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Countdown to War

Length: 1 hr and 55 mins
Categories: History, European
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

Non-member price: $19.75

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Publisher's Summary

An audio dramatisation of July 1914 Countdown to War by Sean McMeekin.

'The story of the 37 days that led Europe to war after the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914.'

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  • Adam
  • 10-11-2019

The dominoes fall

I can think of no better listen this Remembrance day than this audio dramatisation of "July 1914 Countdown to War" by Sean McMeekin.

It tells the story of the 37 days that led Europe to war after the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914. Having dodged a bomb, the poor bugger drove onto to meet his death by assassins bullet. Austria feels its honour is at stake and delivers an ultimatum to Serbia to clamp down on the suspected terrorist organisation behind the assassination as well as other clauses that in effect amount of a surrender of Serbia's sovereignty. Accused of using the assassination as a pretext for invasion, Austria finds itself in the middle of a political storm in which various allies and antagonists form into their different power blocs. Diplomats, Kings and politicians and generals press for war or peace with equal fervour. But the war machine has been set in motion, and events develop a horrifying momentum of their own.

The dramatisation is a series of meetings and conversations in various centres of power. It is the performances and writing that gives this a sense of desperate humanity and urgency that conveys the weight and impact of the decisions made as well as any wide screen Spielbergian epic of the violence of battle could. The sound of signatures on paper here conveys the same dramatic power as the crack of a gunshot. The cast is uniformly excellent and includes Michael Mahoney and Bernard Cribbins.

So glad I found this. Already queued in my feed, "The Path to Peace."

6 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 16-11-2019

History Brought to Life

This was a simply incredible short period in world history. The complexities of human society have rarely been so starkly illustrated with the effect of unforeseen consequences allowing a world war to spiral from a local crisis. Portrayed as a series of meetings between the great and good of the key nations 'Countdown to War' cleverly details how the machinations of each of these great states and in many cases the best of intentions begat the worst of outcomes. Literally no-one really ended up with what they wanted out of those 37 days in the final analysis.

Hannah Gordon narrates well and the whole thing moves fast, perhaps requiring a little more than the average in terms of concentration as it zips from city to city.

Definitely well worth a listen.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Gkeaney
  • 22-01-2020

Amazing stuff

Loved it, crazy how this all unfolds and great having detailed background on these key events building to war that’s broadly overlooked. We all know from school assassination led to war as the general lesson but how close it was to being so different.

This was the last time such a nonchalant approach to war has happened and this point was very well conveyed.

1 person found this helpful

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  • peter mcphail
  • 17-01-2020

very interesting

I learned much by listening to this so sad it did no good and ended in death for ten million people

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  • Jonathan
  • 10-11-2019

A fascinating intimate account rarely understood!

Great selection of details that addresses the small number of key people, personal prejudices and and web of intimate relationships of the ancient regime.

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  • C. G. Lewis
  • 23-06-2020

Brilliant

Loved it. Was so informative and I learnt a lot. Done all in one sitting.

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  • Rosielil
  • 17-06-2020

Very interesting

There was a lot of information within this story, you have to concentrate but very interesting.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 17-06-2020

An exceptional story leading to ultimate disaster.

Listening to the audio was like being in the room as history unfolded. The almost calm detached way the disaster arose was the scary part. Superb dramatisation of the book.
The outbreak of WW2 was planned but WW1 appeared to happen by accident through poor judgement. A salutary lesson for us all.

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  • Stixs
  • 02-06-2020

very good

This was a very interesting listen , very detailed on how it all played out to the start of the Great War.

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  • FLeZ
  • 29-05-2020

Good insight to the start of ww1

This was a good short insight into the start to ww1, i have never understood it prior so learnt alot.

I wish the actors voices where more clear to understand who was who maybe bit more of an accent for Russian etc but overall good listen