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This book is, as of this review, about 50 years old and hence the information tends to be a bit out of date. Mr Toland interviewed hundreds of people in the writing of this book and some of what is written was new and ground-breaking at the time, but subsequent accounts have tended to modify some of what is written or to at least put a different light on the subjects. In addition many newer books cover the same ground as in this book, even if with a slightly different view. Nonetheless this is a good book and covers much of what happened during the last 100 days of the European Theater of World War II.
Rather than a direct history of the ending of the war in Europe Mr Toland decided to present the ending days of World War II as a series of vignettes, each representing one part of the final days of The Third Reich, and this format works very well and presents information often not covered in normal histories of this period. For example there is a section on the greatest sea tragedy of World War II in Europe - the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff and its mostly civilian passengers by a Soviet submarine, we see into the minds of many of the German commanders who are given impossible orders by German generals who seem to have lost contact with reality and we see the tragedy of Poland, again to be betrayed, this time by the West. All in all this produces a history which is greater than just the sum of the individual pieces.
The book is narrated by Ralph Cosham who seems to have gotten some very bad reviews on this website. I have several histories that Mr Cosham has narrated and, in those as well as this, he does a fine job. However this particular book suffers from having what is perhaps the worst sound track of any of my many Audible books. The narration is a patchwork of cuts and re-recordings and the reader is constantly subjected to narration that changes in pitch and sound and these changes are very annoying. I do not blame Mr Cosham but it almost appears as though something happened to the original recording in places and Mr Cosham has had to constantly insert small segments into the original recording. Those changes are jarring to the ear and interrupt the smooth flow of the narrative. In reviewing this book I have tried to differentiate between the narration of Mr Cosham, which is just fine, and the cut-and-paste of the final result, which is just terrible.
All in all a mixed bag. The sound track, which sounds as though it was recorded at a much lower quality, is poor and listeners might want to listen to the sample fully before deciding if they wish to buy. The book itself is a worthwhile addition to understanding the end of WW II in Europe even if hard to listen to.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up The Last 100 Days in three words, what would they be?
A riveting account.
What did you like best about this story?
It was very informative.
What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
I ws not bored by his reading of the book. It was excellently read.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The story of the failed rescue of Gen. Patton's son in law.
Any additional comments?
It is well worth the time spent.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to The Last 100 Days the most enjoyable?
An excellent book covering all aspects of what happened during those momentous last 100 days of Nazi Germany. The authors reference to 100000 dead at Dresden though is factually incorrect. The actual figure has been determined at 25000. His statement that American paratroops fought for the first time since D Day in Operstion Varsity when the Allies crossed the Rhine caused me to wonder. What about Market Garden? The death of, and subsequent lynching, of Mussolini and his mistress was fascinating. The narration by Ralph Cosham was brilliant. All in all an excellent book that is well worth a listen.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Hopefully we do not see much of this in the 21 century. With that said, credit worthy listen.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful