On the Run

  • by Graeme Kent
  • Narrated by John Telfer
  • 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A unique and anecdote-filled history of desertion. There have been many books written about valour in battle. This is not one of them. On the contrary, On the Run deals entirely with those men and women who, over thousands of years, have departed with alacrity and for multifarious reasons from life in the armed forces.
For as long as there have been wars there have been those who have fled, sometimes precipitously, from the cannon's roar. This fascinating history of deserters and desertion, from the beginning of recorded time to the present day, details many of those characters who, for a multitude of often complex reasons, have gone absent without leave. Among their number are poets and pugilists, thieves and thugs, lovers and lunatics, princes and politicians, comedians and conspirators, film stars and fanatics, and even a Pope, all brought together by the simple fact that at one time or another they went on the run.
Covering thousands of years in time and over forty different countries, this extraordinary book, the first of its kind, presents a fascinating anecdotal history of perhaps the most controversial and emotive subject in war, in this and any other age.


Audible Editor Reviews

A unique and often-overlooked subject in military history, this history of deserters and desertion from military operations explores a subject that deserves further study. With a British formalism and sophistication, John Telfer performs this detailed history of desertion, On the Run: A History of Deserters and Desertions by Graeme Kent. Author of several other works of history and former producer for the BBC, Graeme Kent tells the story of desertion anecdotally, beginning thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt and continuing through the wars of the 20th century. For military history buffs, this audiobook won't cease to entertain as Telfer narrates these desertion stories throughout the ages.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting topic but... (3.5 stars)

I recently listened to a great book about ww2 deserters. I immediately purchased this when I saw it because I so enjoyed the other book and wanted to know more.
The book begins with a very interesting discussion of desertion through recorded time. It contains many interesting anecdotes and legends. It is a pleasant listen.

However, the discussion is somewhat shallow. The author doesn't address, with any real depth, the reasons and consequences of desertion. His discussion barely scratches the surface of a this very complex and important issue.
By the time the spotlight turns to WW I and II, the author uses so many different examples that the names and details become hard to follow. I would have enjoyed fewer stories and more in-depth analysis of the soldiers' experiences, reasons for and consequences of desertion. This is an emotional topic that seems hard to really grasp unless you've been in a combat situation. I hoped to finish the book with a better understanding of the psychological and social issues soldiers face when deciding to desert.

That being said, I recognize that my expectations and subsequent opinion of this work were definitely colored by a book I had previously read on the topic. Many listeners will find this book fascinating because of the endless variety of unique and interesting stories. I can say it was never boring. Also the book was very well researched. All in all, it is very entertaining.
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- Benoibe "audio addict! Mostly interested in history and some historical fiction. Will Durant is my all time favorite. Loving the Great Courses too."

Hardly Accountable

Would you try another book from Graeme Kent and/or John Telfer?


What was most disappointing about Graeme Kent’s story?

The story is supposed to be about "deserter's" through history. The book is read in a style more suited for a comedy. The book also appears to be part of a cover up. What cover up? There is not one word about the only American soldier executed for desertion Eddie Slovik, I am familiar with Mr. Slovic;s story and hoped for insights. But since the execution was done in secret it appears the story remains in the dark.

Would you be willing to try another one of John Telfer’s performances?


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

If believable hearing of a few well known men who were deserters.

Any additional comments?


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- Bill

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-27-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios