Jeff Shaara has enthralled audiences with his New York Times best-selling novels set during the Civil War and the American Revolution. Now the acclaimed author turns to World War I, bringing to life the sweeping, emotional story of the war that devastated a generation and established America as a world power.
Spring 1916: the horror of a stalemate on Europe's Western Front. France and Great Britain are on one side of the barbed wire, a fierce German army is on the other. Shaara opens the window onto the otherworldly tableau of trench warfare as seen through the eyes of a typical British soldier who experiences the bizarre and the horrible - a "Tommy" whose innocent youth is cast into the hell of a terrifying war.
In the skies, meanwhile, technology has provided a devastating new tool, the aeroplane, and with it a different kind of hero emerges - the flying ace. Soaring high above the chaos on the ground, these solitary knights duel in the splendor and terror of the skies, their courage and steel tested with every flight.
As the conflict stretches into its third year, a neutral America is goaded into war, its reluctant president, Woodrow Wilson, finally accepting the repeated challenges to his stance of nonalignment. Yet the Americans are woefully unprepared and ill equipped to enter a war that has become worldwide in scope. The responsibility is placed on the shoulders of General John "Blackjack" Pershing, and by mid-1917 the first wave of the American Expeditionary Force arrives in Europe. Encouraged by the bold spirit and strength of the untested Americans, the world waits to see if the tide of war can finally be turned.
From Blackjack Pershing to the Marine in the trenches, from the Red Baron to the American pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille, To the Last Man is written with the moving vividness and accuracy that characterizes all of Shaara's work.
©2004 Jeff Shaara (P)2004 Random House Audio
"A gripping account of World War I - from tactics to strategy...Jeff Shaara shows the dominance of the US military in the context of coalition warfare - as relevant today as it was in 1918." (General Tommy R. Franks)
"A sweeping, searching look at World War I. Jeff Shaara's novel rings with authenticity, from the feelings of frontline soldiers to the challenges of high-level command." (General Wesley Clark)
"A riveting masterpiece revolving around the ghastly conflict that still profoundly defines the world we live in. With To the Last Man, Shaara cements his reputation as a war writer of Tolstoyan or Homeric dimensions." (Steve Forbes)
The writer should hide his contempt for the British a bit more. It doesn't help the story.
To explain the best moments in detail would spoil it for other readers/listeners. In general I would say the way the writer brings home how war randomly takes and spares live and how, mostly, the younger generation accepts and adapts to this odd phenomenon of killing and being killed.
Yes and no, Paul Michael does an excellent job in portraying all the different characters (voices) but fails to capture me with his 'story-telling' voice.
Yes. Although the characters do not have real depth and WW1 cannot be captured in a single volume, even if mainly focussed on the American efforts, I found it captivating and well thought through.
The reader/listener needs to be prepared for hefty dose of 'the US saves the day' and 'all allies are dumb'. If you are not then stay clear. However, if you can read/listen past this then it is an excellent (audio)book.
"A Book for History Buffs"
Yes, because I must admit to some 'tuning out' of parts of the book or being occupied with other tasks while listening to the audio book. Also, it was different from the other novels by Jeff Shaara--for some reason, I had a harder time getting into this book. I still enjoyed learning about aspects of WW I.
Didn't have a memorable moment but truly enjoyed the parts dealing with the soldiers. As with each of Jeff Shaara's novels, I enjoy the end part of the book where he goes into some detail of what happens with the characters lives afterwards.
The narrator did a great job of keeping the story going---flowed from one point to another. He didn't have a monotonous tone or abruptness that can totally blow the narration; many times the book can be great but the wrong narrator just ruins the audio book.
It's a toss up.....Dan Parker (Mountain Man) and Gino Scarabelli (Jersey). One is quiet, the other is brash but when it really matters, both will step up and get the job done.
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