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Publisher's Summary

From the internationally best-selling author of Fatherland and the Cicero Trilogy - a new spy thriller about treason and conscience, loyalty and betrayal, set against the backdrop of the fateful Munich Conference of September 1938.  

Hugh Legat is a rising star of the British diplomatic service, serving at 10 Downing Street as a private secretary to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Paul von Hartmann is on the staff of the German Foreign Office - and secretly a member of the anti-Hitler resistance. The two men were friends at Oxford in the 1920s but have not been in contact since. Now, when Hugh flies with Chamberlain from London to Munich, and Hartmann travels on Hitler's train overnight from Berlin, their paths are set on a disastrous collision course. And once again, Robert Harris gives us actual events of historical importance - here are Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini, Daladier - at the heart of an electrifying, pause-resisting novel.

©2018 Robert Harris (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Vocally dexterous narrator David Rintoul guides listeners through this spy thriller by the bestselling author of Fatherland with a sure hand.... There are a plethora of fascinating characters for Rintoul to portray, and he depicts each one with individuality and personality." (AudioFile)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 01-29-18

Gripping

I have always enjoyed books by Robert Harris. I particularly enjoyed reading his Imperium Trilogy about Cicero. Harris is a master of historical novels.

Munich is the German City where British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Adolf Hitler in September 1938 in a desperate attempt to preserve peace in Europe. This meeting is the focal point of this book. The meeting was to discuss Hitler’s demands that the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia be handed over to Germany. Harris used two fictional characters: one English, Hugh Leget; one German, Paul Von Hartmann. The two had been friends while attending Oxford and now serve as aides to the real-life senior diplomats.

The book is well written and researched. Harris is a master at weaving fictional characters into a historical situation so the reader is able to develop a personal understanding of the event. The characters are interesting and the plot is clever. Harris takes his time developing the story, but then it takes off at a rapid pace. I was sad when the story ended. I wanted it to continue. I guess I got carried away with the storyline. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and highly recommend it.

The book is just over nine and a half hours. David Rintout does a good job narrating the book. Rintout is a Scottish stage and television actor and audiobook narrator.


25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Julie
  • Apple Valley, MN, United States
  • 01-26-18

Gripping, fascinating, couldn't put it down.

Would you listen to Munich again? Why?

I have listened to it twice. I will listen again. So much happens in the story, that I hear thingsI missed the first time through. One of my favorite reads of the last 5 years.The narration was excellent, kept me engaged with the story.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The events that occurred, the perspective of the characters and the insight.

Which character – as performed by David Rintoul – was your favorite?

Hugh Legat was my favorite and next was Joan, even though she had a small role in the story, she came though as interesting and spunky. All of the characters were two dimensional, so they were interesting. I believe that this is a true story.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

History, as if you were there.

Any additional comments?

Try the book, you will love it too.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Great read, but tough.

I used the audible book in conjunction with a book. The information is presented in a compelling fashion, and everything counts. Pay attention to the characters early. There are lots of them., and early familiarity helps as the book progresses.

The blend of history and fiction come together seamlessly, but you need to pay attention. Harris presents a wonderful interpretation of what could have happened in Munich when Chamberlain met Hitler. Interesting take, with a takeaway lesson about making decisions about people when you don’t have all the information. Unlike so many books, Munich depends on plot development rather than violence, sex, and ridiculous twists. Very believable. Be prepared to reread it to get the most from it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating history...decent novel

Nice prelude to the recent portrait of Churchill in The Darkest Hour—how the policy of appeasement made sense to some historical actors at the time. Harris is so talented at weaving a well researched historical narrative with fictional elements. The fiction—in terms of character development and personal plot lines—is however weaker than his efforts in the Cicero trilogy, Ghost Writer and Fatherland. If undecided, I would try those first. But this one still worth the credit.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Excellent learning experience

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I learned so much about the events of 1938 and really enjoy the skills of Robert Harris. For me, the gold standard in audiobooks is the Harris/Rintoul combination "An Officer and a Spy." Nonetheless, Munich: a Novel is great read.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Superb, brilliant! Another Robert Harris Winner.

