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 332

The Red Army had much to avenge when it finally reached the frontiers of the Third Reich in January 1945. Frenzied by their terrible experiences with Wehrmacht and SS brutality, they wreaked havoc - tanks crushing refugee columns, mass rape, pillage, and unimaginable destruction. Hundreds of thousands of women and children froze to death or were massacred; more than seven million fled westward from the fury of the Red Army. It was the most terrifying example of fire and sword ever known.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Engrossing

  • By Salui on 09-06-16

Superior to The Last Battle

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-31-18

A spectacular, detailed, thorough recounting of both Russian and German side of this battle. I enjoyed this much more than the other book on Audible covering the last battle of the European war. This book covers extensively the German and Russian sides of this battle and has a balance between what is happening on the political stage, the military fighting, and the plight of civilians caught in the fray.

Thankfully the Western Allies were only briefly covered when it was relevant where as other works have focused on why Eisenhower decided not to take Berlin, the political fallouts, and only briefly describing Soviet contribution. This is why this now my go to book regarding the Battle of Berlin.

  • Morning Star, Midnight Sun

  • The Early Guadalcanal-Solomons Campaign of World War II August–October 1942
  • By: Jeffrey R. Cox
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 20 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102

Following the disastrous Java Sea campaign, the Allies went on the offensive in the Pacific in a desperate attempt to halt the Japanese forces that were rampaging across the region. With the conquest of Australia a very real possibility, the stakes were high. Their target: the Japanese-held Soloman Islands, in particular the southern island of Guadalcanal. Hamstrung by arcane pre-war thinking and a bureaucratic mind-set, the US Navy had to adapt on the fly in order to compete with the mighty Imperial Japanese Navy, whose ingenuity had fostered the creation of its Pacific empire.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Both sides told

  • By Davidsol Cometa on 05-09-18

Outstanding, Vivid, Clear

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-21-18

Ranks up there with Neptunes Inferno, although Inferno had a more personal touch to it, this book covers the essentials and fills in the spaces with plenty of colorful imagery. My only complaint would be it is not long enough and a Part 2 should be written if it hasn't already.

  • KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

  • By: Nikolaus Wachsmann
  • Narrated by: Paul Hodgson
  • Length: 31 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 678
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 632
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 625

In KL, Wachsmann fills this glaring gap in our understanding. He not only synthesizes a new generation of scholarly work, much of it untranslated and unknown outside of Germany, but also presents startling revelations, based on many years of archival research, about the functioning and scope of the camp system.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth every minute

  • By Kathy Perow on 10-06-15

31 Hours of Darkness

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-20-18

I couldn't get through this book the second time listening. It is an extremely depressing story to listen to and while it gets repetitive, it also gets more brutal.

The constant torture, starvation, beatings, random murders, and casual acts of sadism fill this book into a long nightmare of horror.

One major problem I have with the narrator is his need to add an atrocious accent to every quote based on the nationality of who ever the author is quoting. For example, he gives the same high pitched German accent for every German speaking person in this story from Hitler, Himmler, down to the guards. This was also hard to get through

  • Eisenhower's Armies

  • By: Niall Barr
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 20 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 39

Eisenhower's Armies is the story of two very different armies learning to live, work, and fight together even in the face of serious strategic disagreements. The Anglo-American relationship from 1941-1945 proved to be the most effective military alliance in history. Yet there were also constant tensions and disagreements that threatened to pull the alliance apart.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • One of the unsung efforts during World War II

  • By Mike From Mesa on 07-31-16

Should be named Eisenhower's Generals.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-20-18

For those who aren't familiar with the Second World War, I would recommend this book as a starter book to the generals who led the war from the western perspective, Eisenhower in particular.

For more experienced readers this isn't much more than a general retelling of the landings in Africa, Italy, and France; the drama with the French leaders of Vichy France quibbling for power, Eisenhower constantly having to reaffirm his opinions to higher ups, and of course everyone's favorite: Monty.

If you're looking for a deeper, more personal boots on the ground, everyday life as a soldier, I wouldn't recommend this book. This is a more political overview of events behind the scenes as the fighting occurred.

The best parts of the book describe instances when American and British troops either worked together or fought side by side. It goes into the clash of cultures a bit and what the troops thought of their cousins across the pond.

If the book had focused more on these interactions instead of retelling for the millionth time how Montgomery exaggerated to the press I would have rated the book higher.

  • Retribution

  • The Battle for Japan, 1944 - 45
  • By: Max Hastings
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 27 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 328
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 305
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 297

By the summer of 1944 it was clear that Japan's defeat was inevitable, but how the drive to victory would be achieved remained unclear. The ensuing drama - that ended in Japan's utter devastation - was acted out across the vast theater of Asia in massive clashes between army, air, and naval forces. In recounting these extraordinary events, Max Hastings draws incisive portraits of MacArthur, Mao, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and other key figures of the war in the East.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A superb study by one of the world's finest histor

  • By Easton Reader on 12-22-16

Masterpiece- a must have

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-09-17

What makes Max Hastings such a good author is how he presents work like a journalist telling you about a current event. He covers many different aspects of the war, from the familiar to obscure straight from the people who were there, often in their own words. In Retribution we go over Toyko with the B29s, on the seas at Leyte Gulf, on the islands of Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and finally the atomic bombs. But what makes this book a must have is how it does to places no other has before. Mao's communists, General Slim and Burma, the liberation of the Phillipines, the submarine service, life as a POW or occupation under the rising sun

  • The Last 100 Days

  • The Tumultuous and Controversial Story of the Final Days of World War II in Europe
  • By: John Toland
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 27 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 524
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 479
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 482

A dramatic countdown of the final months of World War II in Europe, The Last 100 Days brings to life the waning power and the ultimate submission of the Third Reich. To reconstruct the tumultuous hundred days between Yalta and the fall of Berlin, John Toland traveled more than 100,000 miles in twenty-one countries and interviewed more than six hundred people - from Hitler's personal chauffeur to Generals von Manteuffel, Wenck, and Heinrici.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • More the sum of the parts

  • By Mike From Mesa on 08-27-15

Overall Good 4/5

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-16-16

I found most of the material was meetings between the higher ranking military leaders and politicians, most of which Ive heard before. This is a general retelling of the events and decisions and made by the leaders of the warring nations and their reactions and not a collection of personal experiences. If youre new to the subject i would recommend however if you are a seasoned reader of World War Two History you might want to pass this up for something more detailed. The narration changed tones drastically at times during the reading, even if it was for only one sentence. Not a hindrance but more of an annoyance