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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Arthur Herman pens this fascinating look at how two businessmen turned the U.S. into a military powerhouse during World War II. In 1940, FDR asked General Motors CEO William Knudsen to oversee the production of guns, tanks, and planes needed for the war. Meanwhile, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser presided over the building of “Liberty ships” - vessels that came to symbolize America’s great wartime output.

©2012 Arthur Herman (P)2012 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Story

Fascinating

I'm still not sure why I enjoyed this book so much. I was fascinated by it, while at the same time wondered if I were the only person in the world who was. The premise of this book is a review of all the events that helped ready America to enter WWII with the power that would soon end it. In the meantime, so many new inventions, technologies and ideas were put into play that America emerged from the war as the world leader it was for so many years. This part was compelling to me, but so were the people who happened to "be at the right place at the right time" that brought it all to pass. These things could only have taken place in a country where freedom allowed it. It is freedom that fosters forward, productive thinking and doing. Without it, we stifle ourselves. Here is a prayer for the future, that we don't let go of the precious little freedom remaining to us.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Enlightening. Amazing, Great Narration

Would you listen to Freedom's Forge again? Why?

I have been waiting for this book to come out on audio since I saw the author's on TV promoting it.<br/><br/>WWII has always fascinated me and I have always wondered how quickly after the attack on Pearl Harbor the U.S. was able to convert its factories to producing the materials needed for war. The surprising fact I learned from this book was planes, ships, tanks, and guns were already being produced and production was on the upswing.<br/><br/>Yes I will be listening to this book several times. Today we have no clue how primitive our factories were and how long it took to retool machines. It took the foresight of a few political leaders to start early to save Britain by getting the best individuals (regardless of party affiliations) and ask them to serve (for no salary).<br/><br/>This book is great for WWII enthusiasts and business historians. It illustrates what can be done when there is a will to do it.<br/><br/>A fascinating miss link in the annals of WWII literature.<br/><br/>I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Which character – as performed by John McDonough – was your favorite?

It is a straight read for the most part but the narrator is outstanding.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Fantasic Book

It's hack to say, but this should be required reading for every American. It's amazing at least half the country assumes big business is bad no matter what they do, perhaps if they had a better understanding of how business works they wouldn't automatically and irrationally hate it so. I've read a ton of WWII books and this one filled in a huge hole as it helps explain how America actually became the arsenal of democracy. It wasn't magic, it wasn't a switch that was flipped.

I really enjoyed this book and the reading is excellent as well. Take a listen to the preview and if it interests you at all I strongly believe you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic Book.

If you could sum up Freedom's Forge in three words, what would they be?

informative, interesting, Fun

Any additional comments?

This is a very interesting true account of how America dominated the world because of its leaders and the power of free reign industrial development and production.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Outstanding,educational.

Would you listen to Freedom's Forge again? Why?

Yes, and I will.<br/>I want to know history and I want to know it well.

What did you like best about this story?

Capitalism triumphed evil!<br/>The ingenuity of Americans, from engineers to high school drop outs was inspiring.

Which character – as performed by John McDonough – was your favorite?

Knudsen.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Capitalism won the war.<br/>Not the Socialist FDR and not the Government and their central planners.<br/>If the government had tried to build the war machine, we would have been defeated!!!!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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  • Michael
  • Kingwood, TX, United States
  • 12-11-12

Unbiased Truth

If you could sum up Freedom's Forge in three words, what would they be?

truthful honest unbiased

What other book might you compare Freedom's Forge to and why?

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal

Which character – as performed by John McDonough – was your favorite?

Knudsen

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Who really created the Arsenal of Democracy?

Any additional comments?

An outstanding book that tells the unbiased truth about the Arsenal of Democracy, WWII, and the New Dealers.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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How America was made great again in war time

Shining example of business + government + labor can achieve what many though was impossible. Reinforces a view that jobs and technology are key to prosperity.

Narration was spot on for this topic. Well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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If Tom Clancy Wrote a WW2 History Book

If you could sum up Freedom's Forge in three words, what would they be?

Freedom Genius Amazing

What was one of the most memorable moments of Freedom's Forge?

I especially enjoyed the account of the widow of Gen. Longstreet. What a woman to work on the B-29 at the age of 80 and then run for governor later.

What about John McDonough’s performance did you like?

Engaging and very easy to understand. He has a comforting voice.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

How Freedom Trumps Fascism and Communism

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A WW II home front we need to know.

This is bar none the best book about how the USA built and ran the "arsenal of democracy". You learn about two men who shaped this country's identity and one of whom most people on the west coast still know his name but don't really know why.
This book should be part of everyone's experience to help us understand the past so we can grow our future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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What a great book!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, because this period in North American history was so important to the entire world.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Freedom's Forge?

How almost over night the major factories switched to war time production.

What about John McDonough’s performance did you like?

The perfect narrator for this historical period.

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

Yes, but I decided to streach it out.

Any additional comments?

There was so much interesting detail that I felt like I was there..<br/><br/>Actually, I was. In 1943, at age 16, I was a draftsman at Boeing Aircraft in Vancouver. We built the PBY- 5A and the B-29.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful