• No Man’s Land

  • 1918, the Last Year of the Great War
  • By: John Toland
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 25 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (343 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

From freezing infantrymen huddled in bloodied trenches on the front lines to intricate political maneuvering and tense strategy sessions in European capitals, noted historian John Toland tells of the unforgettable final year of the First World War.

As 1918 opened, the Allies and Central Powers remained locked in a desperate, bloody stalemate, despite the deaths of millions of soldiers over the previous three and a half years. The arrival of the Americans "over there" by the middle of the year turned the tide of war, resulting in an Allied victory in November.

In this audiobook, participants on both sides, from enlisted men to generals and prime ministers to monarchs, vividly recount the battles, sensational events, and behind-the-scenes strategies that shaped the climactic, terrifying year. It's all here - the horrific futility of going over the top into a hail of bullets in no man's land; the enigmatic death of the legendary German ace, the Red Baron; Operation Michael, a punishing German attack in the spring; the Americans' long-awaited arrival in June; the murder of Russian Czar Nicholas II and his family, the growing fear of a communist menace in the east; and the armistice on November 11.

The different points of view of Germans, Americans, British, French, and Russians add depth, complexity, and understanding to the tragedies and triumphs of the War to End All Wars.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about No Man’s Land

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

Oddly biased, but worthy account of the period

There are surprisingly few books available about the last year of WWI, and of those Toland's is often touted as the best. While it's certainly a valuable account of that critical year, purely for the fact that it exists, it's far from perfect.

Toland is not the most objective writer, and is biased in some strange ways. Chief among those is the extremely high regard he has for Douglas Haig, who is portrayed throughout as some sort of misunderstood genius whose true potential is held back only by the meddlesome politicians back in London.

I can think of few British figures as universally maligned as Haig, and you'd probably have to travel back to the days of King John to find person as widely reviled. Yet Toland is constantly going out of his way to portray Haig as eternally patient, infinitely wise and tactically brilliant.

Since no mention is made of Haig's disastrous conduct in the war preceding 1918, readers unfamiliar with the subject will no doubt take Toland's at his word. They will walk away from the book thinking Haig a hero, Lloyd George an idiot and Marshall Petain a coward. This would be most unfortunate, since all of those things are untrue.

All of that being said, there are plenty of fascinating anecdotes here about the war's final year, and the broad strokes of the events as they unfolded are for the most part accurate.

Certainly worth a read, but only with a healthy dose of skepticism regarding his portrayal of the main players.

24 people found this helpful

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Great account of World War I.

This book takes you through each battle on each front. And the way it's put together makes it story like. It isn't like listening to a history book, this story dives into each battle of the last year and the narratives behind each political move. Great read!

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very in depth

Intensely written the author tells the story as if you were there fighting along side of the solders

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent narrator for WWI book

The narrator was a good choice for this book, with lots of British and French names and words to pronounce. He did a fantastic job; made me feel that I was right there in Europe during the Great War.

7 people found this helpful

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Outstanding. Drawing from many sources.

In the 100th anniversary of WWI, a great work concerning the strange circumstances that ended the war and opened the gates for the rise of Hitler, the decorated war hero of the Great War.

7 people found this helpful

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Comprehensive survey of final year of WWI

This book works every country - especially Russia - with vignettes at every level of society. I learned much regarding Russia’s vacillating fortunes and the intimacy enjoyed of Lenin by American and English representatives.
Grover Gardener always compelling.

6 people found this helpful

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Evan's Review

I like the book. All I can say is the French and British didn't give the US much credit for victory. All I can say was the French took credit the British took credit but baseity the war was a stalemate in 1918 so the US came to rescue.

2 people found this helpful

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A Momentous Detailing of A Most Complicated War

World War I was a most complicated world war struggle. As always, John Toland lays out the details in an orderly fashion, with lots of noted behind the scenes tidbits that give the story great flavor. WWI was utter chaos, from the start to finish. The lack of coordination and horror is hard to grasp, but Toland paints the picture with eloquence. Grover Gardner needs no introduction, as he is one of our greatest living narrators. His narration of complex history is utterly incredible. It doesn't get any better than this.

1 person found this helpful

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Good overall history of the last year

This was a good overall history, however a lot of prior knowledge of the war is needed in order to not be misled. It has the standard biases; it is typically anti German, following the standard allied official view of the war which is typical of the era this was first written. Germany was far from perfect, but there are more objective histories out there that paint a fairer picture. The author also views Douglas Haig in a more favorable light than most. Although Haig has most likely been misunderstood due to the rivalry with DLG, this work is certainly biased for Haig which would give a reader with no prior knowledge a potentially false image. This is, however, to be expected (all authors have their own biases).There are more objective histories of the war out there, but this is a good addittion nonetheless for someone who aöready has prior knowöedge of the war on a military, political, and social level. Also Grover Gardner always does a great job narrating.

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Tries to do too much

Pretty good read but mixes the story of the politicians and the generals with tales of common soldiers at the front and doesn't really mesh them together very well in my opinion. Also not sure why Toland felt compelled to spend so much time on Russia which was out of the war by March. The allied intervention efforts there were weak and not very interesting. All in all the book has a disjointed feel to it.

Grover Gardner is excellent as usual.

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  • rezonville
  • 01-30-21

A great listen

Fascinating subject matter brought to life by a superb narrator. Tempo, diction and sentence rhythm all excellent, and, dare I say it, redolent of an era in which our common language had not yet been infested by the ghastly affectations which are a veritable scourge of modern life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andy hagland
  • 10-27-17

No mans land

Great insight to the last year of the Great War,very well worth a listen, informative and very interesting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-22-20

Superb

A masterly narrative of last fateful year of the 1914-18 cataclysm. Clear, memorable, dramatic yet scholarly and dispassionate. A fascinating and enlightening read that never lags.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-27-20

Excellent narrative

Since reading Mr Toland's book on the Battle of the Bulge, I have enjoyed two books written by him. This work was no exception and once again it has been a source of information that I had not been aware of. His style of writing is very easy to listen to as an audio book and once again I recommend it to history lovers.

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  • Ysera
  • 07-01-19

Just too much!

If you want a very detailed account of... well... everything going on on the Western front in 1918, then this is for you. However, I do not care that there were crystal chandeliers in the room where generals met in Amiens and I do not want to know what sort of lunch a general had. For me, this is a waste of time and I'll return this book if I still can.