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.
"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This book is, as of this review, about 50 years old and hence the information tends to be a bit out of date.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.
A riveting account.
It was very informative.
I ws not bored by his reading of the book. It was excellently read.
The story of the failed rescue of Gen. Patton's son in law.
It is well worth the time spent.
"A remarkable piece of work"
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.
"A human & in-depth look at the end of WWII in ETO."
Intriguing, poor audio
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.
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.
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.
"Patchwork history - feels incomplete"
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.
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.
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.
"A very long 100 days"
The details in the book I never knew before. It was quite fascinating.
The Last 10 Days of WW2.
They were all excellent.
"WHY WOULD THEY EVER HIRE THIS NARRATOR?????"
Yes to Toland, NO to Cosham. Battle by Toland was one of my favorite audio books ever. I am having trouble listening to Cosham. His voice is grating and slow. You have to listen to him speeded up because he is so slow and plodding but at faster speeds it is almost impossible to hear. I would REBUY if there was a new narration.
I would never under any circumstances listen to a single syllable from Ralph Cosham.
Anger that John Toland was stuck with Ralph Cosham.
Please don't ever use Ralph Cosham
"AWFUL, AWFUL NARRATOR!"
The narrator! Ralph Cosham would put a runaway train to sleep!
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!
His performance was flat, bland, and uninspired. He sounded like he bored HIMSELF to death!
Yep, the narration inspired me to stop listening to this book before I jammed a rusty spoon in my eye!
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!
"voice changes distracted"
Very compelling material. A wonderful book, but was often distracted by the frequent changes in narrator
"long but detailed"
this book isn't for everyone. it is a detailed account of the last 100 days and it can be hard to follow at times.
the stories and details make the reading effort worthwhile though.
Hopefully we do not see much of this in the 21 century. With that said, credit worthy listen.
"Informative and fascinating"
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.
"Good Book, very disappointing audio quality"
It was a compelling story. Overall poor performance of audio
He sounded bored, and the very poor editing was noticeable. Not something I would have expected on a book produced in 2014
Should be redone with a different narrator
I found it much more interesting than I expected. Good chronological order. Very clear.
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