This has never been a period of history that I have a deep interest in. It was a horrendous time and it makes me so uptight. It is never a good thing to want to ‘go postal’ when you are supposed to be enjoying a good book wouldn’t you agree? I read 'Munich' because I am a fan of Robert Harris. He never fails to please the amateur historian that is renting space in this avid reader.

Munich grabbed me from the first paragraph. It has it all with historical accuracy added to make it even more enjoyable. There is intrigue. It touches on a love story from years past. There is the obligatory adultery and then we have the major political players who are so well written that you feel that that you are there, sitting quietly in the corner of The Berghof.

There were times when I thought that I could smell cigarettes, you know, when they have been hastily extinguished underfoot. Robert Harris breaths life into his characters and to me they feel alive. I kept imagining Chamberlain pacing up and down talking to himself trying to figure out the Munich Agreement and having to look happy and stoic when The British Empire are all rejoicing because they 'think' that there will be 'Peace for our time' when in fact he knew, deep down, that it was in fact a facade. Hitler was merely playing mind games and he fully intended to invade Czechoslovakia.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and my pleasure was further enhanced by a superb performance by David Rintoul. He is definitely on my top 5 narrators list. So easy to listen to. A true pleasure.

FIVE STARS ALL THE WAY

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic

This book is so well written interesting that it’s hard to do it justice in a few words. A must read for anyone interested in the valuable lessons of history dangers of complacency and appeasement. Putting these elements in accurate portrayal of historical events highlights the dangers of political realities despite “good intentions“!

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Revisionist view of Neville Chamberlain

This is the fourth Robert Harris novel that I have read. The first was Fatherland, a wonderful book that was part science fiction, part historical novel, part mystery and part thriller, and I decided that this was a very good author and I would read more of his books. The second book was Imperium and that was good enough that I felt vindicated in my initial view, but after that The Ghost Writer made me question my initial views and now Munich, a book I anxiously waited for, has made me wonder exactly what Mr Harris is trying to say here.

Neville Chamberlain was the last of the three British Prime Ministers that led Great Britain and the world to the tragedy that was World War II, and perhaps was not the most culpable of the three, but he is portrayed in this book as a realist who understands that Great Britain is not prepared to fight a war and thus does what he can to delay the war until Great Britain has re-armed. The problem with this view is history itself since Chamberlain was Chancellor of the Exchequer when Baldwin was Prime Minister and it was Chamberlain who prevented the UK from spending the necessary money on defense and thus being ready for any war. Thus to present him as a realist who is trying to deal with a situation he found himself in ignores the fact that he was largely responsible for those decisions and continually ignored warnings from true realists like Churchill and Eden that Hitler was arming and getting ready for war.

The writing itself is, as usual, very good and Mr Harris has woven history into a story concerning two friends, one British and one German, who find themselves trying to find a way to prevent war when dealing with a government bent on conquest, but the story of these two friends lacks the depth of the story in Fatherland and the two people involved never really feel like real characters. There are some surprises along the way, but they too do not feel real and this book comes across as a poor mirror of Mr Harris' previous books.

The best I can say about this book is that the narration is very good and lends suspense to the tale, but the tale itself would be better if it did not contradict history so much. World War II cost the lives of 50 million people and those responsible should not be white-washed.

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Beautifully written ....but....

The author gives us a greater understanding of Chamberlin's appeasement of Hitler before Churchill took the reigns of power. He draws memorable characters, captures a moment of irrational hope, and yet, as in the end little of significance was realized in Munich, the plot can only reflect this particularly uncompelling moment in history.

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Well written and performed.

As expected this was well written by Robert Harris. Well researched, taunt story, well performed.