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The Blue Max

Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The most coveted combat decoration in all Germany, the Blue Max was a symbol of power, fame, and prestige beyond the reach of ordinary mortals.

Bruno Stachel is a nobody, a newly recruited junior officer in a First World War combat squadron. But he is determined not to remain a nobody for long. He has his sights on the Blue Max, the most coveted of all German decorations, and he will do anything to get it. From the very moment he shoots down his first plane, everything he does is aimed at that goal.

This world-famous novel of deadly combat in the skies tells the story of the men who killed for the Blue Max - and died for it. It tells the story of Stachel - murderer and alcoholic. His meteoric rise to glory alienated him from his fellow pilots and, ultimately, from human decency. Then there is Kettering - collector of pornography. He became the victim of Stachel’s ruthless ambition. Also, Von Klugermann - the haughty aristocrat. He delved too deeply into Stachel’s torment, only to discover a cobra. And finally Kaeti - the woman who knew them all. Arrogant noblewoman, black- mailing nymphomaniac - and Stachel’s beautiful mistress.

©1964 Jack D. Hunter (P)1995 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Jack D. Hunter, who served as an American agent behind the German lines in World War II, writes with impressive authority about Germans and with absolutely astounding authority about the combat airplanes of World War I. His story moves fast and includes much tersely eloquent conversation." ( New York Times)
“[Grover Gardner’s] reading…proves effortlessly engaging as the listener becomes absorbed in a story so well written that it needs little interpretive assistance. [Gardner] is one of those readers who can become transparent, leaving no distinct impression of themselves, only the text. This is no small accomplishment, requiring as it does an execution free of any distracting flaws.” ( AudioFile)

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  • KT
  • Logan, Ut United States
  • 09-15-19

A Brilliant Read

This book is probably thought of as a WWI aviation thriller--which it is, for sure. It is also an incredible study of a highly functional alcoholic and a great supporting cast of complex characters in a most highly charged situation.

So well written that a reader almost forgets the larger tableau of the Great War. Sides blue and although a fair, studied portrait of German cultural makeup is a part of the development, the reader must see it all through the eyes of the main character. The disturbing prism of the peculiarly flawed eyes keeps the reader from ever seeing this protagonist as archetypical 19 year old growing up too quickly.

One of my favorite characters ever, Bruno Stachel has been a part of my life since 1968.

I cannot recommend this novel highly enough and will always highly admire Jack. D. Hunter.
I also have not heard an audio book performed by a single reader that I rate higher than Grover Gardner's strong interpretation of Hunfer.