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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.'

This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 6 episodes to your Library now.

©2019 Audible, Ltd. (P)2019 Audible, Ltd.

What listeners say about Countdown to War

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting information, but hard to follow.

I learnt a lot I hadn't known, but the sameness of the cast made it hard to keep track of who was talking to who, and put it in context.

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Fantastic voice acting, very pleased with this

step by step the author leads you through the events leading up to the war. the voice acting was superb, and the story engaging. If I were a teacher introducing the great war to students, this would be my goto.

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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."

8 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.

7 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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  • Steven Waite
  • 25-02-2021

Outstanding!

This was far far better than I expected.
I can't recommend it highly enough 10/10.

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  • B.W.
  • 26-01-2021

Very informative

Very difficult to keep track of all the different threads. I will have to listen to this again as there is a lot of information to absorb on the meandering path to the start of the First World War. The production is let down by a couple of actors who deliver their scripts as if just reading through, which is a bit of a shame given the importance of the content.

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  • A. Turner
  • 13-01-2021

Scary Story Excellently Told

chilling story of how easy it was to wreak havoc and death on Europe, as relevant in these modern times when governments seem to operate in isolation and pander to perceived opinion

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-01-2021

emersive and informative

Worth a listen if you are interested in history and events that change the world

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  • Fathead
  • 15-12-2020

A good listen!

Seeing as it was free I gave it a download and thought it was actually really good! Had good performances and was largely easy to follow. The only small problem I had was keeping up with the rapidly changing dates and times in constructing the timeline inside my head but that was a small problem, if that’s the only critique I can come up with a must be worth a listen!

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