The Last 100 Days

The Tumultuous and Controversial Story of the Final Days of World War II in Europe
Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
Length: 27 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (589 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A dramatic countdown of the final months of World War II in Europe, The Last 100 Days brings to life the waning power and theultimate submission of the Third Reich. To reconstruct the tumultuous hundreddays between Yalta and the fall of Berlin, John Toland traveled more than 100,000 miles in twenty-one countries and interviewed more than six hundred people - from Hitler's personal chauffeur to Generals von Manteuffel, Wenck, andHeinrici; from underground leaders to diplomats; from top Allied fieldcommanders to brave young GIs. Toland adeptly wove together these interviewsusing research from thousands of primary sources.

When it was first published, The Last 100 Days madehistory, revealing after-action reports, staff journals, and top-secretmessages and personal documents previously unavailable to historians. Sincethat time it has come to be regarded as one of the greatest historicalnarratives of the twentieth century.

©1966 John Toland (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Last 100 Days

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More the sum of the parts

This book is, as of this review, about 50 years old and hence the information tends to be a bit out of date. Mr Toland interviewed hundreds of people in the writing of this book and some of what is written was new and ground-breaking at the time, but subsequent accounts have tended to modify some of what is written or to at least put a different light on the subjects. In addition many newer books cover the same ground as in this book, even if with a slightly different view. Nonetheless this is a good book and covers much of what happened during the last 100 days of the European Theater of World War II.

Rather than a direct history of the ending of the war in Europe Mr Toland decided to present the ending days of World War II as a series of vignettes, each representing one part of the final days of The Third Reich, and this format works very well and presents information often not covered in normal histories of this period. For example there is a section on the greatest sea tragedy of World War II in Europe - the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff and its mostly civilian passengers by a Soviet submarine, we see into the minds of many of the German commanders who are given impossible orders by German generals who seem to have lost contact with reality and we see the tragedy of Poland, again to be betrayed, this time by the West. All in all this produces a history which is greater than just the sum of the individual pieces.

The book is narrated by Ralph Cosham who seems to have gotten some very bad reviews on this website. I have several histories that Mr Cosham has narrated and, in those as well as this, he does a fine job. However this particular book suffers from having what is perhaps the worst sound track of any of my many Audible books. The narration is a patchwork of cuts and re-recordings and the reader is constantly subjected to narration that changes in pitch and sound and these changes are very annoying. I do not blame Mr Cosham but it almost appears as though something happened to the original recording in places and Mr Cosham has had to constantly insert small segments into the original recording. Those changes are jarring to the ear and interrupt the smooth flow of the narrative. In reviewing this book I have tried to differentiate between the narration of Mr Cosham, which is just fine, and the cut-and-paste of the final result, which is just terrible.

All in all a mixed bag. The sound track, which sounds as though it was recorded at a much lower quality, is poor and listeners might want to listen to the sample fully before deciding if they wish to buy. The book itself is a worthwhile addition to understanding the end of WW II in Europe even if hard to listen to.

19 people found this helpful

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Excellent book!

If you could sum up The Last 100 Days in three words, what would they be?

A riveting account.

What did you like best about this story?

It was very informative.

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

I ws not bored by his reading of the book. It was excellently read.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The story of the failed rescue of Gen. Patton's son in law.

Any additional comments?

It is well worth the time spent.

10 people found this helpful

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A remarkable piece of work

Any additional comments?

This book is not for the casual history browser. Toland has produced an excellent account of the last 100 days of WWII from all standpoints with a political and strategic view I have rarely ever seen. I was a reluctant convert from the coffee table accounts that are so popular, this account exceeds them all. I have more than 1000 books now, this must be in the top 5. If you are a true military history buff, enjoy erudite and scholarly paragraphs with challenging insight, this book is for you. Get it and enjoy.

7 people found this helpful

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A human & in-depth look at the end of WWII in ETO.

If you could sum up The Last 100 Days in three words, what would they be?

Intriguing, poor audio

What did you like best about this story?

A comprehensive look at the last 100 Days of Hilter's Third Reich and readers will find themselves fascinated by the events of these last months which are often forgotten in many histories. The use of interviews and diaries give a human voice to the British, Germans, and Americans. Unfortunately, the Russians are rarely presented as anything more than an alien noun and remain a mystery.

What aspect of Ralph Cosham’s performance would you have changed?

The audio quality varies as re-recordings are obvious and the transitions are jarring. The performer has a lisp that was at first annoying, but gradually grows on the listener.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The presentation of the Yalta conference demonstrated that the "Big Three", Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin were men who could be given to fits of humor as well as frustration.

5 people found this helpful

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Patchwork history - feels incomplete

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Like Toland's other works, this is a good blend of military and political history and there are some nice details about how the final hundred days arguably set the tone and shape of international relations for the next 45 years. Nevertheless 100 days feels disjointed and somewhat incomplete as Toland overly dwells on certain events (e.g. Plans for the establishment of the U.N., the battle for Remagen, and especially Mussolini's demise) at the expense of seemingly equal or more pertinent ones (eg. The battle for Berlin, the German civil front). The end result feels patchwork with more than a few gaps.

Would you recommend The Last 100 Days to your friends? Why or why not?

May appeal to readers who like their history detailed and who aren't overly familiar with the closing days of the European theater of war.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The Narrator was fine but the production was terrible, with frequent, inexplicable changes in tone and clarity. I thought at first this might be because the narrator was emphasizing a footnote before realizing it was just the sound production. In the end, the narration proved to be a distraction more than anything.

