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Publisher's Summary

Martin Gilbert, author of the multivolume biography of Winston Churchill and other brilliant works of history, chronicles world events year by year, from the dawn of aviation to the flourishing technology age, taking us through World War I to the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt as president of the United States and Hider as chancellor of Germany. He continues on to document wars in South Africa, China, Ethiopia, Spain, Korea, Vietnam, and Bosnia, as well as apartheid, the arms race, the moon landing, and the beginnings of the computer age, while interspersing the influence of art, literature, music, and religion throughout this vivid work. A rich, textured look at war, celebration, suffering, life, death, and renewal in the century gone by, this volume is nothing less than extraordinary.
©2001 Martin Gilbert (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC
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Customer Reviews

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By Douglas on 08-20-16

Entertaining. Worth reading.

This was an interesting book. Entertaining and it contains a lot of information that I didn't already know.

One thing that confuses me is that in the wrap up of the audio book it says that you have just finished reading "the condensed version of Martin Gilbert's 3 volume work." In the description of the book it clearly says unabridged. I don't know what condensed means if it doesn't mean shortened. Also, if the book was indeed abridged that would help explain a few mysteries which I had earlier chalked up to either an omission on the author or a case of me spacing out during portions of the book. There were a few times when it seemed like certain individuals were referenced without ever being introduced. Also the author covered the space race a lot, but then there was no mention of the moon landing.

Long story short: this is worth buying, but it's possible that you aren't getting the whole book.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By Jeff on 10-08-14

A Focus on the Facts with Minimal Commentary

What made the experience of listening to A History of the Twentieth Century the most enjoyable?

Getting a breakdown of events across the globe decade by decade gives the listener a unique perspective on major happenings (mostly catastrophes) of the century. After finishing this work, one can see how difficult it is for modern historians to sort through the sheer volume of information to find some thread of reason behind it all.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A History of the Twentieth Century?

As I lover of world history, I was surprised to find so many critical details I had previously missed. For example, other works originally led me to think that WWI was sort of everyone's fault. 'However, after listening to a blow by blow progression of events the Kaiself himself seems to deserve most of the blame. . In addition, I had no idea that so much upheval occurred in the Soviet Union during the interwar period.

What aspect of John Curless’s performance would you have changed?

He kind of grows on you after a few hours, but I initially felt that he wasn't enunciating properly. He does well with pronunciation and really deserves at least 3.5 stars.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, its fairly engaging but you really should limit yourself to one decade a day. Otherwise its easy to lose focus and end up Leopold's Congo thinking that the author is still discussing Republican China.

Any additional comments?

I think this work should have been shortened to only focus on its strong points_ politics, international relations and war. The terse references to developments in science, art and popular culture also seemed somewhat out of place,One other thing I could have done without was the author's bizarre obsession with automobile-related fatalities for which he provides almost yearly statistics.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By MR on 01-11-13

Factual and grim

Don't expect any light relief. This book is a chronological account of atrocities and disasters. There is very little commentary or analysis. It does, however, contain an immense amount of information and certainly identified and filled in the blanks I had. I do recommend it, but be aware of what you're letting yourself in for - it's not for the faint-hearted.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Marcus on 12-15-11

An extended timeline

The author decides to give us a year by year account of 20th century history.  This means that you end up with a set of very brief sketches of events.  There is no depth and little analysis.  Often there are interesting facts to be heard, but if you have a decent knowledge of 20th century history then this is little more than a revision course.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Shane on 05-29-16

Strange but Well Done

The format of this book was really unique. It is continuously read almost as a news cast with no analysis or input from the author besides what was actually happening. I'm really glad I read it even if I'd probably prefer a more conventionally written book most times.

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