• Blood and Iron

  • The Rise and Fall of the German Empire; 1871-1918
  • By: Katja Hoyer
  • Narrated by: Natasha Soudek
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (100 ratings)

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Blood and Iron  By  cover art

Blood and Iron

By: Katja Hoyer
Narrated by: Natasha Soudek
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Publisher's Summary

This vivid 50-year history of Germany from 1871-1918 - which inspired events that forever changed the European continent - is the story of the Second Reich from its violent beginnings and rise to power to its calamitous defeat in the First World War.

Before 1871, Germany was not yet a nation but simply an idea.

Its founder, Otto von Bismarck, had a formidable task at hand. How would he bring 39 individual states under the yoke of a single Kaiser? How would he convince proud Prussians, Bavarians, and Rhinelanders to become Germans? Once united, could the young European nation wield enough power to rival the empires of Britain and France - all without destroying itself in the process?

In this unique study of five decades that changed the course of modern history, Katja Hoyer tells the story of German Empire’s beginning to its defeat in World War I.

This often startling narrative is a dramatic tale of national self-discovery, social upheaval, and realpolitik that ended, as it started, in blood and iron.

©2021 Katja Hoyer (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Blood and Iron

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Misleading title/subtitle

if you thought you were going to enjoy a historical piece about the rise of the German empire, brace yourself, its a mere hand wave of common knowledge history (ex. Otto Vonn Bismarck was a prolific statesman...wow who knew?) before spending most of the work vomiting up praise for socialism and Karl Marx, then blaming everything bad that came out of the various Reichs on capitalism.

As if marxism and German national socialism were opposite ends of the spectrum.

Do not waste your time on this drivel, instead listen to Dan Carlin's 'Hardcore History' podcast episodes on the First World War for a better depiction of the rise of German power through 1918.

14 people found this helpful

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I really wanted to like this book.

This book provides a workmanlike account of the German Empire, suitable for a general understanding but without any great depth. Major events, such as the delicate balance of power maintained by Bismarck after the Franco-Prussian war, and the impact of the dreadnought race on German foreign policy, are given the most perfunctory treatment. On the other hand, those interested in more of a social history of Germany during this period will find much to like.

The narration detracted significantly from the quality of this book. The most aggravating lapse was the narrators' pronunciation of Bis-MARK as Bis-MOCK for most of the book; i.e., hundreds of times, correcting only in the last third or so after Bismarck's departure from the scene. This is so basic a pronunciation error as to suggest an abject lack of attention to detail by the production team. The (female) narrator also has a very wispy style that simply does not work for a book of this weighty subject matter.

4 people found this helpful

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Essential reading for WWI buffs

Crucial background for the Great War and its causes. If you want to understand the Germany that went to war in 1914, you need to read this book.

3 people found this helpful

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Like spark notes but worse

There is not a coherent plot, events are not explained, and there is no attempt at a wholistic understanding. This is measly collection of events and “quotes” mostly relying on repeating “BLOOD and IRON” each and every chapter.

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

I’ve listened to other books on the subject, but none as expertly researched and written as Hoyer’s. I’ve been looking for a book exactly like this for a while. One that described the rise and fall of Imperial German, but that got down to business with the most important details and information, but with a delivery that shows the challenges and frailty of the young nation. This book is written from a “realistic” point of view, not with rose tinted glass like some other works that cover the period.

2 people found this helpful

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Annoyingly pretentious narrator

Book is a very general overview of the formation of the German nation up to 1918. The American-accented narrator insists on an annoyingly pretentious and affected pronunciation of foreign words and names. She can't even leave the word "armistice" alone. Apparently we are supposed to be impressed. I'm just annoyed.

2 people found this helpful

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Page turner. Gorgeous narration. Incredible voice.

It’s rare that a narrator’s voice will hold me captive in non-fiction. It’s also rare that a historical non-fiction can be written as a page turner. For me, this audiobook achieved both. I’ve always wanted to learn about this period in German history, and this audiobook kept me spellbound. I found the narrator’s voice incredibly satisfying to listen to. Her warmth, power, empathy, and charisma made it the opposite of the typically drone monosyllabic ness typical in these kinds of books. And it was refreshing that she was obviously a native German speaker, despite having no German accent when speaking English. I hate it when non-native speakers narrate German, and the opposite was true here. This woman’s German is gorgeous, and I loved this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Great overview of the period

Really enjoyed this broad overview of the empire’s history. Some commenters are criticizing the pronunciation in the performance but they probably aren’t accustomed to this more accurate pronunciation of German names and places.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent listen!

This is an excellent introduction to the Deutsches Kaiserreich - clear, compelling, and interesting. The author draws on the best scholars to provide a wonderful entry for those interested in this period. This narrator is also by far one of the finest in the game right now. Her German pronunciation is exceptional (with the very partial exception of “Kyffhäuser” - the y is tricky!) unlike far too many narrators on audible. Her French pronunciation is bizarre, but there are mercifully few French names. Great great listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Well written and informative

A well written and narrated story of the rise and fall of the German Empire, I learned a lot about that period of history.

1 person found this helpful