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Publisher's Summary

What are we willing to die for? Michael Walsh restores the dignity of lost concepts like honor, duty, sacrifice, and patriotism for our unheroic age.

What is heroism? What are its moral components - altruism, love, self-sacrifice? Why was it once celebrated, and now often dismissed as anachronistic? In this dramatic account of last stands in history - famous or otherwise - Walsh explores the stakes that led men at very different times and places to face overwhelming odds and certain death for the sake of family, home and country. 

In Last Stands, Walsh writes about battles in which a small group faced overwhelming odds, and all too often died to the last man - battles like Thermopylae, the Ronceveaux Pass, the Alamo, the siege of Malta, Little Big Horn, Stalingrad, Rorke’s Drift, and the Warsaw Ghetto - explaining why they were fought, what their ultimate outcome was, and their afterlife in history, myth, and culture.

©2020 Michael Walsh (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about Last Stands

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Stick to writing...please!

A somewhat disjointed and frankly boring book about some really neat historical events. In the hands of another narrator, other than the author (with a voice that does not put one to sleep) it just might be a fair listen. As it is, please do not waste your credits, or money

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent historical facts

Not politically skewed. Unemotional and unbiased. Written in an interesting and engaging way it will hold your interest. Very well done. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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Detailed History Here for The Taking...

I am a hard grader so that is why there are no 5s in the ratings. That said I think that Mr. Walsh has done a masterful job in the retelling of battles long forgotten and more recent ones that soon will be given the educational values of most younger people these days. The introduction is very important. I found that for me at least some of the earliest and mid-history battles were a little tedious for me to devour, but things quickly picked up. The best thing about every battle were the little known details that surrounded each fight and the reasons they occurred and the outcomes they produced. I would highly recommend this book to any serious student of military history.

2 people found this helpful

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Time does not change our nature

With each Last Stand historic circumstance is described in detail for the reader so much so this book gives the reader an expansive view of history and not simply a blow by blow description of a particular battle. Mr Walsh pulls the common threads and places them in perspective. When all appears to be lost do you stand and fight or turn and run? The vast majority stand with their comrades to make their enemy pay as dearly as possible.

I highly recommend this book to anybody who studies human behavior and our basic nature over time.

2 people found this helpful

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Great history book with contemporary point of view

Very insightful and well-researched. I especially enjoyed the epilogue with the author's personal perspective on his subject.

2 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

Like all good history books, this one enticed me to delve deeper into subject matters discussed in the book. In all chapters, a very thorough introduction to the geopolitical circumstances of the time really set the stage for the battles. I often found myself pausing the audiobook while I read further into peripheral battles or events that played significant roles in the key battles discussed. Awesome book!!

2 people found this helpful

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Antiquated World View

Some of the analysis of historical events was interesting. However, I thought the author was confused about what book he wanted to write. There was historical analysis of events that were followed by rather racist and misogynistic ramblings that are straight out of the 1950s. These ramblings didn’t really connect to the subject matter. It was really weird. Treating other people who differ from you is what reasonable adults do. The author thinks that this is a chore or a “feminine trait” as he explains it. I finish every book I start, but this one was a struggle because the bigoted language is jarring at points. I wouldn’t recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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The stale misogynists last stand

As an avid historian I foolishly purchased this thinking it seemed interesting. I was hugely unprepared for the very thinly veiled right wing leaning, complete with wildly racist and sexist rhetoric (the author at one stage says every woman he met in the dying Soviet Union was a trollope).

There are several highly misogynistic moments in the open chapters alone. I am not shocked to find out that the author is a contributor to the utterly reprehensible epoch times.

Avoid at all costs.
(unless of course you enjoy racism, sexism etc)

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting but title implies more

Interesting but some examples of last stands not the best that could have been chosen.

Alot on USMC. Author is son of decorated marine so understood. That said, a mere nod to the fact that 21 Army divisions fought in the Pacific vs 6 Marine would have been appropriate. Army did more amphibious landings and suffered more casualties. Marines only had a higher percentage killed.

1 person found this helpful

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Russia “not a colonizer?”

I believe the millions of citizens of various former Soviet republics might quibble with such a statement


He states since the Russo-Japanese conflict, the Russians had no interest in eastern expansion. Mukden, Manchuria, IndoChina are but a few of the commonly known examples of eastern adventurism that the author misses—-not to mention Afghanistan and Pakistan closer to home.


Good grief!



Kinda of makes you wonder what other basic facts he gets wrong.



Those particular shockers, inaccuracies in WW2 strategy, and a certain homogeneity in the examples he uses raises questions about the entire work



Listen to the introduction and the early classical examples and move on.



The rest is redundant, factually suspect and as such, not worth you time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rocciabruna
  • 04-03-21

why men fight

the topic is interesting and the idea to go through historical samples is good. Premises were promising.
Unfortunately narration is weak.
- Historically very superficial, not even acceptable at my high school level; it would have been better to eliminate it, since the book is not a history text
- psychological analysis is weak
- no real conclusions

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  • Andy
  • 12-16-20

Compelling

An informative and solid book with the curious omission of Dien Bien Phu . Unless l missed it .

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  • Graham Dunne
  • 12-15-20

Brilliant book, really enjoyed this.

A wonderful book which discusses the actions and consequences of the battles against today’s societal norms. I really enjoyed the stories that gave a background to the protagonists. Really great stuff.

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  • Mr. Alan R. Jenkins
  • 12-11-20

Compelling and Historically Portentous

I expected a lot from the title alone and got far more than I could have wished for. Yes a most compelling audiobook, well written and narrated; Last Stands delivers the details of several key historical events involving individual or group efforts to stave off defeat knowing that the outcome will result in death to the defenders. Touching on the Spartan (possibly the most famous last stand beyond Custer's at the Little Big Horn) defence at Thermopylae to Korea in 1950's, this is a revisionist look at histories heroic but necessary human battles against all odds. Each topic is usually conjoined by another similar event at a later time period; but the emphasis is not on purely comparison but the similarity of the futility based upon a situation that despite changes in human development over centuries; the same outcome is inevitable. What is also evident from the book is that it highlights the modern conundrum of how history not only repeats itself; but that the causes, effects, and post event consequences directly or indirectly linked have not changed. Listen and learn about the past to understand the present is perhaps the best way to describe this book.