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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

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  •  
    Beanman56 11-13-15
    Beanman56 11-13-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Russian Hell"

    This is an amazing book. It really highlights the pounding the Russians and Germans gave each other over the course of the war. There is definitely an American side of things, but the author gives a take on all the participants in the war and makes it clear that Russia took the brunt of the Nazi expansion. Who won WWII in Europe? The Russians - and at a staggering cost.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Yachtmaster 10-14-15
    Yachtmaster 10-14-15

    Yachtmasterkyle

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    "The Single Best Book on WWII?"

    Inferno by Max Hastings is a true masterpiece. It is both the war told from 30,000 feet and the war told from those on the ground. WWII is such a vast subject, perceived in so many ways by so many people that it is not possible to condense the event into a single volume. But, if you had to pick a single book from the thousands, this could be the one.

    I would recommend this book as mandatory reading, not just to those interested in the war, but to everyone. Simply put, this is one book I would not want to have left unread. I suggest that it goes on the top of your list.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Eric Northbrook, IL, United States 06-22-15
    Eric Northbrook, IL, United States 06-22-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Superb!"

    An excellent re-telling of the factors leading up to, during and post WWII. There's a bit more concentration on the European Theatre of operations but even for someone like myself who considers WWII a topic about which I know a great deal this is a fantastic novel. Hastings reveals numerous obscure, yet fascinating facts as well as the stories of battles, facts and circumstances that are very well known in a way that keeps the story captivating and interesting beginning to end. Finally I find the narrator Ralph Cosham to be among my very favorite. I highly recommend this novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laurie 04-04-15
    laurie 04-04-15

    I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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    "Less military macro than human micro"

    I read a lot of WWII books, but this one was unusual. Despite the vastness of the project and the expanse of years, Hastings's book is highly personal. We listen to soldiers' and civilians' intensely moving diary entries, letters to loved ones, and eyewitness accounts. No other book has made the depth of suffering so clear and real to me, person by person by person.

    And yet the book was not sensationalism. It was scholarly and informative. Hastings is clear in his opinions of the role each nation played in the war. Russia made the biggest contribution and, at great sacrifice, won the war for the Allies. The Brits don't come out looking so good. The US emerged, relatively speaking, unscathed.

    I was so impressed with Inferno, I used my next credit for another Hastings book.

    The narrator did a wonderful job.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    brad t. deaton 02-22-15
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    "The enemy's view"

    Well written. Many new facts. If you love history, highly recommend this. Gives overview as well as personal touch to events

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    McCoffee Saratoga, CA, United States 12-13-14
    McCoffee Saratoga, CA, United States 12-13-14

    I'm listening to Proust now. Always on the lookout for a good zombie, horror, or sci-fi book. Like books on writing, history, travel.

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    "Big scope, human, sad, great overview"

    Hastings hits on everything, especially the human costs of the war, not just the numbers of dead but the personal stories. The war is not a series of campaigns, this book reminds us, but a story of mass murder, rape, and starvation. Probably the best all-around history I've read. And Hastings is not reluctant to voice opinions. He's tough on the tyrannies of the time, of which their were many.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Vicki In Crete Chania, Greece 05-24-14
    Vicki In Crete Chania, Greece 05-24-14
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    "Incredible Insights The real history WWII"

    This is an incredible book. I learned more about WWII from this book then from other histories combined. After reading this book one has a better idea of why it was called a world war and a better understanding of the complex relationships between the Ally and Axis powers. Wars are not simple events and they are not attractive, Mr. Hastings respects both facts. The narration is excellent. In all ways a great audible book. I would recommend this book to anyone trying to understand the historical background to events after WWII and to contemporary events.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Brittain Grasonville, MD, United States 01-26-14
    Brittain Grasonville, MD, United States 01-26-14
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    "Facinating"
    What made the experience of listening to Inferno the most enjoyable?

    The author's in depth research and the way he addressed so many topics relating to the war. The war in Asia, Russia, Great Britain, Southeast Asia, Japan, the air phase, weaponry, Naval warfare (on the water, below the surface and naval aviation), the effects of war on the citizens of the countries at war; all of these topics are examined in a way we haven't seen previously


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the way he personalized so many events. His research must have uncovered personal diaries and letters.His quotes of those involved brought the event to life.I also enjoyed his analysis of phases of the war and how today the view of WWII personalities varies from the immediate post war view.


    Any additional comments?

    For those that enjoy lengthy detailed stories as I do, this book will capture you. Max Hastings brings history to light.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Lee Texas 11-03-13
    Lee Texas 11-03-13 Member Since 2016

    Former firefighter and police officer turned history professor. I enjoy a good story be it fiction or non.

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    "A Great Listen"
    Would you listen to Inferno again? Why?

    Absolutely. The pacing of the narrative was very good. Writing a book about World War 2 is a difficult undertaking due to the sheer scope of the project. I think this one did an outstanding job in giving the reader (okay, listener) a good overview of the war.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Inferno?

    The use of frequent quotations by participants in the events described made the book feel more human.


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    This may sound strange, but when I listen to a World War 2 book, I prefer the reader to have an English accent for some reason. Mr. Cosham did a wonderful job with the narration.


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

    By allowing the participants of these events to speak for themselves, the book provoked a range of emotion from laughter to tears.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend this to anyone interested in the Second World War be they a newcomer to the subject or a veteran reader. I have a BA and an MA in History and I teach at a local community college. I've spend a large portion of my life reading and studying World War 2. I would rank this book among some of the best that I have ever come across. Max Hastings is one of the best WW2 historians out there.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    David Kirk Davis Seattle 12-21-12
    David Kirk Davis Seattle 12-21-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent"
    Any additional comments?

    The book is fantastic and the narrator is very articulate. My only complaint is that the narrator reads way too fast.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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