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Publisher's Summary

‘Russian success has been somewhat aided by the strategy of Herr Hitler, of Corporal Hitler… Even military idiots find it difficult not to see some faults in his actions.’
–Winston Churchill (2 August 1944, in the wake of the complete destruction of the German Army Group Centre in Belorussia)

Here is one of the best-selling history titles of 2009. Examining the Second World War on every front, Andrew Roberts asks whether, with a different decision-making process and a different strategy, Hitler’s Axis might even have won.

Were those German generals who blamed everything on Hitler after the war correct, or were they merely scapegoating their former Führer once he was safely beyond defending himself? In researching this uniquely vivid history of the Second World War, Roberts has walked many of the key battlefield and wartime sites of Russia, France, Italy, Germany, and the Far East.

The book is full of illuminating sidelights on the principle actors that bring their characters and the ways in which they reached decisions into fresh focus.

Andrew Roberts’s Masters and Commanders was one of the most acclaimed, best-selling history books of 2008. His previous books include Salisbury: Victorian Titan (1999), which won the Wolfson History Prize and the James Stern Silver Pen Award for Non-Fiction, and Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership (2003), which coincided with a four-part BBC2 history series. He is one of Britain's most prominent journalists and broadcasters.

©2009 Andrew Roberts (P)2010 Audible

Critic Reviews

"His mastery of the huge variety of subjects is truly impressive and his ability to marshal these subjects into a single compelling narrative stunning." (Keith Lowe, Daily Telegraph)
"He presents stylish penmanship, gritty research and lucid reasoning, coupled with poignant and haunting detours into private lives ruined and shortened." (The Economist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • John
  • Pickerington, OH, United States
  • 06-28-10

Things I had never known!

I am a 67 yr old history buff. I have read many WWII histories, but none as complete as the Storm of War. I especially enjoyed the indepth coverage of "the Easten Front". No one has ever covered it better. Plus, the reader does a fantastic job. He is able to hold your interest through out. Very well done & 5 Stars is my honest vote. War history buffs should not miss this one. John

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • Hillsdale, Australia
  • 08-01-10

Fantastically Detailed, Spectacularly Narrated

This is the most complete history of the second World War I have read. The author has gone to commendable lengths to condense the immense histories of this engagement into one volume and to present some wonderful assessments of how the outcome of the war might have been different had different personalities and decisions been made at critical times. The narration is excellent, one of the best I have encountered, and his accents gave real character and presence to the quotations littered throughout the book. This is highly recommended for any who possess an interest in military, or 20th century history.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

An absolute pleasure!!

Im not basing my 5 star review on content but rather on narration. This is a very well written run-through of WWII touching on all the important points and offering well thought out opinions. What makes it a stand-out is the narration of Christian Rodska. With brilliant pacing, amusing accents and command of the difficult European, Japanese and Russian names, he makes this 28 hour fact-fest a pleasure to listen to.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin
  • Cork, Ireland
  • 10-26-10

Strange tone

I should start by saying that I had only a limited knowledge of the history of the second world war. In that respect, this book serves its purpose in that it gives a pretty straight-forward chronological account of the entire war. It is a huge subject and, even with the long running time, it is no mean task to do justice to the material. I thought the narrator did a good job although let down a bit by being considerably better at some accents than others.
What I did find increasingly disconcerting about the book was its tone. There seemed to be a little bit too much relish taken in the details and the almost jokey approach taken at times jarred for me. I also found his analysis of Hitler a little strange. It felt like he found him far more worthy of censure for his poor military strategic capabilities than say little details like his organization of the genocide of the jews and other "untermenschen". I am sure this is not the case but the emphasis seemed wrongly placed. In general, once the narrative strayed beyond reasonably cold and hard facts, I was not always convinced by it. For example, if an opinion was given on a debatable area, this was usually done by simply being emphatic, e.g. "of course this is nonsense", without actually giving any support for this opinion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott
  • Attleboro, MA, USA
  • 08-05-17


Tremendous book, and amazing performance. I learned so much about the eastern front of WWII that I hadn't known, and about campaigns in Asia. A thoroughly accessible, comprehensive history of World War II. Cannot recommend highly enough.

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Comprehensively informative & convincingly argued

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

I have already recommended this audiobook to several friends. I have done so because it is chock full of relevant information and analysis about one of the most formative events in contemporary history, and because it is narrated wonderfully.

What did you like best about this story?

Throughout the book this central argument bubbles beneath all of the stories and analysis: that nazi ideology and the inability of the German high command to override it was the deciding overall factor in the outcome of the war. While the narrative still gives plenty of room to descriptions of every single front in the war as well as many of the most famous people involved, it never looses sight of the overarching purpose of the book, which is to find documentation for the central argument. Still, you will find plenty of witness accounts not only from the top of the top, but often from people who have bled and suffered and died in this mind-boggingly massive conflict.

What about Christian Rodska’s performance did you like?

At first I had my doubts about Rodska's approach. He takes on an impressive amount of accents when reading the quotations from witnesses in the book, and what put me off was not this, but the characters he adopted when quoting the most famous people involved. His imitation of Churchill is quite good, but his Hitler seemed at first over the top. But as the narrative unfolded, it build the case that Hitler was primarily a domineering man of surprisingly little talent for such a prominent historical figure. As such the choice to voice him as an intense and dirty little man grows from being a charicature to actually illuminate the psyche of the despicable dictator.

All in all the characterisation in the quotations pays off enormously in making the very, very long text come alive with a variety that is probably harder to convey effectively in the written medium (although I have not read the book in print). So if you're having trouble with it initially, stay the course. If nothing else, the Churchill impression is a hoot.

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

Many moments, but let me mention two. An intellectual and an emotional.

First the intellectual moment: re-listening to the book I was startled when around the middle suddenly popped up a chapter on the Holocaust. As all the other chapters are arranged as analysis of the different fronts reviewed chronologically, this was structurally weird, since the chapter spanned the entire war. But then it dawned on me. Coming as it was halfway through, it sat beautifully as a reminder of why the seemingly indestructible nazi war machine collapsed: because of the cruel and inflexible nazi ideology epitomised in the horrors of the concentration camps and their meaningless and ressource demanding slaughter of civilians. Realising this structure was a moment of intellectual clarity that stayed with me, and made the review of the atrocities more bearable.

Then the emotional one. Soldiers marching back from the front in Russia, where the witness describing their march suddenly realises that they have no eyelids, because they have frozen off in the cold. This stark image of the scars of warfare suffered by the common soldier for a cause he has little influence on and reaps no benefit from sacrificing himself for has stayed with me ever since I first heard of it.

Any additional comments?

This is history at its finest - a faithful rendering of events that slowly build up evidence for an interpetration of the meaning of said events in a larger context. I cannot recommend this wonderful audiobook enough.

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  • Charles
  • 08-09-12

Long War

This is a long long book and you had better be ready for it. I am a history nut and enjoyed it as to all the facts but I already knew alot of what was gathered here in the book. I would still recommend it to anyone who has an interest in history and am not sorry I picked it to listen to.

  • Overall

Incisive and clear

An excellent book. Looks at the big picture, yet is full of quotes that help explain the thinking of the main characters.

The author has undertaken an immense review of sources to find the quotes by the main political readers and the many generals on both sides. The context of the main decisions is now understood and somehow makes sense.

The narration by Christian Rodska is simply perfect. There must be a prize he should win.

Highly recommended.

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  • Geoff
  • Napier, New Zealand
  • 04-04-11


I have listened to dozens of books on Audible and this is one of the very best.If you have an interest in WWII you will thoroughly enjoy this book. While the emphasis is on Europe the Pacific War is well covered. Christian Rodska is a perfect reader for this. The battles, the horrors,the personalities and the politics are all comprehensively dealt with. A totally engrossing book that I am sure you will appreciate as much as I did.

  • Overall

Great story!

It's a fantastic story very well told by Andrew Roberts. It's very credible with the references from other historical records. I highly recommend it for avid students of history.

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  • Colin
  • 04-26-10

An Outstanding Piece of Work

How refreshing to find a book, and especially a historical one, that does not deal in terms of Good vs Evil, Right vs Wrong, but instead sets out the known facts about key stages of the war and gathers viewpoints from all parties involved, dirty laundry included. (The ongoing cat-fights between Monty and Patton being an example)

I'm only half-way through this astounding book but am completely enthralled by it. I've read a number of books on WWII but none have such remarkable insight or depth, filled with little snippets of information that, I'm sure, only became available in much later years.

At over 20 hours listening, this is a book you will need to listen to more than once to ensure you've caught all the information it contains. The thing is, you are going to want to.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Ken
  • 07-06-12

Superb - and featuring a 'Cast of Thousands'.

