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As 1918 opened, the Allies and Central Powers remained locked in a desperate, bloody stalemate, despite the deaths of millions of soldiers over the previous three and a half years. The arrival of the Americans "over there" by the middle of the year turned the tide of war, resulting in an Allied victory in November.
In this audiobook, participants on both sides, from enlisted men to generals and prime ministers to monarchs, vividly recount the battles, sensational events, and behind-the-scenes strategies that shaped the climactic, terrifying year. It's all here - the horrific futility of going over the top into a hail of bullets in no man's land; the enigmatic death of the legendary German ace, the Red Baron; Operation Michael, a punishing German attack in the spring; the Americans' long-awaited arrival in June; the murder of Russian Czar Nicholas II and his family, the growing fear of a communist menace in the east; and the armistice on November 11.
The different points of view of Germans, Americans, British, French, and Russians add depth, complexity, and understanding to the tragedies and triumphs of the War to End All Wars.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By James Messelbeck on 12-15-17
Comprehensive survey of final year of WWI
This book works every country - especially Russia - with vignettes at every level of society. I learned much regarding Russia’s vacillating fortunes and the intimacy enjoyed of Lenin by American and English representatives.
Grover Gardener always compelling.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Hellocat on 04-04-18
Oddly biased, but worthy account of the period
There are surprisingly few books available about the last year of WWI, and of those Toland's is often touted as the best. While it's certainly a valuable account of that critical year ,purely for the fact that it exists, it's far from perfect.
Toland is not the most objective writer, and is biased in some strange ways. Chief among those is the extremely high regard he has for Douglas Haig, who is portrayed throughout as some sort of misunderstood genius whose true potential is held back only by the meddlesome politicians back in London.
I can think of few British figures as universally maligned as Haig, and you'd probably have to travel back to the days of King John to find person as widely reviled. Yet Toland is constantly going out of his way to portray Haig as eternally patient, infinitely wise and tactically brilliant.
Since no mention is made of Haig's disastrous conduct in the war preceding 1918, readers unfamiliar with the subject will no doubt take Toland's at his word. They will walk away from the book thinking Haig a hero, Lloyd George an idiot and Marshall Petain a coward. This would be most unfortunate, since all of those things are untrue.
All of that being said, there are plenty of fascinating anecdotes here about the war's final year, and the broad strokes of the events as they unfolded are for the most part accurate.
Certainly worth a read, but only with a healthy dose of skepticism regarding his portrayal of the main players.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful