Emil Ludwig, in a translation by Eden and Cedar Paul, delivers an illuminating portrait of the Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck, who unified Germany through a series of wars. What separates Ludwig's work from mere historical biography, however, is his attempt to demystify Bismarck's mythology and reputation as a ruthless leader by connecting his private life to his public actions. Ken Maxon's inquisitive, dulcet approach keeps the listener fascinated as Ludwig describes Bismarck's early life and rise to power. Bismarck: The Story of a Fighter is a rich analysis that remarkably humanizes Herr Blood and Iron.
Otto von Bismarck was more than a politician and a leader: He was the single driving force that turned the disparate states of Germany into one cohesive empire. He then went on to lead Germany and the rest of Europe into an age of political peace that lasted from 1871 until the outbreak of World War I. Under his influence, Germany thrived. Bismarck’s use of statesmanship to fight for the interests of his country was legendary. As one of the most influential and powerful individuals in his country’s history, Bismarck became a symbol of leadership and pride for German nationalists. The historical conception of him was as the "Iron Chancellor", an unbending and untouchable figure.
In his landmark biography of the man of "blood and iron", Emil Ludwig rejects the pedestal that history has placed Bismarck upon, and instead seeks a historical and psychological understanding of the chancellor "as he really was, and not as distorted by worship." Bismarck was not merely a hard and calculating statesman, but a man ruled by pride, courage, and hatred. To fully comprehend the actions this enigmatic and important character, we must first understand his feelings, his motivations, and his private life.
Beginning with Bismarck’s childhood and delving more fully into his early life than any other work, Ludwig’s landmark volume is invaluable in understanding the forces behind one of the most influential men in modern history.
I was so exited to finally find a historic book on Bismarck that I downloaded it without listening to the sample. Bad mistake! This narration makes listening unbearable. I am sure that the narrator's singsong is much better suited to different topics (thinking of romantic novels), but it makes listening to non-fiction a chore. No doubt the story would have developed quite nicely, but I simply cannot take this any longer than the preface. Must always listen to the sample before downloading!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
The author follows no timeline or cause and effect progression of events. The whole book seems like a collection of unrelated sentences about Bismarck impossible to follow.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about Bismarck?
Horrible narration. Audible should probably withdraw this from their catalog.
How could the performance have been better?
Using a barking dog as a narrator would have been better.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disappointment that I wasted a credit.
Any additional comments?
Trust me, do not buy anything from this narrator.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What would have made Bismarck better?
just keep to the important matters
Has Bismarck turned you off from other books in this genre?
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ken Maxon?
nothing wrong with the narrator
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Bismarck?
most of his early life
Any additional comments?
I couldn't stay awake or pay attention some times
2 of 7 people found this review helpful