• Sons of Freedom

  • The Forgotten American Soldiers Who Defeated Germany in World War I
  • By: Geoffrey Wawro
  • Narrated by: Geoffrey Wawro
  • Length: 20 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

The "stirring", definitive history of America's decisive role in winning World War I (Wall Street Journal).

The American contribution to World War I is one of the great stories of the 20th century, and yet it has all but vanished from view. Historians have dismissed the American war effort as largely economic and symbolic. But as Geoffrey Wawro shows in Sons of Freedom, the French and British were on the verge of collapse in 1918, and would have lost the war without the Doughboys. Field Marshal Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force, described the Allied victory as a "miracle" - but it was a distinctly American miracle. 

In Sons of Freedom, prize-winning historian Geoffrey Wawro weaves together in thrilling detail the battles, strategic deliberations, and dreadful human cost of the American war effort. A major revision of the history of World War I, Sons of Freedom resurrects the brave heroes who saved the Allies, defeated Germany, and established the United States as the greatest of the great powers. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Geoffrey Wawro (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Geoffrey Wawro has written distinguished works of military history before, but this might be his most compelling. His tale of the Doughboys is gripping, his argument about their accomplishment is persuasive, and his enthusiasm for the era and the subject is irresistible." (H.W. Brands, author of The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War)

"Geoffrey Wawro adds to his luster as one of America's leading military historians with the meticulously researched Sons of Freedom. He upends the conventional understanding of how World War I ended, showing that the military prowess of the American Expeditionary Forces was of critical importance in the defeat of Wilhelmine Germany even if the U.S. suffered far less than the other combatants. The Doughboys finally get their long overdue credit in this important work of revisionist history. Anyone who wants to understand what really happened in World War I must read this book." (Max Boot, author of The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam)

"Sons of Freedom provides a wonderful description - warts and all - of the army that the United States sent to fight in France in 1918. Wawro's depiction of the battles is truly horrifying, and his analysis of the strategy and politics on both sides wonderfully clear. It is the best book yet about the Doughboys, and one of the most important I have read about the First World War." (Sir Michael Howard, regius professor of modern history (emeritus), University of Oxford)

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History can repete

As much as we think “we” are better that the people that came before us we realize we are still the same. We are destined to repete history even if we know what happened. Enough of the philosophy, this was an eye opening book about a war the nobody who fought is still alive. Issues of the time and the disagreements about what to do! A President who’s ideals did not follow with the nations. How one Frenchman’s speech changed many minds. The pressure on General Pershing to build, keep together an army of untrained men. WOW I never knew and I truly hope I (or my sons) will never see this ever happen again.

Look at the maps before you start to listen. It will make more sense. I looked at additional WW1 maps with more detail to get a better perspective.

3 people found this helpful

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Don't let authors narrate.

The author reads his text and he isn't very good at narration. The sentences all sound like sine waves with false emphasis and distracting chuckles at third points. It's so distracting that it hurts the coherence of the book. The text is highly detailed but random. Cant follow from one regiment to another, or one village to another in a continuous story line. Villages and actions appear and disappear unlinked to an overall context. Military units are carefully named, with little elucidation. The author has done his homework but the profusion of disjointed factoids left me bewildered about 1918, the key year of WW1. He might have dealt with each major allied force by chapter through 1918 since each was assigned a section of the western front. I had high hopes for this book since it was well received in the NYT Book Review, but it's likely the Times did not review the audible version. Too bad. May be better in the hard copy with maps.

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Great content tedious performance

Loved the story and content. Had to listen at 1.3x in however in order to barely tolerate the unnatural emphasis and contrived staccato reading of the second half of almost every last sentence.

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Gives the Yanks Their Due

Geoffrey Wawro has written a stirring account about the American exprience in World War I, one that is virtually ignored. Many forget Americans bravely enered the war, and helped ensured an Allied victory. What's refreshing here is the proud patriotism. Where as many authors go into woke lectures about the racial disparities that occured during this time, Wawro restrains. There are and always will be injustices. And this is 100 plus years in the past, so a woke lecture is absolutely unncessary. That's what ruins current history. It has to apologize for the past. So thank you Wawro for sticking to the facts and leaving the lectures alone .

The Yanks suffered much, but they greatly assisted the exhausted French and British troops, and also bottle necked the Germans. The Germans were betting on an entry into Paris, but soon realized that wasn't going to happen with the addition of American forces. Though the American tenure was short, it was more than effective. And after starting from nothing by way of military preparadnes, the Yanks proved their worth in gold. These men willingly sacrificed their lives for freedom, something that is truly lost in our present day. It's a wonderful thing to feel the nostalgia and relish the once unstoppable American patriotism.

Geoffrey Wawro is one of the few authors who does his own narration, and does it well. That is not an easy thing, especially for a history work. Actors can do it, but that's their job. So hats off to him for his endevor. Well done all the way around. And any reader is prouder to be an American after reading such a fine work .

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  • Jan Wammen
  • 09-12-20

US participation decided the First World War

A fine analysis which include both politics, economics and the important contribution of the single soldier.