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  1. 15.7 hrs • 9/6/2016 • Unabridged

    Bologna, 1858: A police posse, acting on the orders of a Catholic inquisitor, invades the home of a Jewish merchant, Momolo Mortara, wrenches his crying six-year-old son from his arms, and rushes him off in a carriage bound for Rome. His mother is so distraught that she collapses and has to be taken to a neighbor's house, but her weeping can be heard across the city. With this terrifying scene--one that would haunt this family forever--David I. Kertzer begins his fascinating investigation of the dramatic kidnapping, and shows how the deep-rooted antisemitism of the Catholic Church would eventually contribute to the collapse of its temporal power in Italy.  As Edgardo's parents desperately search for a way to get their son back, they learn why he--out of all their eight children--was taken. Years earlier, the family's Catholic serving girl, fearful that the infant might die of an illness, had secretly baptized him (or so she claimed). Edgardo recovered, but when the story reached the Bologna Inquisitor, the result was his order for Edgardo to be seized and sent to a special monastery where Jews were converted into good Catholics. His justification in Church teachings: No Christian child could be raised by Jewish parents.  The case of Edgardo Mortara became an international cause célèbre. Although such kidnappings were not uncommon in Jewish communities across Europe, this time the political climate had changed. As news of the family's plight spread to Britain, where the Rothschilds got involved, to France, where it mobilized Napoleon III, and even to America, public opinion turned against the Vatican. The fate of this one boy came to symbolize the entire revolutionary campaign of Mazzini and Garibaldi to end the dominance of the Catholic Church and establish a modern, secular Italian state.  A riveting story which has been remarkably ignored by modern historians--The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara will prompt intense interest and discussion as it lays bare attitudes of the Catholic Church that would have such enormous consequences in the twentieth century.

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    The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara

    15.7 hrs • 9/6/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 7.8 hrs • 7/8/2016 • Unabridged

    Had the Angles and Saxons not purposefully migrated to the isles of the Britons and brought with them their well-developed use of language, Angelina Jolie may never have appeared in the movie Beowulf. Professor Michael Drout is at his best when lecturing on the fascinating history, language, and societal adaptations of the Anglo-Saxons. He not only presents their storytelling abilities using their own words; he does so in their own voice-the incredibly melodious Old English. Drout’s scholarship and recognized expertise on this subject is of the highest caliber.

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    The Anglo-Saxon World

    7.8 hrs • 7/8/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 8.9 hrs • 5/5/2015 • Unabridged

    From the New York Times bestselling author and master of martial fiction comes the definitive history of one of the greatest battles ever fought—a riveting nonfiction chronicle published to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s last stand. On June 18, 1815, the armies of France, Britain and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days, the French army had beaten the Prussians at Ligny and fought the British to a standstill at Quatre-Bras. The Allies were in retreat. The little village north of where they turned to fight the French army was called Waterloo. The blood-soaked battle to which it gave its name would become a landmark in European history. In his first work of nonfiction, Bernard Cornwell combines his storytelling skills with a meticulously researched history to give a riveting chronicle of every dramatic moment, from Napoleon’s daring escape from Elba to the smoke and gore of the three battlefields and their aftermath. Through quotes from the letters and diaries of Emperor Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington, and the ordinary officers and soldiers, he brings to life how it actually felt to fight those famous battles—as well as the moments of amazing bravery on both sides that left the actual outcome hanging in the balance until the bitter end. Published to coincide with the battle’s bicentennial in 2015, Waterloo is a tense and gripping story of heroism and tragedy—and of the final battle that determined the fate of nineteenth-century Europe.

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    Waterloo

    8.9 hrs • 5/5/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 11.1 hrs • 3/10/2015 • Unabridged