8 people found this helpful

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Absolutely Amazing

This is a book best read by someone who has a medium-level of expertise in the history of WW2, already knowing the basics of the rise of the Nazis, the personalities and positions of those in Hitler's inner circle, the pre-war diplomatic maneuverings and territorial grabs by the Nazis, and how the war had progressed in the European front through late 1944. It does an amazing job at making you feel you were right there with Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, Hitler and the Nazi leadership, the military leadership as they pushed through Germany, the secret negotiations, the assassination of Mussolini, and much more. My only regret is that there will never again be a first time to read this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Great listen

This was a most compelling and enlightening book. The multiple interviews from all sides military and civilian tell the tale of a world weary of war and leery of the peace to follow.
I knew the leading Nazis were delusional about the outcome of this war until the bitter end but to hear it from this who were there adds a sense of sadness to the whole affair.

Countless lives lost in the last 100 days because of a belief that the western allies would ask Germany to help fight the Soviets. The carving up of Europe at Yalta and the betrayal of Poland and Czechoslovakia again at the end of it all.

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating and rich tale

Usually, we fast forward through the last days of WW2. “And then the Germans surrendered and the war ended”. Toland has mined a encyclopedia of sources to uncover a wealth of fascinating stories of heroism and horror, grace and brutality. Germany didn’t collapse. It was beaten in a hard fight that lasted until the final surrender. Hitler believed that if he lasted long enough, America and Britain would have a falling out with Stalin and recruit the Germans as allies. Long and occasionally dense but well worth the time.

1 person found this helpful

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Engaging, expertly read and full of human detail

full of specific detail of conventions between players and other specifics makes the characters who many will know really come to life in this brilliant work

1 person found this helpful

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AWFUL, AWFUL NARRATOR!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narrator! Ralph Cosham would put a runaway train to sleep!

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

There's nothing wrong with the STORY! John Toland is an expert in military history. But to waste his indepth research by having his work read by Cosham is a travesty!

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His performance was flat, bland, and uninspired. He sounded like he bored HIMSELF to death!

Did The Last 100 Days inspire you to do anything?

Yep, the narration inspired me to stop listening to this book before I jammed a rusty spoon in my eye!

Any additional comments?

I love John Toland's books and I'm a huge devotée of military history, especially World War II. However, having to listen to Ralph Cosham for almost 28 hours is masochistic. There are too many other great narrators who would have done justice to this amazing work. Like Simon Vance, John Lee, Wanda McCaddon, Keith David, Simon Prebble, and Nadia May - just to name a VERY few. Audiobooks cost way too much money for the producers to have so little pride in quality control. What a great work to be wasted on such a poorly matched narrator!

24 people found this helpful

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  • Edward
  • 12-07-14

Informative and fascinating

What made the experience of listening to The Last 100 Days the most enjoyable?

An excellent book covering all aspects of what happened during those momentous last 100 days of Nazi Germany. The authors reference to 100000 dead at Dresden though is factually incorrect. The actual figure has been determined at 25000. His statement that American paratroops fought for the first time since D Day in Operstion Varsity when the Allies crossed the Rhine caused me to wonder. What about Market Garden? The death of, and subsequent lynching, of Mussolini and his mistress was fascinating. The narration by Ralph Cosham was brilliant. All in all an excellent book that is well worth a listen.

4 people found this helpful

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  • training1
  • 07-20-15

War

Hopefully we do not see much of this in the 21 century. With that said, credit worthy listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Quincy
  • 01-07-15

Good Book, very disappointing audio quality

What did you like best about The Last 100 Days? What did you like least?

It was a compelling story. Overall poor performance of audio

What didn’t you like about Ralph Cosham’s performance?

He sounded bored, and the very poor editing was noticeable. Not something I would have expected on a book produced in 2014

Any additional comments?

Should be redone with a different narrator

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nigel
  • 08-06-19

Excellent book

Although a slow burner to start, this book is brilliant, well researched and informative. Excellently narrated by the narrator, clear and precise. for anyone wanting to know about the end of the war this is perfect

1 person found this helpful

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  • White Socks!
  • 07-22-19

Not just another war book!

WOW! I have listened to many books covering the subject of WW2, but this is different.
It delves in to the political and planning aspects; giving an insight into the main player's ideas, concerns and mind games.
I wish this book never ended, such was Toland's writing style
And as for Cosham; what a beautifully hypnotic voice.
For the first time I found myself looking at other books he's narrated, purely because I love his voice.

This book is a must for those wanting a slightly different perspective on the conflict. I promise you won't regret it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • russell leadbitter
  • 04-21-20

Disappointing recording sound

Very interesting story Well read but the sound was terrible at times. Listening in a car meant having to have the volume up really loud

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-25-20

Fantastic book!

Everything is fantastic: the author, the narrator, the story. I am so sorry that I finished It, but I will start read it again this very evening.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • christopher ward
  • 02-11-19

Makes you feel like were there.

Flows along nicely, at times horrific,the destruction of the German people and then decades of Soviet rule all explained in graphic detail.

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  • qwerty
  • 08-23-16

Excellent summary

I found it much more interesting than I expected. Good chronological order. Very clear.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-13-20

100 days

horror murder rape how men can become animals and the stupidity of war through loyalty.

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  • Andrew
  • 11-01-18

Riveting

This book was incredibly thorough - providing details from multiple perspectives. The narrative was strong and coherent which made it compelling listening. The voice provided gravitas and was ready to listen to. Will be re- listening you the whole thing!

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  • aidan
  • 03-06-17

Pimpery

John toland is a true Mack. His style is mucho engaging. Highly recommend

Chim chim charoo