• Worldwar: Striking the Balance

  • By: Harry Turtledove
  • Narrated by: Todd McLaren
  • Length: 25 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (539 ratings)

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Worldwar: Striking the Balance

By: Harry Turtledove
Narrated by: Todd McLaren
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Publisher's Summary

At the bloody height of World War II, the deadliest enemies in all of human history were forced to put aside their hatreds and unite against an even fiercer foe: a seemingly invincible power bent on world domination.

With awesome technology, the aggressors swept across the planet, sowing destruction as Tokyo, Berlin, and Washington, D.C., were A-bombed into submission. Russia, Nazi Germany, Japan, and the United States were not easily cowed, however. With cunning and incredible daring, they pressed every advantage against the invaders' superior strength and, led by Stalin, began to detonate their own atom bombs in retaliation.

City after city explodes in radioactive firestorms, and fears grow as the worldwide resources disappear; will there be any world left for the invaders to conquer or for the uneasy allies to defend? While Mao Tse-tung wages a desperate guerrilla war and Hitler drives his country toward self-destruction, U.S. forces frantically try to stop the enemy's push from coast to coast. Yet in this battle to stave off world domination, unless the once-great military powers take the risk of annihilating the human race, they'll risk losing the war.

The fatal, final deadline arrives in Harry Turtledove's grand, smashing finale to the Worldwar series, as uneasy allies desperately seek a way out of a no-win, no-survival situation: a way to live free in a world that may soon be bombed into atomic oblivion.

What if? Listen to the rest of the Worldwar series.
©2009 Harry Turtledove (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A cast of thousands with a plot to match, well-drawn...aliens, a wealth of fascinating speculation." ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about Worldwar: Striking the Balance

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

Good book - Audible STINKS!

Any additional comments?

No where in the description does Audible make it clear this is the FOURTH book in the series...I thought it was the third. Is it really so hard, Audible, to figure out that folks will want to listen to the books in order and that you need to clearly state what that order is in the description?

26 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting Idea Never Fulfilled-Entire Series

Spoiler AIert-If you plan on reading the entire series, you may want to skip this review. The idea is interesting and, in the first book, very promising. But as the series develops, some of the characters develop personality aspects that are farfetched if not outright ridiculous. For instance, one character develops the personality of a serial killer without any of the known aspects that make up a serial killer's psyche. One minute, he's a normal guy, the next, he's getting aroused by killing people - no tormented childhood, no psychopathic tendencies. It's ridiculous.

Another problem is all the porn. We don't need detailed accounts of the characters sex lives to move the story forward. We know they had sex, we don't need the graphic details any more than we need to know the length and consistency of their bowel movements. (Thank heaven for fast forward.)

The author, while having a good grasp of the mechanics of the war (dates, battles, names of major players) doesn't seem to be aware of the character of that generation. He puts modern attitudes into mid-twentieth century people and it just doesn't work. It makes me wonder if he knew anyone from that generation. At one point, the humans are gaining the upper hand and they know it, then they just decide to sue for peace. It would never have occurred to that generation to simply stop when they had the upper hand. They didn't think like that.

As the series went on, there was no resolution to the story lines. For some characters, we're simply told they died some time ago. For others, they have one child and no more (definitely not how people, especially that generation, behave after a war).

In conclusion, it appears the author fell in love with his alien characters and simply forgot that there was a story to tell. He wanted to keep his aliens going and write graphic sex scenes and that's about all he did.

I would not recommend this series to anyone. Further, I won't be reading anything else by this author.

4 people found this helpful

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Great Story Better Narration

I purchased lthe entire Worldwar sweries and found that the story really carried the recording because the narration was really poor, The story was great though, and i eventually got used to the boring narration, When this version arrived I took a chance and bought it. What a difference. Todd McLearn really delivers and makes the story come to life. I have already bought to first two volumes and plan to buy the next one and the "Colonization" series too. That means I will have paid for the same story twice, but the narration here is so much better than the original version that its worthwhile. I highly recommend the series, but you need to be sure you take them in order. It would be a ot easier to do that if they would number them book one, two etc. Get the frst one put on your headphones and prepare to be swept up in a titanic struggle. Will humanity continue to rule itself, or will it suffer the same fate as did the native Americans when they met superior technology at the hands of Cortez and Columbus. Only Harry Turtledove and you will know for sure.

3 people found this helpful

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An amazing series a must read if you like syfy/WW2

A great series overall i just wish he had put alittle bit more into the end like what happens to the characters after the war ends

1 person found this helpful

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Accents sound fake

I didn't enjoy this audiobook. First reason is: the narrator's rendition of foreign accents was really embarrassing, which is unfortunate because a significant part of the book consists in dialogues that are written in English but supposed to happen in other languages (German, Russian, Yiddish, etc.). Second reason is: apparently the people who edited the audiobook chose to not switch chapters when the viewpoint character changes, and the narrator doesn't pause long enough between viewpoint characters. In case you're not paying attention, you find yourself having to rewind, but since these viewpoint changes aren't reflected in the chapter structure of the audio file, you're never sure how far back you're supposed to go. The publisher should update this audiobook (from 2021 if I understood correctly) with a version that's better thought through and interpreted in a way that ruins all suspension of disbelief.

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excellent series

awesome alternative history series of novels.
the narration was superb and coherent.
excellent work

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Great book

could not ask for a better book series.
Can't wait to start the next part of the series.