    A meticulously researched historical tour de force in the style of the bestselling In the Garden of Beasts Historian Andrew Morton’s 17 Carnations combines his considerable research background with his proven talent for addictive and readable narrative, giving us a true story steeped in intrigue, suspense, and historical drama. 17 Carnations tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, and his wife Wallis Simpson, whose affair with Joachim von Ribbentrop embroiled the duke in a German plot to use him as a puppet king during their takeover of the British Empire. Although we know that the war ended with Hitler’s defeat, Edward’s story was far from over. The duke’s collaboration with Hitler had resulted in piles of correspondence between them. This damning correspondence, now hidden in a German castle that had fallen to American soldiers, could forever tarnish the reputation of the royal family. 17 Carnations reveals, for the first time in history, the story of the cover-up of those letters, starting with a daring heist—by order of Churchill and the king themselves—to bring the letters back safely to England and out of American hands. Morton’s unique experience and training make him the perfect person to tell this story as it’s never been told before, fusing history and entertainment to create a vivid, atmospheric chronicle of the Windsors’ darkest secrets. The shadowy connection between the House of Windsor, the German aristocracy, and Hitler has hovered on the edge of public consciousness for decades, but no royal biography or historical chronicle has been able to tell the full story—until now. Drawing on FBI documents, material from the German and British Royal Archives, and the personal correspondence of Churchill, Truman, Eisenhower, and the Windsors themselves, 17 Carnations is a dazzling historical drama full of adventure, intrigue, and startling revelations by a master of the genre.

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    17 Carnations

    11.1 hrs • 3/10/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 3.1 hrs • 2/10/2015 • Unabridged

    A heroic tale of four hundred soldiers who changed the course of history, The Longest Afternoon will be become as an instant classic of military history. In 1815 the deposed emperor Napoleon returned to France and threatened the already devastated and exhausted continent with yet another war. Near the small Belgian municipality of Waterloo, two large, hastily mobilized armies faced each other to decide the future of Europe—Napoleon’s forces on one side and the Duke of Wellington on the other. With so much at stake, neither commander could have predicted that the battle would be decided by the Second Light Battalion, King’s German Legion, which was given the deceptively simple task of defending the Haye Sainte farmhouse, a crucial crossroads on the way to Brussels. In The Longest Afternoon, Brendan Simms recounts how these four-hundred-odd riflemen beat back wave after wave of French infantry until they were finally forced to withdraw, but only after holding up Napoleon for so long that he lost the overall contest. Their actions alone decided the most influential battle in European history.

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    The Longest Afternoon

    3.1 hrs • 2/10/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 13.7 hrs • 10/28/2014 • Unabridged

    The profoundly inspiring and fully documented saga of Joan of Arc, the young peasant girl whose “voices” moved her to rally the French nation and a reluctant king against British invaders in 1428, has fascinated artistic figures as diverse as William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Voltaire, George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, Carl Dreyer, and Robert Bresson. Was she a divinely inspired saint? A schizophrenic? A demonically possessed heretic, as her persecutors and captors tried to prove? Every era must retell and reimagine the Maid of Orleans’ extraordinary story in its own way, and in Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured, the superb novelist and memoirist Kathryn Harrison gives us a Joan for our time—a shining exemplar of unshakable faith, extraordinary courage, and self-confidence during a brutally rigged ecclesiastical inquisition and in the face of her death by burning. Deftly weaving historical fact, myth, folklore, artistic representations, and centuries of scholarly and critical interpretation into a compelling narrative, she restores Joan of Arc to her rightful position as one of the greatest heroines in all of human history.

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    Joan of Arc

    13.7 hrs • 10/28/14 • Unabridged
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  7. 14.2 hrs • 1/28/2014 • Unabridged

