- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 31 hours and 11 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Books on Tape
- Audible.com Release Date: January 10, 2007
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000MKZ5B2
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
I am anxious to dig further into history, courtesy of Mr. Shaara, now that I know there is also a relatively new (to me) novel on WWII, of which era I am a child.
As is often the case, the nationality of the historian telling the tale credits the end of the war to a different hero. I have found English historians will credit the turn in the tide of victory to England inventing the tank and employing it in battle, or by more fully incorporating more men-those from its far flung English Empire (Indian and African troops) plus the American army in terms of placing more troops at the line of battle.
Shaara credits the American Army and more specifically it's leader Black Jack Pershing for the eventual victory. He shows Pershing insisting upon individual American solders not being pushed into weak English or French units piecemeal. He also insisted upon waiting for a more complete training and for only Americans fighting under American commanders before committing our troops to battle. Shaara credits Pershing's strategy of attacking salients (limited areas of a bulge in the enemy line) using first the cover of extensive artillery shelling to soften and blind the Germans, then troops advancing only under shelter from enemy fire and fire power superiority of tanks. Throughout the book the author points out the infighting and poor decision making of the English and French military and political leaders while it seems Black Jack made all of the right moves.
I think we may never really know what caused the victory. I suspect it was a combination of elements: more strategic coordination between the Allies (simultaneous attack at different points in the line using one country's artillery, another's tanks, manpower, and so on), a more coherent use
of well trained troops in common units lead by it's own leaders, and the advent and use of tanks to roll over trenches and create moving screens for the troops (whether invented by the British, French, or the Americans).
Describing what "ordinary grunts" experienced during these wars gives an immediacy to the story that would be absent in the dry recitation of facts or figures.
I cannot speak to the accuracy of the depiction, but other sources and the research Mr. Shaara does seem to be reliable. There seems to relatively little philosophizing about the events which I appreciate. I can draw my own conclusions, thank you..
The style of Mr Shaara brings you into the story by personalizing each section of the book around a central character with a first person style that is not only engaging, but THOROUGHLY entertaining as well. The reader is confronted with the absolute futility of the French enlisted soldier in the trenches; the chivalry of airborne duals, and the grinding political machinations that wore so heavily on Pershing as he fought to safeguard the integrity of the AEF units, ultimately preventing American soldiers from being frittered away as cannon fodder by our European allies.
I HIGHLY recommend this book to any and all fans of history!