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Pretty good end for a pretty good story

Felt like a fitting end for the story and am excited to see how the colonization will go in the next series.

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A Great listen and a great series

If you love what if stories I recommend you give this a listen. Start on the first book though so you’re not lost on what’s going on, also there is one part in this story that will make you stop what you’re doing and chuckle for a minute I know I did.

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A brilliant idea masterfully expressed

What if World War II suddenly became Worlds War I? Harry Turtledove answers my question with his Worldwar suite. I won’t go into any details because I’m about to start his follow-on Colonization series... and typing on an iPhone sucks.

These excellent stories are skillfully presented and performed by Todd McLaren, so you know your Audible credits will be well spent.

I love science fiction, history, insightful thinking, and cheesecake. Mr. Turtledove has come through with a most wonderful three out of four.

Enjoy.



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  • Darren
  • 12-13-13

Great story let down by poor narration

Where does Worldwar: Striking the Balance rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I am grouping the World War series together and as a series they are one of my favourite books.

What did you like best about this story?

The story rolls along at a steady pace, I love the way the Race can't get a grip on us humans, and in my opinion is the best guess on how aliens would see us if they ever landed here.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I was a little disappointed with the narration, the Todd McLaren does an appalling British accent and I honestly thought that one of the characters was an Australian instead of a Londoner. Also the pronunciation of some words left a lot to be desired didn't anyone proof listen this before it was released.
If you can ignore the rubbish accents and mispronunciation of some words then you will enjoy this series of books.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Some parts of this book made me smile mainly the parts where the Race failed to grasp us ' Big Uglies'.

1 person found this helpful

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  • allan spencer
  • 09-04-20

great story well read

need to get the next book, so much to continue with, have to research the next

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-13-20

Great books, great reader

Well read, amazing books. Must continue with the rest of the series. What will become of Mankind?

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James Abernethy
  • 05-12-20

Perfect ending!

I am probably in the minority here but often find the beginnings of books, movies and games much more stimulating than then end. This book was amazing and for me was the best of the 4. I found not just the story satisfying but the writing too. Although it had never become a problem, there were moments when Turtledove became unnecessarily wordy and it just spoiled the flow. This part did not suffer that. An almost perfect score over this first series of 4 books. I have avoided looking at details for the next 4 but am really looking forward to them. A good balance of things that I feel have been tied up and the things that set up for the next books. Over the course of this series I love the aspect of the alien technology having parallels to modern technology that we are now only becoming familiar with now that would have been only theory during WWII and some aspects were only pipe dreams when this book was written. It's definitely worth going back to the beginning to remind yourself of the characters you've followed, loved and hated over the course of this journey. Sci-fi is to me what ginger is to the Race, I will definitely be checking out more of his Alternate History works. An almost perfect score over this first series of 4 books. I have avoided looking at details for the next 4 but am really looking forward to them. A good balance of things that I feel have been tied up and the things that set up for the next books.

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  • John
  • 05-31-15

The conclusion to the series

Really enjoyed it! "Luhans" parts felt a little dull for me. But I still loved the series and this was a good ending for it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-22

Got boring

I was waiting for this to finish. It came close to being the first audiobook in 4 years that I didn't finish. The conclusion was satisfying but god damn it just dragged.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Loxton
  • 01-30-19

A fun story with an excellent narration

Overall, I think most sci-fi fans will enjoy this series.
The narration is seriously top notch, Todd McLaren has an amazing narration range. Characters all feel different, regardless of race or gender.
I read all of the World War and Colonization novels years ago and loved them then, now that I've revisited them in Audiobook I feel some of the shine has been buffed off.

As this series progresses I feel as though the characters, all of whom started rich and developed well, were slowly chipped into more and more 2D characters from the rich 3D characters they started out as.
So as to say, the depth that made them great shallowed out over the novels, especially so in this one.

The sheer amount of repetition of things in this series is mind-boggling. Does Harry Turtledove not expect the average reader to remember what kind of plane someone flies after mentioning it every 30 or so pages? Or specifically what Atvar thinks of the Humans? Or any number of things that could be described as drearily cliche and predictable of their associated characters.

I LOVE the idea of this kind of alternative history. Installing sci-fi themes into one of the most important periods in Human history.
It bothered me how unadvanced the Race were though, for what they had achieved. The slow ship speed across space, I was alright with that. I thought that added a certain reality to it all.
But all of their technology besides their spaceships were just late 20th-century level tech.
How could they send ships filled with war machines to conquer a planet (even though they expected horse riding savages -which we get told repeatedly from start to finish) that they know from the beginning is a much wetter and more difficult planet than their own without any kind of facilities to manufacture new machines?
Let alone the fact that they are completely and totally unable to adapt to ANY difficulties that aren't expected.

On modern-day Earth, German engineers have a reputation for being methodical, thorough, slow and excellent at designing machines (that certainly goes for the machines my company uses). For all intents and purposes, in work reputation, modern German engineers are much like the Race in the novels. But if you stripped all curiosity and desire to improve from them to make them exactly like the Race, would they even be able to improve their designs and the functionality of the machine?
My point there being, how is it, that a species with apparently zero interest in improving their systems even in the face of their systems totally failing to be adequate, that they could ever advance to the point to even leave a tribal system.

That all being said, I did enjoy the windows shown into the Race, despite how over the books it started to annoy me.

There are lots of things in these novels that annoy me. And lots that I enjoyed. The delivery is what truly saves this series.