    From National Book Award finalist David I. Kertzer comes the gripping story of Pope Pius XI’s secret relations with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. This groundbreaking work, based on seven years of research in the Vatican and Fascist archives, including reports from Mussolini’s spies inside the highest levels of the Catholic church, will forever change our understanding of the Vatican’s role in the rise of Fascism in Europe. The Pope and Mussolini tells the story of two men who came to power in 1922 and together changed the course of twentieth-century history. In most respects, they could not have been more different: one was scholarly and devout, the other thuggish and profane. Yet Pius XI and “Il Duce” had many things in common. They shared a distrust of democracy and a visceral hatred of Communism. Both were prone to sudden fits of temper and were fiercely protective of the prerogatives of their office. (“We have many interests to protect,” the Pope declared, soon after Mussolini seized control of the government in 1922.) Each relied on the other to consolidate his power and achieve his political goals. In a challenge to the conventional history of this period, in which a heroic church does battle with the Fascist regime, Kertzer shows how Pius XI played a crucial role in making Mussolini’s dictatorship possible and keeping him in power. In exchange for Vatican support, Mussolini restored many of the privileges the church had lost and gave in to the pope’s demands that the police enforce Catholic morality. Yet in the last years of his life—as the Italian dictator grew ever closer to Hitler—the pontiff’s faith in this treacherous bargain started to waver. With his health failing, he began to lash out at the Duce and threatened to denounce Mussolini’s anti-Semitic racial laws before it was too late. Horrified by the threat to the Church-Fascist alliance, the Vatican’s inner circle, including the future Pope Pius XII, struggled to restrain the headstrong pope from destroying a partnership that had served both the church and the dictator for many years. The Pope and Mussolini brims with memorable portraits of the men who helped enable the reign of Fascism in Italy: Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi, Pius’s personal emissary to the dictator, a wily anti-Semite known as Mussolini’s Rasputin; Victor Emmanuel III, the king of Italy, an object of widespread derision who lacked the stature—literally and figuratively—to stand up to the domineering Duce; and Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, whose political skills and ambition made him Mussolini’s most powerful ally inside the Vatican, and positioned him to succeed the pontiff as the controversial Pius XII, whose actions during World War II would be subject for debate for decades to come. With the recent opening of the Vatican archives covering Pius XI’s papacy, the full story of the Pope’s complex relationship with his Fascist partner can finally be told. Vivid, dramatic, with surprises at every turn, The Pope and Mussolini is history writ large and with the lightning hand of truth.

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    The Pope and Mussolini

    14.2 hrs • 1/28/14 • Unabridged
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  8. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    6.8 hrs • 1/1/2014 • Unabridged

    More than sixty years have passed since the outbreak of the most catastrophic conflict the world has known: thirty million people dead and unbelievable devastation. In the third edition of this popular volume, Keith Eubank seeks answers to the questions that have plagued us: Why, after the ghastly ordeal of World War I did Western powers undervalue the threat from Hitler? Why was there so much reluctance on the part of Britain and France to confront Germany? Why had Germany been permitted to rearm and to occupy independent nations without a struggle? What was the policy of appeasement? Why did the appeasers fail to perceive Hitler’s intentions? In addition to a reexamination of these questions and an effort to dispel the enduring myths surrounding the history of this era, Keith Eubank has enhanced this new edition by including an analysis of the motivations and actions of central figures such as Neville Chamberlain and Joseph Stalin as well as a re-assessment of Soviet policies in the light of recent research that reveals their leaders as far less altruistic than some have imagined. With an expanded conclusion, an updated bibliographic essay, this audiobook remains an excellent brief overview of the period between 1918 and 1939.

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    The Origins of World War II

    6.8 hrs • 1/1/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 32.0 hrs • 10/29/2013 • Unabridged

    From the bestselling and award-winning author of Paris 1919 comes a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, a fascinating portrait of Europe from 1900 up to the outbreak of World War I. The century since the end of the Napoleonic wars had been the most peaceful era Europe had known since the fall of the Roman Empire. In the first years of the twentieth century, Europe believed it was marching to a golden, happy, and prosperous future. But instead, complex personalities and rivalries, colonialism and ethnic nationalism, and shifting alliances helped to bring about the failure of the long peace and the outbreak of a war that transformed Europe and the world. The War That Ended Peace brings vividly to life the military leaders, politicians, diplomats, bankers, and the extended, interrelated family of crowned heads across Europe who failed to stop the descent into war: in Germany, the mercurial Kaiser Wilhelm II and the chief of the German general staff, Von Moltke the Younger; in Austria-Hungary, Emperor Franz Joseph, a man who tried, through sheer hard work, to stave off the coming chaos in his empire; in Russia, Tsar Nicholas II and his wife; in Britain, King Edward VII, Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, and British admiral Jacky Fisher, the fierce advocate of naval reform who entered into the arms race with Germany that pushed the continent toward confrontation on land and sea. There are the would-be peacemakers as well, among them prophets of the horrors of future wars whose warnings went unheeded: Alfred Nobel, who donated his fortune to the cause of international understanding; and Bertha von Suttner, a writer and activist who was the first woman awarded Nobel’s new Peace Prize. Here too we meet the urbane and cosmopolitan Count Harry Kessler, who noticed many of the early signs that something was stirring in Europe; the young Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty and a rising figure in British politics; Madame Caillaux, who shot a man who might have been a force for peace; and more. With indelible portraits, MacMillan shows how the fateful decisions of a few powerful people changed the course of history. Taut, suspenseful, and impossible to put down, The War That Ended Peace is also a wise cautionary reminder of how wars happen in spite of the nearly universal desire to keep the peace. Destined to become a classic in the tradition of Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August, The War That Ended Peace enriches our understanding of one of the defining periods and events of the twentieth century.

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    The War That Ended Peace

    32.0 hrs • 10/29/13 • Unabridged
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  10. 14.6 hrs • 10/29/2013 • Unabridged

    Pulitzer Prize–winning and bestselling historian James MacGregor Burns explores the most daring and productive intellectual movement in history, the European and American Enlightenment. In this engaging history, James MacGregor Burns brings to vivid life the two-hundred-year conflagration of the Enlightenment, during which audacious questions and astonishing ideas tore across Europe and the New World, transforming thought, bringing down governments, and inspiring visionary political experiments that would ultimately reach every corner of the globe. Unlike most historians, Burns pays particular attention to America’s intellectual revolution, beginning and ending his story on American soil. He discovers the origins of our domestic enlightenment in men like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson and their early encounters with incendiary European ideas about liberty and equality, and he highlights the role of thinkers like James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. After all, it was the American founders, alone among Enlightenment thinkers, who actually carried through with their ideas. Today the same questions Enlightenment thinkers grappled with have taken on new urgency around the world: in the blossoming Arab Spring, in the former Soviet Union, China, and in the United States. What should a nation be? What should a citizenry expect from its government? Who should lead and decide? How can citizens effect change? What is happiness, and what can the state contribute to it? Burns’ exploration of the ideals and arguments that formed the bedrock of our nation shines a new light on these ever-important questions.

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    Fire and Light

    14.6 hrs • 10/29/13 • Unabridged
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  11. 10.1 hrs • 7/2/2013 • Unabridged

    Bletchley Park looked like any other sprawling country estate. In reality, however, it was the top-secret headquarters of Britain’s Government Code and Cypher School, and the site where Germany’s legendary Enigma code was finally cracked. There, the nation’s most brilliant mathematical minds, including Alan Turing, whose discoveries at Bletchley would fuel the birth of modern computing-toiled alongside debutantes, factory workers, and students on projects of international importance. Until now, little has been revealed about ordinary life at this extraordinary facility. Drawing on remarkable first-hand interviews, The Secret Lives of Codebreakers reveals the entertainments, pastimes, and furtive romances that helped ease the incredible pressures faced by these covert operatives as they worked to turn the tide of World War II.

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    The Secret Lives of Codebreakers

    10.1 hrs • 7/2/13 • Unabridged
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  12. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    11.4 hrs • 5/14/2013 • Abridged

    The eagerly awaited final volume in Pulitzer Prize–winner Rick Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy It is the twentieth century’s unrivaled epic: at a staggering price, the United States and its allies liberated Europe and vanquished Hitler. In the first two volumes of his New York Times bestselling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted the history of how the American-led coalition fought its way from North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now he tells the most dramatic story of all—the titanic battle in western Europe. D-day marked the commencement of the war’s final campaign, and Atkinson’s astonishingly fresh account of that enormous gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows. The brutal fight in Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the disaster that was Market Garden, the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and finally the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich—all of these historic moments come utterly alive. Atkinson tells the tale from the perspective of participants at all levels, from presidents and prime ministers, from war-weary lieutenants to terrified teenage riflemen. When Germany at last surrenders, we understand anew both the devastating cost of this global conflagration and the awe-inspiring effort that led to Germany’s surrender. With the stirring final volume of this monumental trilogy, Rick Atkinson’s remarkable accomplishment is manifest. He has produced the definitive chronicle of the war that restored freedom to the West. His lively, lyric prose brings the vast theater of battle, from the beaches of Normandy to deep into Germany, brilliantly alive. It is hard to imagine a better history of the western front’s final phase.

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    The Guns at Last Light

    11.4 hrs • 5/14/13 • Abridged
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  13. 1 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (1)
    32.3 hrs • 5/14/2013 • Unabridged

    The eagerly awaited final volume in Pulitzer Prize–winner Rick Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy It is the twentieth century’s unrivaled epic: at a staggering price, the United States and its allies liberated Europe and vanquished Hitler. In the first two volumes of his New York Times bestselling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted the history of how the American-led coalition fought its way from North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now he tells the most dramatic story of all—the titanic battle in western Europe. D-day marked the commencement of the war’s final campaign, and Atkinson’s astonishingly fresh account of that enormous gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows. The brutal fight in Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the disaster that was Market Garden, the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and finally the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich—all of these historic moments come utterly alive. Atkinson tells the tale from the perspective of participants at all levels, from presidents and prime ministers, from war-weary lieutenants to terrified teenage riflemen. When Germany at last surrenders, we understand anew both the devastating cost of this global conflagration and the awe-inspiring effort that led to Germany’s surrender. With the stirring final volume of this monumental trilogy, Rick Atkinson’s remarkable accomplishment is manifest. He has produced the definitive chronicle of the war that restored freedom to the West. His lively, lyric prose brings the vast theater of battle, from the beaches of Normandy to deep into Germany, brilliantly alive. It is hard to imagine a better history of the western front’s final phase.

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    The Guns at Last Light

    32.3 hrs • 5/14/13 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (1)
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  14. 13.5 hrs • 9/18/2012 • Unabridged

    Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo—a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature. Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave—who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.  Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East—until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat. The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of eighteenth-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multiracial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

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    The Black Count

    13.5 hrs • 9/18/12 • Unabridged
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  15. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    24.9 hrs • 2/23/2010 • Unabridged

    Acclaimed historian G. J. Meyer provides a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty—and some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country. In 1485, Henry Tudor, whose claim to the English throne was so weak as to be almost laughable, nevertheless sailed from France with a ragtag army to take the crown from the family that had ruled England for almost four centuries. Fifty years later, his son, Henry VIII, aimed to seize even greater powers—ultimately leaving behind a brutal legacy that would blight the lives of his children and the destiny of his country. Edward VI, a fervent believer in reforming the English church, died before realizing his dream. Mary I, the disgraced daughter of Catherine of Aragon, tried and failed to reestablish the Catholic Church and produce an heir, while Elizabeth I sacrificed all chance of personal happiness in order to survive. The Tudors presents the sinners and saints, the tragedies and triumphs, the high dreams and dark crimes, of this enthralling era.

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    The Tudors

    24.9 hrs • 2/23/10 • Unabridged
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  16. 9.5 hrs • 6/2/2009 • Unabridged

    In a masterful dual narrative that pits the heights of human ambition and achievement against the supremacy of nature, New York Times bestselling author Stephan Talty tells the story of a mighty ruler and a tiny microbe, antagonists whose struggle would shape the modern world. In the spring of 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte was at the height of his powers. Forty-five million called him emperor, and he commanded a nation that was the richest, most cultured, and advanced on earth. No army could stand against his impeccably trained, brilliantly led forces, and his continued sweep across Europe seemed inevitable. Early that year, bolstered by his successes, Napoleon turned his attentions toward Moscow, helming the largest invasion in human history. Surely, Tsar Alexander’s outnumbered troops would crumble against this mighty force. But another powerful and ancient enemy awaited Napoleon’s men in the Russian steppes. Virulent and swift, this microscopic foe would bring the emperor to his knees. Even as the Russians retreated before him in disarray, Napoleon found his army disappearing, his frantic doctors powerless to explain what had struck down a hundred thousand soldiers. The emperor’s vaunted military brilliance suddenly seemed useless, and when the Russians put their own occupied capital to the torch, the campaign became a desperate race through the frozen landscape as troops continued to die by the thousands. Through it all, with tragic heroism, Napoleon’s disease-ravaged, freezing, starving men somehow rallied, again and again, to cries of “Vive l’Empereur!” Yet Talty’s sweeping tale takes us far beyond the doomed heroics and bloody clashes of the battlefield. The Illustrious Dead delves deep into the origins of the pathogen that finally ended the mighty emperor’s dreams of world conquest and exposes this “war plague’s” hidden role throughout history. A tale of two unstoppable forces meeting on the road to Moscow in an epic clash of killer microbe and peerless army, The Illustrious Dead is a historical whodunit in which a million lives hang in the balance.

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    The Illustrious Dead

    9.5 hrs • 6/2/09 • Unabridged
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