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The Arms of Krupp  By  cover art

The Arms of Krupp

By: William Manchester
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
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Publisher's Summary

In this narrative of extraordinary richness, depth, and authority, America's preeminent biographer/historian explored the German national character as no other writer has done. The Arms of Krupp brings to life Europe's wealthiest, most powerful family, a 400-year German dynasty that developed the world's most technologically advanced weapons, from cannons to submarines to antiaircraft guns; provided arms to generations of German leaders, including the Kaiser and Hitler; operated private concentration camps during the Nazi era; survived conviction at Nuremberg; and wielded enormous influence on the course of world events. William Manchester's galvanizing account of the rise and fall of the Krupp dynasty is history as it should be written - alive with all its terrifying power.

©1968 William Manchester (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Arms of Krupp

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

BIG CHUNK MISSING

Audible has no mechanism for reporting techniocal issues in its recordings. So I have to use this review in the hope that somebody reads it and does something to fix this one. It is not the first like this that I have found and I am sure it will not be the last. But this one just got really annoying.

The recording truncates chapter 9 of the book. I don't know how much is missing but it is enough to exclude the suicide of one of the central figures after a sex scandal and half of the dynastic implications that it caused. Annoying in itself but doubly so when the rest of the book makes continuing references to that period for which, as a listener, you have been given no information. Its a 47 hour book and about every 20 minutes for the last 37 hours of it an oblique reference is made to a conversation that you have not been allowed to hear.

The book is fine. The narrator is fine. The recording is massively frustrating and substandard. Audible needs to pay a bit more attention to QA or at least let its listeners do the job effectively for them.

93 people found this helpful

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Where did Chapter Nine go?

The audiobook jumps from the middle of chapter nine to chapter 10. Missing is the pivotal scandal that consumed Fritz Krupp, leading to Bertha becoming "Cannon Queen." It's just gone. Fortunately, I've read this book before, but Audible customers are gonna be going, "Huh? Whaaaaat?"

66 people found this helpful

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So what happened to Fritz Krupp?

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

Not leaving out a pivotal part of the book (part of chapter 9)

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Arms of Krupp?

The fact that they skipped one of the pivotal sections of the book.

What does Paul Boehmer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I found him an excellent narrator overall.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Arms of Krupp?

None, unlike the "unabridged" audio book I payed for.

Any additional comments?

I wish they'd fix the issue with the missing section.

30 people found this helpful

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  • J.
  • 07-19-17

Merchants of Death Are People Too

I read this book more than forty years ago and loved it then. I love the audio version more. This is a long long book and many might drown in it's minutia. Manchester, however, is a master at epic story telling. He weaves history, period drama, and technical explanation into a compelling work that holds one's attention. Of course it helps that each generation of Krupp patriarchs had their quirks and closet skeletons. The Krupps were not king makers, but they were the family that armed kings. They allowed good men to make strong states and bad men to commit mass murder.

This is an old book and it is easy to forget that at the time it was published the implication of Germany as a whole with the Holocaust and not just the Nazis was new and controversial. Much of the second half of the work examines the Krupp family's willing use of slave labor to maintain the Nazi war machine. Critics charged Manchester as unfairly biased against the Germans; this at a time of the Cold War when it had become an important ally. Readers today should have better distance to judge.

Historians as well criticized "The Arms of Krupp" for its pretense as a scholarly work. There well may be a few cases where Manchester does not allow facts to get in the way of a good story, but more likely academic poo-pooing has more to do with envy over's Manchester's ability to make money from his historical writings.

13 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • ES
  • 05-30-17

just ok

Any additional comments?

For the most part the book is interesting and informative. However the author has the annoying conceit of liberally sprinkling the book with German phrases along with their translations. Unless his purpose is to provide lessons in German this does nothing except to slow down the narrative. The narrator does not have a comfortable cadence and has the habit of drawing out the name Krupp to KKKrrupp.The book is unnecessarily lengthened by the inclusion of the German phrases and uninteresting details. Otherwise the book is a good history of Krupp.

11 people found this helpful

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Pronunciation may be correct, but annoying.

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

Ok, but too easy to put down due to narration.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Another History title.

How could the performance have been better?

The pause prior to every attempt at 'proper' pronunciation of names, words and phrases was so irritating. Would have preferred Grover Gardner's narration by far.

Do you think The Arms of Krupp needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

All good books on German oligarchs' participation in Nazi militarism should be added to audible titles. Alchemy of Air is best.

Any additional comments?

Over emphasis of non-English pronunciation is distracting, annoying and so unnecessary. It ruined an otherwise acceptable title.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Narration!

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

I was surprised by the very intriguing and engaging subject material as one would expect such a volume would belabor the average listener, yet there never seems a moment when we are bombarded by technical or metric information. Mr. Manchester could make the greatest reading from absolutely anything!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Most all of the characters are indispensable yet Alfred the Great was that one pivoteable figure all others were centered around.

What about Paul Boehmer’s performance did you like?

I appreciated his slight inflections of sarcasm and disdain. Paul obviously understood Manchester very well. The best narrations are ones that don't distract and we were served very well, thank you PB!

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

They put the 'fun' in dysfunctional! Yes, go the comic route. There's just too much of it there...

