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World War I

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  1. 12.2 hrs • 8/1/2016 • Unabridged

    A dramatic and fascinating account of aerial combat during World War I, revealing the terrible risks taken by the men who fought and died in the world’s first war in the air Little more than ten years after the first powered flight, aircraft were pressed into service in World War I. Nearly forgotten in the war’s massive overall death toll, some 50,000 aircrew would die in the combatant nations’ fledgling air forces. The romance of aviation had a remarkable grip on the public imagination, propaganda focusing on gallant air “aces” who become national heroes. The reality was horribly different. Marked for Death debunks popular myth to explore the brutal truths of wartime aviation: of flimsy planes and unprotected pilots; of burning, screaming nineteen-year-olds falling to their deaths; of pilots blinded by the entrails of their observers. James Hamilton-Paterson also reveals how four years of war produced profound changes both in the aircraft themselves and in military attitudes and strategy. By 1918 it was widely accepted that domination of the air above the battlefield was crucial to military success, a realization that would change the nature of warfare forever.

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    Marked for Death by James Hamilton-Paterson

    Marked for Death

    12.2 hrs • 8/1/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 11.9 hrs • 5/10/2016 • Unabridged

    A vivid, thrilling, and impeccably researched account of America’s bloodiest battle ever—World War I’s Meuse-Argonne Offensive—and the 100-year-old cover-up at its heart. The year is 1918. German engineers have fortified Montfaucon, a rocky butte in northern France, with bunkers, tunnels, trenches, and a top-secret observatory capable of directing artillery shells across the battlefield. Following a number of unsuccessful attacks, the French deem Montfaucon impregnable and dub it the Little Gibraltar of the Western Front. Capturing it is a key to success for AEF Commander-in-Chief John J. Pershing’s 1.2 million troops. But a betrayal of Americans by Americans results in a bloody debacle. Now William T. Walker tells the full story in his masterful Betrayal at Little Gibraltar. In the assault on Montfaucon, American forces become bogged down, a delay that cost untold lives as the Germans defended their lofty positions without mercy. Years of archival research demonstrate that the actual cause of the delay was the disobedience of a senior American officer, Major General Robert E. Lee Bullard, who subverted orders to assist the US 79th Division. The result was unnecessary slaughter of American doughboys and preclusion of plans to end the war early. Although several officers learned of the circumstances, Pershing protected Bullard—an old friend and fellow West Point graduate—by covering up the story. The true account of the battle that cost 122,000 American casualties was almost lost to time. Betrayal at Little Gibraltar tells the vivid human stories of the soldiers who fought to capture the giant fortress and push the American advance. Using unpublished first-person accounts, Walker describes the horrors of World War I combat, the sacrifices of the doughboys, and the determined efforts of two participants to pierce the cover-up and solve the mystery of Montfaucon. Like Stephen Ambrose and S. C. Gwynne, Walker writes compelling popular history.

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    Betrayal at Little Gibraltar by William Walker

    Betrayal at Little Gibraltar

    11.9 hrs • 5/10/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 9.0 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    The dark story of Adolf Hitler’s life in 1924. Adolf Hitler spent 1924 away from society and surrounded by co-conspirators of the failed Beer Hall Putsch. Behind bars in a prison near Munich, Hitler passed the year with deep reading and intensive writing, a year of slowly walking gravel paths while working feverishly on his book Mein Kampf. This was the year of Hitler’s final transformation into the self-proclaimed savior and infallible leader who would appropriate Germany’s historical traditions and bring them into his vision for the Third Reich. Until now, no one has devoted an entire book to the single, dark year of Hitler’s incarceration following his attempted coup. Peter Ross Range richly depicts this year that bore to the world a monster.

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    1924

    9.0 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 12.5 hrs • 11/17/2015 • Unabridged

    The legendary historian and author of A Savage War of Peace and The Price of Glory distills a lifetime’s study to reflect on six critical battles that changed the course of the twentieth century. Sir Alistair Horne has been a close observer of war and history for more than fifty years. In this wise and masterly work that he calls his “summa,” he revisits six battles of the past century and examines the strategies, leadership, preparation, and geopolitical goals of aggressors and defenders, to reveal the one trait that links them all: hubris. In Greek tragedy, hubris is excessive human pride that challenges the gods and ultimately leads to downfall. From the Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War to Hitler’s 1940 invasion of Moscow to MacArthur’s disastrous advance in Korea, Horne shows how each of these battles was won or lost due to excessive hubris on one side or the other. In a sweeping narrative written with his trademark erudition and wit, Horne provides a meticulously detailed analysis of the ground maneuvers employed by the opposing armies in each battle. He also explores the strategic and psychological mindset of the military leaders involved to demonstrate how a devastating combination of human ambition and arrogance led to overreach. Making clear the danger of hubris in warfare, his insights are deeply relevant and hold important lessons for civilian and military leaders navigating today’s complex global landscape. A dramatic, colorful, stylishly written history, Hubris is a brilliant and much-needed reflection on war from a master of his field.

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    Hubris

    12.5 hrs • 11/17/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 16.0 hrs • 11/10/2015 • Unabridged

    Celebrated historian Winston Groom tells the intertwined and uniquely American tales of George Patton, Douglas MacArthur, and George Marshall—from the World War I battle that shaped them to their greatest achievement: leading the allies to victory in World War II. These three remarkable men-of-arms, who rose from the gruesome hell of the First World War to become the finest generals of their generation during World War II, redefined America’s ideas of military leadership and brought forth a new generation of American soldier. Their efforts revealed to the world the grit and determination that would become synonymous with America in the postwar years. Virginian George Marshall led his class at the Virginia Military Institute to become the principal planner of the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne, the greatest American operation, which ended the conflict. Afterward, he rose to become the Army’s chief of staff, where he balanced the volatility of generals such as Patton and MacArthur for the good of the country. Like Marshall, George Patton, who is remembered as one of the most heroic and controversial generals in American history, overcame early academic difficulties to graduate at the top of his class at West Point. He would build and command the Army’s burgeoning tank division, lead the successful invasion of North Africa during World War II, and die under mysterious circumstances in 1945. Douglas MacArthur also graduated at the top of his West Point class and became known as the “bravest man in the US Army” during the First World War, where he was commissioned as the youngest general in the armed forces. He commanded in the Pacific in World War II, where his strategy famously defeated the Empire of Japan. Filled with novel-worthy twists and turns, and set against the backdrop of the most dramatic moments of the twentieth century, The Generals is a powerful, action-packed book filled with marvelous surprises and insights into the lives of America’s most celebrated warriors.

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    The Generals  by Winston Groom

    The Generals

    16.0 hrs • 11/10/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 0.2 hrs • 5/13/2015 • Unabridged

    During the first world war, Zeppelin raids on London made the nighttime hideous. But then, on June 13th, 1917, something unexpected happened. The Daylight Raid is a collection of firsthand accounts of the first German attack on London from the air during broad daylight.

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    The Daylight Raid

    0.2 hrs • 5/13/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 0.2 hrs • 5/13/2015 • Unabridged

    This is Ewart’s firsthand account of his first visit to the trenches in February of 1915.

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    A First Visit to the Trenches

    0.2 hrs • 5/13/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    17.4 hrs • 5/12/2015 • Unabridged

    In 1914 the Ottoman Empire was depleted of men and resources after years of war against Balkan nationalist and Italian forces. But in the aftermath of the assassination in Sarajevo, the powers of Europe were sliding inexorably toward war, and not even the Middle East could escape the vast and enduring consequences of one of the most destructive conflicts in human history. The Great War spelled the end of the Ottomans, unleashing powerful forces that would forever change the face of the Middle East. In The Fall of the Ottomans, award-winning historian Eugene Rogan brings the First World War and its immediate aftermath in the Middle East to vivid life, uncovering the often ignored story of the region’s crucial role in the conflict. Bolstered by German money, arms, and military advisors, the Ottomans took on the Russian, British, and French forces, and tried to provoke Jihad against the Allies in their Muslim colonies. Unlike the static killing fields of the Western Front, the war in the Middle East was fast-moving and unpredictable, with the Turks inflicting decisive defeats on the Entente in Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, and Gaza before the tide of battle turned in the Allies’ favor. The great cities of Baghdad, Jerusalem, and, finally, Damascus fell to invading armies before the Ottomans agreed to an armistice in 1918. The postwar settlement led to the partition of Ottoman lands between the victorious powers, and laid the groundwork for the ongoing conflicts that continue to plague the modern Arab world. A sweeping narrative of battles and political intrigue from Gallipoli to Arabia, The Fall of the Ottomans is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Great War and the making of the modern Middle East.

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    The Fall of the Ottomans

    17.4 hrs • 5/12/15 • Unabridged
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  9. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    13.1 hrs • 4/15/2015 • Unabridged

    A startling and vivid account of World War I, Secret Warriors uncovers how wartime code-breaking, aeronautics, and scientific research laid the foundation for many of the innovations of the twentieth century. World War I is often viewed as a war fought by armies of millions living and fighting in trenches, aided by brutal machinery that cost the lives of many. But behind all of this an intellectual war was also being fought between engineers, chemists, code-breakers, physicists, doctors, mathematicians, and intelligence gatherers. This hidden war was to make a positive and lasting contribution to how war was conducted on land, at sea, and in the air and, most importantly, to life at home. Secret Warriors provides an invaluable and fresh history of World War I, profiling a number of the key incidents and figures that led to great leaps forward for the twentieth century. Told in a lively and colorful narrative style, Secret Warriors reveals the unknown side of this tragic conflict.

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    Secret Warriors by Taylor Downing

    Secret Warriors

    13.1 hrs • 4/15/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 0 reviews 0 5 4.3 4 out of 5 stars 4.3/5
    13.1 hrs • 3/10/2015 • Unabridged

    From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds” and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship—the fastest then in service—could outrun any threat. It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle to President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war.

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    Dead Wake

    13.1 hrs • 3/10/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 8.8 hrs • 2/24/2015 • Unabridged

    On the hundredth anniversary of its sinking, King and Wilson tell the story of the Lusitania’s glamorous passengers and the torpedo that ended an era and prompted the US entry into World War I. The RMS Lusitania was a ship of dreams, carrying millionaires and aristocrats, actresses and impresarios, writers and suffragettes—a microcosm of the last years of the waning Edwardian Era and the coming influences of the twentieth century. When the ocean liner left New York on its final voyage, it sailed from the new world to the old. Yet an encounter with a primitive German U-boat sent the vessel and its gilded passengers to their tragic deaths. A hundred years after the sinking, Lusitania remains an evocative ship of mystery. Was it carrying munitions that exploded? Did Winston Churchill engineer a conspiracy that doomed the liner? Lost amid these tangled skeins is the romantic, vibrant, and heartrending tale of the passengers who sailed aboard the Lusitania. Lives, relationships, and marriages ended in the icy waters off the Irish Sea; those who survived were left haunted and plagued with guilt. Now, authors Greg King and Penny Wilson resurrect this lost, glittering world to show the golden age of travel and illuminate the most prominent of Lusitania’s passengers Rarely was an era so glamorous. Rarely was a ship so magnificent. And rarely was the human element of tragedy so quickly lost to diplomatic maneuvers and militaristic threats.

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    Lusitania

    8.8 hrs • 2/24/15 • Unabridged
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  12. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    11.3 hrs • 12/30/2015 • Unabridged

    The Unsubstantial Air is the gripping story of the Americans who fought and died in the aerial battles of World War I. Much more than a traditional military history, it is an account of the excitement of becoming a pilot and flying in combat over the Western Front, told through the words and voices of the aviators themselves. A World War II pilot himself, the memoirist and critic Samuel Hynes revives the adventurous young men who inspired his own generation to take to the sky. The volunteer fliers were often privileged—the sorts of college athletes and Ivy League students who might appear in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and sometimes did. Others were country boys from the farms and ranches of the West. Hynes follows them from the flying clubs of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale and the grass airfields of Texas and Canada to training grounds in Europe and on to the front, where they learned how to fight a war in the air. And to the bars and clubs of Paris and London, where they unwound and discovered another kind of excitement, another challenge. He shows how east-coast aristocrats like Teddy Roosevelt’s son Quentin and Arizona roughnecks like Frank Luke the Balloon Buster all dreamed of chivalric single combat in the sky and how they came to know both the beauty of flight and the constant presence of death. By drawing on letters sent home, diaries kept, and memoirs published in the years that followed, Hynes brings to life the emotions, anxieties, and triumphs of the young pilots. They gasp in wonder at the world seen from a plane, struggle to keep their hands from freezing in open­ air cockpits, party with actresses and aristocrats, rest at Voltaire’s castle, and search for their friends’ bodies on the battlefield. Their romantic war becomes more than that—a harsh but often thrilling reality. Weaving together their testimonies, The Unsubstantial Air is a moving portrait of a generation coming of age under new and extreme circumstances.

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    The Unsubstantial Air

    11.3 hrs • 12/30/14 • Unabridged
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  13. 25.6 hrs • 11/13/2014 • Unabridged

    A searing and highly original analysis of the First World War and its anguished aftermath In the depths of the Great War, with millions dead and no imaginable end to the conflict, societies around the world began to buckle. The heart of the financial system shifted from London to New York. The infinite demands for men and materiel reached into countries far from the front. The strain of the war ravaged all economic and political assumptions, bringing unheard of changes in the social and industrial order. A century after the outbreak of fighting, Adam Tooze revisits this seismic moment in history, challenging the existing narrative of the war, its peace, and its aftereffects. From the day the United States enters the war in 1917 to the precipice of global financial ruin, Tooze delineates the world remade by American economic and military power. Tracing the ways in which countries came to terms with America’s centrality—including the slide into fascism—The Deluge is a chilling work of great originality that will fundamentally change how we view the legacy of World War I.

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    The Deluge

    25.6 hrs • 11/13/14 • Unabridged
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  14. 9.8 hrs • 9/22/2014 • Unabridged

    Bestselling military historian H. W. Crocker III turns his guns on the epic story of America’s involvement in the First World War with The Yanks Are Coming! A Military History of the United States in World War I. The year 2014 marks the centenary of the beginning of the Great War, and in Crocker’s sweeping, American-focused account, listeners will learn how George S. Patton, Douglas MacArthur, George C. Marshall (of the Marshall Plan), “Wild Bill” Donovan (future founder of the OSS, the World War II precursor to the CIA), Harry S. Truman, and many other American heroes earned their military spurs in during World War I; why, despite the efforts of the almost absurdly pacifistic administration of Woodrow Wilson, American involvement in the war was inevitable; how the First World War was “the war that made the modern world”—sweeping away most of the crowned heads of Europe, redrawing the map of the Middle East, setting the stage for the rise of communism and fascism; why the First World War marked America’s transition from a frontier power—some of our World War I generals had actually fought Indians—to a global superpower, with World War I generals like Douglas MacArthur living to see, and help shape, the nuclear age; about the “Young Lions of the War”—heroes who should not be forgotten, like air ace Eddie Rickenbacker, Sergeant Alvin York (memorably portrayed by Gary Cooper in the Academy Award–winning movie Sergeant York), and all four of Theodore Roosevelt’s sons (one of whom was killed). Stirring and full of brilliantly told stories of men at war, The Yanks Are Coming! will be the essential book for readers interested in rediscovering America’s role in the First World War on its hundredth anniversary.

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    The Yanks Are Coming! by H. W. Crocker III

    The Yanks Are Coming!

    9.8 hrs • 9/22/14 • Unabridged
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  15. 17.8 hrs • 6/30/2014 • Unabridged

    The Great War of 1914–1918 was the first mass conflict to fully mobilize the resources of industrial powers against one another, resulting in a brutal, bloody, protracted war of attrition between the world’s great economies. Now, one hundred years after the first guns of August rang out on the Western front, historian William Philpott reexamines the causes and lingering effects of the first truly modern war. Drawing on the experience of front line soldiers, munitions workers, politicians, and diplomats, War of Attrition explains for the first time why and how this new type of conflict was fought as it was fought; and how the attitudes and actions of political and military leaders, and the willing responses of their peoples, stamped the twentieth century with unprecedented carnage on—and behind—the battlefield. War of Attrition also establishes link between the bloody ground war in Europe and political situation in the wider world, particularly the United States. America did not enter the war until 1917, but, as Philpott demonstrates, the war came to America as early as 1914. By 1916, long before the Woodrow Wilson’s impassioned speech to Congress advocating for war, the United States was firmly aligned with the Allies, lending dollars and selling guns and opposing German attempts to spread submarine warfare. War of Attrition skillfully argues that the emergence of the United States on the world stage is directly related to her support for the conflagration that consumed so many European lives and livelihoods. In short, the war that ruined Europe enabled the rise of America.

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    War of Attrition

    17.8 hrs • 6/30/14 • Unabridged
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  16. 13.6 hrs • 5/13/2014 • Unabridged

    Enduring Courage is the sensational true story of Eddie Rickenbacker, America’s greatest flying ace. At the turn of the twentieth century, two new technologies—the car and airplane—took the nation’s imagination by storm as they burst, like comets, into American life. The brave souls that leaped into these dangerous contraptions and pushed them to unexplored extremes became new American heroes: the race-car driver and the flying ace. No individual did more to create and intensify these raw new roles than the tall, gangly Eddie Rickenbacker, who defied death over and over with such courage and pluck that a generation of Americans came to know his face better than the president’s. The son of poor, German-speaking Swiss immigrants in Columbus, Ohio, Rickenbacker overcame the specter of his father’s violent death, a debilitating handicap, and, later, accusations of being a German spy, to become the American military ace of aces in World War I and a Medal of Honor recipient. He and his high-spirited pilot comrades created a new kind of aviation warfare, as they pushed their machines to the edge of destruction—and often over it—without parachutes, radios, or radar. Enduring Courage is the electrifying story of the beginning of America’s love affair with speed—and how one man above all the rest showed a nation the way forward. No simple daredevil, he was an innovator on the racetrack, a skilled aerial dualist and squadron commander, and founder of Eastern Air Lines. Decades after his heroics against the Red Baron’s Flying Circus, he again showed a war-weary nation what it took to survive against nearly insurmountable odds when he and seven others endured a harrowing three-week ordeal adrift in the Pacific without food or water during World War II. For the first time, Enduring Courage peels back the layers of hero to reveal the man himself. With impeccable research and a gripping narrative, John F. Ross tells the unforgettable story of a man who pushed the limits of speed, endurance, and courage and emerged as an American legend.

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    Enduring Courage

    13.6 hrs • 5/13/14 • Unabridged
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