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Inferno Audiobook

Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945

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Publisher's Summary

From one of our finest military historians comes a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences.

World War II involved tens of millions of soldiers and cost sixty million lives—an average of twentyseven thousand a day. For 35 years, Max Hastings has researched and written about different aspects of the war. Now, for the first time, he gives us a magnificent, singlevolume history of the entire war.

Through his strikingly detailed stories of everyday people—of soldiers, sailors, and airmen; British housewives and Indian peasants; SS killers and the citizens of Leningrad, some of whom resorted to cannibalism during the two year siege; Japanese suicide pilots and American carrier crews—Hastings provides a singularly intimate portrait of the world at war. He simultaneously traces the major developments—Hitler’s refusal to retreat from the Soviet Union until it was too late, Stalin’s ruthlessness in using his greater population to wear down the German army, Churchill’s leadership in the dark days of 1940 and 1941, Roosevelt’s steady hand before and after the United States entered the war—and puts them in real human context.

Hastings also illuminates some of the darker and less explored regions under the war’s penumbra, including the conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland, during which the Finns fiercely and surprisingly resisted Stalin’s invading Red Army, and the Bengal famine in 1943 and 1944, when at least one million people died in what turned out to be, in Nehru’s words, “the final epitaph of British rule” in India.

Remarkably informed and wide-ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued. Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the 20th century.

©2011 Max Hastings (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“This is the book [Hastings] was born to write: a work of staggering scope and erudition, narrated with supreme fluency and insight, it is unquestionably the best single-volume history of the war ever written.” (Sunday Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (544 )
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4.4 (472 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rudolph 07-20-15
    Rudolph 07-20-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Editing To The Wind"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend but understand the editing can be annoying at times.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This book provided a different perspective of the war but jumped around with what appeared to be random order at times.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was clear and concise but at times apparently the narrator wanted to do this all in one take and moved away from the microphone changing tone and volume.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Some of the passages will make you laugh at the ridiculous claims of justifications of action and then cry with anger for the needless deaths of soldiers and citizens to pacify people like MacArthur. And then there is the sadness of the impact on innocent lives, combatants and civilians.


    Any additional comments?

    The time editing of this audio book as it relates to chapter and sectional breaks is all but non existent. Had this been my first audiobook I may not have purchased others. This is by far the worst time editing of an audio book I have experienced. Be prepared to constantly use Bookmarks and not rely on the chapter times and breaks to plan your listening. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best, this is a 2 compared to all other audio books I have experienced being a 9 or 10.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rollin Cholula, Mexico 06-10-15
    Rollin Cholula, Mexico 06-10-15 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding narrative history"
    What made the experience of listening to Inferno the most enjoyable?

    Max Hasting's use of personal communications by soldiers, women, young people an d mid-level military brings forth the horror of war to the individual. This book is not for the squeamish but if you persist, you will be rewarded by an insightful, intelligent and global history of WWII.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Inferno?

    Surely the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk and the Soviet push into Germany. But also enlightening was Hasting's treatment of the Allies push through Italy, shot through with mistakes and wrong turns.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were many, but the most moving were the letters and diaries written by soldiers in the field and women back home.


    Any additional comments?

    Since Hastings is not a professional historian but an extremely accomplished journalist, he is not constricted by the dry rhetoric of academia and has no problem using a wide variety of sources which make this a "living" book. That is not to say it is not serious historical analysis, which it certainly is.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Covington, KY, United States 02-07-14
    Scott Covington, KY, United States 02-07-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Lots I didnt know about WW 2"
    What made the experience of listening to Inferno the most enjoyable?

    Both the material and the reader.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Moved is probably not the right term. I was shocked by the hypocrisy present even in the days of WW 2. Countries seldom do the right thing because its the right thing to do. I was shocked by the atrocities committed by the japanese and the worlds {us} wiling ness to turn a blind eye. The whole war is surely far more complex than we are led to believe today.


    Any additional comments?

    This narrator fit this book as well as is humanly possible. Listen and I think you will agree. Its almost as if Churchill were reading to you.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 11-06-12
    Daniel 11-06-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The best survey of the Second World War"
    Any additional comments?

    The historian shows his true strengths in this work, presenting a balanced and careful survey of the course of the war and its major combattants. His assessments of the achievements and failures of the various allied nations is a real contribution to understanding the conflict.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Cazenovia, NY, United States 08-22-12
    Wayne Cazenovia, NY, United States 08-22-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wrong Narrator"
    What would have made Inferno better?

    Excellent book, but a poor choice for narrator. He has a weird accent, and his phrasing makes it sound like he is reading a cookbook. Too bad, because Max Hastings is a master at telling the great stories of history, and the best WW2 writer I've found.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Ralph Cosham’s performances?

    No - annoying


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointed in the delivery, but fascinated with the story - I'll try buying the book.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 11-21-16
    Andrew 11-21-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Informative and seamless narrative"

    Hard to find a WWII book with decent storytelling and informative insights (usually you just get one or the other). This book will satisfy those who truly want to learn more about WWII and those who enjoy the more personal storyline/approach to history.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doron Bar-Caspi Redmond, WA 04-01-16
    Doron Bar-Caspi Redmond, WA 04-01-16 Member Since 2015

    Doron Bar-Caspi

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding!"
    What made the experience of listening to Inferno the most enjoyable?

    I read allot of WWII books and didn't think I can be surprised from how much more I can still learn...to all my history buff friends, I recommend bumping this book to the top of the list.

    A bit graphical, the book is told "from the ground up", from eye witness accounts and quotes from letters as opposed from Generals points of view in other leading books on the subject. The book does a better job portraying the hell on earth that was WWII than any movie I ever saw.

    The book also does a great job showing the differences in the way different nations wage war, from the Anglo-Americans, thru the German and Russian to the Asia Pacific front.

    I recommend the Audible version. After forgetting my printed copy on a plane, I found that the main benefit of a good narrator (British in this case) is that he pronounces correctly ranks, names, and places in foreign languages better than any attempt by me working of a 25 letter written word...


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. James Albuquerque, NM United States 03-03-16
    S. James Albuquerque, NM United States 03-03-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent"

    I have listened to 675 hours of audiobooks on Worls War II and this is perhaps my favorite book so far. Very well done. Thorough. Personal. Insightful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Beyerlein 01-29-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great listen."

    Wonderful account of the second World War. Highly recommend for anyone seeking to hear about the human side of the struggle.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy James Burnett, O.S.B. 11-16-15 Member Since 2015
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    "World War II"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Inferno to be better than the print version?

    No.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author’s extensive use of fresh anecdote and skillful use of nuance has put new flesh on old bones. An excellent appraisal of WWII.


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    Very clear and well paced.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    The author’s extensive use of fresh anecdote and skillful use of nuance has put new flesh on old bones. An excellent appraisal of WWII.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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