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Leading up to World War II

It's a sit on the edge of your seat, waiting for the rest kind of audiobook, type listen. At least it was for me. Here's British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, making a different decision based on simple turns of events, that change the timing and direction of Hitler's starting the war. Go read the synopsis, and maybe google the period.

If you do, and you get this book, you'll agree that it reads like actual history, and in stirring fashion. I consider that ruining the discovery, if you will, of the work. Fair enough? Let's move along, then.

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As a reader, strap in, because you're going to be hearing the intertwining stories of leaders in different nations, in different governments, and making NEW decisions based on the accumulating changes, and it's worth the listen, to say the least. I said leaders, which can be politicians, soldiers, wives, pilots and more, but all having some impact on the storyline. From the "in the trenches" grit of the war, to the command centers that moved nations into battle, to the subterfuge often hidden in dank alleys and doorways, this audiobook takes you on a great journey.

You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy this audiobook. You don't even have to LIKE history to enjoy this book. It makes you wonder what happens next, and makes you want more. It's the first of four books in the series. If I'm going to dedicate my listening time to an author's work, it should be more than just a few hours of enjoyment.

Turtledove delivers in the War That Came Early. So much so, that I've already thrown down my hard-earned credits for the rest of the audiobooks in the series. If you know me, that says something huge about the author and his or her work. It's my pleasure to recommend this audiobook to Audible's listeners. Well done, Harry. Turtledove is never bad, but I wish that this one had been better. This volume was written to the usual Turtledove formula.

If you don't know what that is, you have many hours of excellent reading ahead of you. However, this part of the tale is too much like the real history of World War II. Unlike Turtledove's long series based on a Confederate victory in the Civil War, none of the viewpoint characters is a political leader. As a result, the stories in this book are not so different from any WW II stories of ordinary people. The military positions are different, of course, but the day-to-day stories are about the same as those I heard from everyone in my parents' generation. Don't let my whining put you off, though.

Turtledove is still one of the best story-tellers around. I'd hoped for better. I'm just praising with faint damns. Chapter 9 repeats the same sentence 5 times in a row. I gave up after about seven hours. It was hard to follow a story line when the switch from one group story line to another happened so often.

Hitlers War The War That Came Early Book One

I love most of his work but this one was too hard for me to handle. Part of the problem might be the sound quality which was not up to the standards I am accustomed to from your audio. This story starts off messy, becomes a little interesting, has a glimpse of plot twist only to end up following the same path as WWII in fact.

This story needed work and it feels like a draft of what could had been more fascinating. Perhaps rather than the soldiers point of view, the leaders actions might have been more interesting. Not happy Harry. By: Harry Turtledove. Narrated by: Todd McLaren. And he used to work incredibly long hours into the night writing up all the conversations that he had had.

These were the notebooks that we worked on in Moscow and one realised that here was most of the raw material for Life and Fate which I think is probably the most important work of fiction about World War II. But, in fact, it is more than just a fiction because it is based on very close reporting from his time with the soldiers. It is a deliberate act of literary homage to Tolstoy as one can see in the title.

It is definitely the War and Peace of the 20th century. Click to read more about Life and Fate. Ian Kershaw is a totally admirable historian.

West and East (The War That Came Early, Book Two)

He is absolutely scrupulous. He does incredible research. His books have superb scholarship and breadth of knowledge as a result. But, above all, he has a clarity of thought and a clarity of prose which is not merely enviable but should be followed by any sort of academic historian who wants to know how to write and how to reach a wider audience and also to remain a completely scholarly source.

Yes, indeed, and he knows them almost better than anyone. Nothing is definitive. Get the weekly Five Books newsletter.


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So much of it is in the detail rather than overall. One sees so much written about Hitler that just churns out the same sort of stuff. One sees the implications particularly when it comes to the difficulties of a setting and the exact progress towards the Final Solution. For example, he looks at the decision about when to launch the Holocaust or the Shoah by gas, as Grossman called it, which is one of the key areas of debate amongst historians.

And this is the traditional view and the one currently accepted by mainstream historians. Kershaw goes on to state the three major questions that, in his view, surround the Final Solution. Your next book takes us to a part of World War II in which you have a particular interest. This was the longest and most devastating siege in the history of World War II.

Hitler was determined to take over the Russian city for symbolic reasons, and during the two-and-a-half-year siege , civilians were deliberately starved to death. Much has been written about Leningrad in the past. It is still a remarkable book. Indeed it was a major factor in the appalling loss of life and suffering, which is very hard to appreciate. In Leningrad it was even worse. There are photographs, for example, of the same woman taken just a few months apart for her identity documents and in a matter of months she has become an old hag, even though she started off as a rather plump young woman.

So the effects of starvation on a whole society is indeed worth studying and I think that Anna Reid has done it brilliantly. Another interesting aspect of her book is her exploration of the extent to which people living in Leningrad had to resort to cannibalism in order to survive. You mentioned that Stalin had a cynical attitude towards Leningrad.

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The problem was that Stalin failed to evacuate Leningrad before the siege ring closed and he made little attempt to stockpile extra food when it was still possible. At the height of the German advance on Moscow, Stalin was even prepared to withdraw all troops from Leningrad and abandon the city to a terrible fate. He had always distrusted Leningrad as a city of intellectuals and lovers of Western influences, which made them tantamount to traitors in his eyes.

Click to read more about Leningrad. You are obviously famous for your book Stalingrad — can you explain why that was another key moment in the war? Stalingrad was the psychological turning point of the war. It took place between 23 August to 2 February and it was the largest battle on the Eastern Front. Nazi Germany and their allies were fighting for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwest Russia. It was in December , when the German armies were repulsed in front of Moscow and Hitler decided to declare war on the United States after Pearl Harbor.

But Stalingrad was vital in its own particular way because the Red Army for the first time held its ground in the city, fighting in desperate circumstances. Also, its new commanders had the foresight to do what they felt was necessary rather than being terrified of being arrested for their actions, which was the case in the earlier part of the war.

Two Soviet generals, Georgy Zhukov and Aleksandr Vasilevsky, came up with this plan to encircle the whole of the Sixth Army, which was incredibly ambitious. The Germans saw that it was a possibility but they simply did not believe that the Red Army was capable of carrying it out. And the very fact of achieving that meant that the whole psychology of the war, not just in the Soviet Union but elsewhere as well, led to this belief that finally the Germans were beaten and the Allies could win. As far away as Chile the poet Pablo Neruda wrote his homenaje a Stalingrado — so Stalingrad had this tremendous effect on the resistance throughout the world.

Stalingrad itself was a byword for courage and it was also a byword for suffering. This is really what I was trying to do when I researched the Russian military archives. I wanted to find out the detail of what life was like for the soldiers and it was simply terrifying. To Kill A Mockingbird. A Gentleman in Moscow.

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