Any additional comments?

It would seem the problems regarding chapter 9 were addressed.

6 people found this helpful

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exceptional

incredibly detailed and full of Manchester's personal viewpoints and perceptions that makes the story very entertaining.

4 people found this helpful

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Superb history and journalism

This book is an exceptional history which brings the past alive. I had wanted to buy this as soon as it came out but I was put off by other reviewers who reported a missing section. This error has been fixed as far as I can tell. Many people complain about the heavy use of German but translations are provided for almost everything and one wonders why you would read this dense study of a German family without at least some rudimentary German skills. The reader's pronunciation is good in most spots but he curiously mispronounces Gebiet every time he says it. The scattered French in the book is the only foreign language that goes untranslated every time. I felt like this book helped me understand the Prussian state better and its involvement in world affairs from 1860s to the post war era. Fabulous reading when read in concert with the book about the history of the Prussian state.

3 people found this helpful

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What a terrible narrator!

What did you love best about The Arms of Krupp?

Unusual history.

What did you like best about this story?

The international aspect of Krup contracts and the details about the family.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His German pronunciation seems affected and clumsy. His pronunciation of the word Krup* was completely distracting. Every time he said Kkkkkruuup, unlike any person I have EVER heard, in Germany or America, I lost my place. It was very distracting and actually interfered and interrupted my listening. English or American pronunciations of foreign titles, names, or places always annoy me - especially when the correction is simple - but this guy is in a class all his own. He almost manages to roll the K; I can't believe the editors or people helping him record this didn't say something. I can only assume they don't speak German and never hear it spoken.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

Comprehensive.

3 people found this helpful

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  • qwerty
  • 08-27-18

Evil is as evil does

An interesting yet terrible story of unfettered want leading to insatiable expansion. A tale of a sickening family. Selfish people wrapped up in the flag and name of patriotism until their machinations backfired. The overweening self-pity of these middle class wannabe aristocrats when it all begins to crumble should be a cautionary tale for all who presume personal infallibility and familial eternity. Truly a warning from history.

2 people found this helpful

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  • David Gillette-Inglis
  • 01-12-21

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

A heavywieght book not for the faint hearted. A very detailed history of the Krupp dynasty providing insights into the workings and machinations of a very closely knit family with more than a little machiavellian tendencies throughout their long history. To do the book justice it needs to be read more than once and the serious reader or listener would be advised to take notes in order to remind them of the key players and events. It is worth noting that the events up to 1968 are now over 50 years in the past, some obviously far older than this but there can be parallels drawn with events in the modern era of the European Union in the late 20th. and early 21st centuries. Whilst no longer in single person ownership and somewhat smaller than at the height of its power, Krupp is still a large and powerful industrial organisation. The book does require concentration and at times one could almost give up but the author then reveals another point of interest to keep the reader anticipating yet more to come, indeed one of the more interesting points is only revealed at the demise of the organisation in 1967 when it is revealed that a yearly payment of a significant amount to the family was decreed in German law signed by Adolf Hitler. Whether this payment continues to this day to the heirs of the estate is uncertain. Other points of interest include the degree of direct involvement in the design and manufacture of the range and complexity of the armaments produced and the apparent strength of the Krupp dynasty over successive governments in Germany and overseas. The methods involved in their manufacturing operations and the use of labour, particularly that of enforced low-pay and enforced or slave labour is odious to say the least and shows the rest of manufacturing industry and the world that "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely" and why no large organisation should ever be under the control of one person but needs to be subject to a collective control by a strong and effective management structure. The naration by and large was very good but the listener needs to be aware that on occasions the short interludes in German language followed by an English translation can be disconcerting.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-18-17

An honest, intense, no holes bared biography

This work of reference and I say that not book, is a superb example of investigative work that told it like history should record it and it should be known. Beautifully written, very skilfully narrated it held my interest from beginning to end. The use of German language with an accompanying translation to English was unusual and added greatly to the gusto of the time, another clever element in a brilliant expose of important family tidings interwoven with sometimes catastrophic events. - thank you

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chelsea Hardy
  • 11-17-22

A fascinating look into family business

This is one of those books which is hard to define and describe. I think that anyone who is running a family owned enterprise should read this as there are many lessons to learn for those with the wits to find them.

Many Arthur that Manchester focused too much on the 1930-50s and the Nazi era of the concern. However, this is a work of its time and the crimes of individuals in the Reich were overlooked. Don't forget that Eichmann wasn't tried until many years after the war, and the idea of Holocaust memorialism didn't really become commonplace until the 1970s. So I feel that this book rightfully attempts to highlight their views on the miscarriage of justice with regard to Alfried Krupp.

I found the early history of the family far more interesting, the way that they ascended to the heights of industry and power within Prussia and then Germany.

There are some assertions by the author that are very interesting to consider and I feel he makes his case well for all of them.

Definitely consider reading if you are a fan of history and the industrial revolution, especially if you'd like to know how we got to where we are today. Krupp certainly is a factor in all of modern history since Napoleon to the 1960s.

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  • Samantha
  • 09-14-21

An epic journey through modern European history

This is a massive work but well worth it. The Krupp family history provides the framework for a saga of modern European history. I learned much.