Andrew Roberts has somehow managed to show the whole picture whilst not losing sight of all the little things that made-up this momentous time. I would strongly recommend his book to anyone with even a passing interest in WW2. By drawing on the works of a rich variety of sources and with the benefit of hindsight and obviously substantial and meticulous research, plus the ability to categorise varied elements into a logical format, he presents an entirely new slant on so many aspects of the war. Not long into my listening I bought the hardcopy as a companion volume. However, what really makes this audiobook a true standout is the reading by Christian Rodska, interspersed with the 'voices' of Hitler, Churchill, Patton, Monty, and just about everybody else from the SS Corporal to the British Colonel, the GI, the Diplomat, the Soldier, Sailor and Airman and the ordinary 'man in the street' which bring to this work a cast of thousands. This is what audiobooks are about. I am an avid listener of audiobooks over many years and this is one of the best examples of the 'craft' that I have been pleased to come across. Encore..!

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 05-03-10


A thoroughly engaging book.

The writing style achieves that rare quality in non-fiction of imparting factual information while keeping the listener entertained. A part of this success is down to the reader who does a sterling job, including a decent stab at mimicking the main protagonists without it descending in to out and out parody.

Overall 5/5 stars.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • 01-12-11

Lively and interesting

This is a very good one volume history of WW2. The author strikes a nicely judged mixture of grand strategy and detail, and whilst it focuses far more on the European theatre than the war against Japan, the picuture he presents is pretty well balanced. He writes in a lively and striaghtforward style, and in the audiobook, he is very well served by Christian Rodska's narration - well paced, good variation in tone and he brings the quotes which are spread throughout the book nicely to life - it's a long book, but doesn't seem so. A minor problem is that, although the narrator does his best, some of the statistics which the author uses to support his arguments are difficult to absorb - you have to concentrate!

The final chapter on conclusions indulges in a the kind of what-iffery military historians are somewhat prone to but it is nonetheless quite interesting if a bit muddled in places.

I'm very happy to recommend this book with one caveat which has nothing to do with the book itself. Unless you are familiar with the geography and the history to some extent, you will find yourself wanting to look at a map! I got the book out of the library as well which solved the problem for me - and the maps are very good.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 11-23-10

New perspectives

Although many books have been written about the second world war, this is a recent one written with the insight of new information from Bletchley Park, which guided many of the decisions of the Allies.
It also gives a view of the different theatres of the war and not just the western european events.
I wouldn't say that I am widely read on the subject but there were many battles and outcomes that I now have a new perspective on.
A good overview with enough in depth analysis to keep the armchair historian interested.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • 04-26-11


This is an absolutely supurb book. I've read a great many books on WWII and I think this would be one of the best, if not 'the' best I've read. Not just historical facts rolled out one after another; this book is written in a thoroughly interesting and engaging manner. The narator is also absolutely brilliant.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Rob
  • 01-31-12

Entertaining but deep, a perfect balance

This is the most entertaining account of the second world war I have read or heard. It contains enough information and analysis to interest armchair generals, but is entertainingly written, well structured and presents balanced arguments that will keep those without specialist interest hooked. Christian Rodska's narration is excellent, 'doing all the voices' and keeps the story moving at pace. In its unabridged form it also presents fantasic value, delivering hours of listening pleasure. In conclusion I can't recommend it enough.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen G
  • 11-05-15

Nothing new

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A less pro-allied and a more balanced approach on the what if military tactics.
The book is sold as A New History of WW2. Nothing of the sort just same old historical junk; yes there are commentary of more modern archeological finding and recently released secrets but only as a tag on sentence at the end of an older recycled statements.

Would you ever listen to anything by Andrew Roberts again?

I've read and enjoyed Mr. A Roberts works in the past, so I'd expect further works in the future will once again be welcome and satisfying.

Have you listened to any of Christian Rodska’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not sure, but the Narration was great; clear and well spoken, but more importantly without that ever so annoying over loud in take of breathe at every full stop.

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


4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 07-26-15

OK, but there are more informative books

This book has its moments but personally I preferred William L Shirer's Rise and Fall epic. This book covers both Germany and Japan in WW2 but seems to pick out points of interest without examining causes or setting them in context enough. Well written and well read.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 01-14-18

Monumental and enthralling history of WW2

Recently I’ve listened to several books focussing on different times, places and players in World War Two. The present book scores by being a comprehensive and more or less chronological account of the progress of the war in all the countries involved. The author has done a superb job of gathering huge amounts of material and along with his pacy writing style and an outstanding narrator transformed this sorry period in World history into a gripping story of triumph and tragedy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 06-16-15

Best narration of a non-fiction ever!

On top of the rich historical content with superb analysis, the accents that narrator Chris could apply to the soldiers and leaders of the different nations made this production a 5/5! Well done to all responsible. It helped me gain an even greater appreciation of what was a momentous era in world history. Thank you!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful