• Engineers of Victory

  • The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War
  • By: Paul Kennedy
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
  • Length: 16 hrs and 8 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (152 ratings)

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Engineers of Victory  By  cover art

Engineers of Victory

By: Paul Kennedy
Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
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Publisher's summary

New York Times Bestseller

Paul Kennedy, award-winning author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers and one of today’s most renowned historians, now provides a new and unique look at how World War II was won.

Engineers of Victory is a fascinating nuts-and-bolts account of the strategic factors that led to Allied victory. Kennedy reveals how the leaders’ grand strategy was carried out by the ordinary soldiers, scientists, engineers, and businessmen responsible for realizing their commanders’ visions of success.

In January 1943, FDR and Churchill convened in Casablanca and established the Allied objectives for the war: To defeat the Nazi blitzkrieg; to control the Atlantic sea lanes and the air over western and central Europe; to take the fight to the European mainland; and to end Japan’s imperialism. Astonishingly, a little over a year later, these ambitious goals had nearly all been accomplished. With riveting, tactical detail, Engineers of Victory reveals how.

Kennedy takes readers behind the scenes, unveiling exactly how thousands of individual Allied planes and fighting ships were choreographed to collectively pull off the invasion of Normandy, and illuminating how crew chiefs perfected the high-flying and inaccessible B-29 Super fortress that would drop the atomic bombs on Japan.

The story of World War II is often told as a grand narrative, as if it were fought by supermen or decided by fate. Here Kennedy uncovers the real heroes of the war, highlighting for the first time the creative strategies, tactics, and organizational decisions that made the lofty Allied objectives into a successful reality. In an even more significant way, Engineers of Victory has another claim to our attention, for it restores “the middle level of war” to its rightful place in history.

©2013 Paul Kennedy (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Engineers of Victory

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Misleading title

This book is not bad, really, but the content is so disappointing relative to what the title promises. I thought we might get some great detailed examples of the engineering challenges of WWII. Instead, we got a general overview of WWII with a glancing, superficial focus on broad engineering issues. The detail is so lacking in this book. Detail in the personalities of engineering is shockingly lacking. Basically for any engineering personality we get a name, a three-sentence biography, a one-paragraph summary of what the person did, and then we go back to the general history of WWII. I'm seriously thinking of returning this book for credit. If the book was advertised as being a general history of WWII with a soft emphasis on engineering, I could almost recommend this book. But as it is, I can't recommend it.

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12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Better Way of Getting Things Done

I am surprised at some of the reviews of this book. The definition of engineering can be "a calculated manipulation or direction" To me, the title does not suggest anything but what the author accomplishes in this book: a description and analysis of the major issues the allies had to overcome to achieve victory. It is not, as one reviewer mentioned, just another rehash of WW II.

I find that most wars and their component battles have been overly described (though I would except Rick Atkinson's from this). I can't even count the number of books describing the Battle of the Bulge and the Bastogne segment of it. I found this text to be a refreshing alternative to the typical descriptions. I suppose that you could just read it as another WW II book, but his description and analysis of the primary problems that the Allies had to find solutions to departs from the typical formula. As he says, the Germans didn't fail to try hard enough to win, but the Allies simply found "a better way of getting things done."

I also find that his frank and honest assessment of the uninspired, sometimes downright backward, thinking of the British and Americans almost brought about failure rather than victory.

I think that this book is an excellent read, and something different for anyone interested in the history of World War II.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Awful performance of a so-so book

What disappointed you about Engineers of Victory?

A lot of time spent telling what was NOT gonna be covered. Little detail.

Has Engineers of Victory turned you off from other books in this genre?

no

What didn’t you like about Stephen Hoye’s performance?

Whining, bored superscillious sounding voice. The worst I've heard.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The idea was great, the execution was poor. Performance made it worse.

Any additional comments?

Quit about 2/3 of the way through, couldn't stand the nasal bored narrator.

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2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Complete fluff

While the idea of the book sounds very promising, the author says nothing of interest. It seems the author has done no work in finding anything worth sharing. This reads like a high school introductory article.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Work by an Excellent Author

I don’t understand the negative reviews. I’ve followed Paul Kennedy since first reading The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers 35 years ago. This book is not up to the level of that masterpiece, and is quite good. Having worked in logistics, civil engineering, project management, and for the DoD, I believe his narrative and analysis are beneficial and insightful. If you want to understand the global strategic challenges the US has faced, and faces today, read this and any other work by Paul Kennedy.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Blessed are the problem solvers

This is a wonderful review of the importance of organization, defined processes and a culture of encouragement in tackling big problems... well researched and organized for consumption, I enjoyed this book and highly recommend... cheers

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Less of a Gadget book, more a top level strategy

The title implies it focuses on individual inventions but the actual narrative is focused on the problems planners of the war faced and what innovations were created to overcome those problems as well as small asides to the gadget when there was an interesting story or something important to the overall theme of middle management working in tandem with overall command

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Lots of facts, but not very stimulating

Overall Engineers Of Victory offered several interesting stories concerning innovations that occurred before and during World War II that were instrumental in the ultimate outcome of the conflict.

But at times it was like listening to a text book. Kennedy’s writing style wasn’t my cup of tea.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Logistics, Not Strategy, Tactics, or Technology

A good overview of five major actions in the Second World War--but from the view of the logistical "problem solvers", not the big name generals. I expected, though, that Kennedy would be writing more on the technical problems, and the stories of how they were solved. Instead, Kennedy mentions the technical and strategic innovations and the problems they solved, without saying much about how those solutions were developed, or the technical details of how they worked. I will say that I feel better equipped to learn more about the War.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

How WW2 was really won, and lost

A fascinating insight into the backroom boys, and sometimes girls, who turned the tide of the war and brought victory by intelligent and relentless application of overwhelming force, and the leaders who empowered and unleashed it. Fortunately the opposing sides were found lacking in several crucial qualities or the outcome may have been very different.

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