This is an excellent account of how a crisis can degenerate into a war. I know the history of the Middle East quite well but learned a great deal from this book -- particularly the reminders about how worthless security guarantees from Europe and the US can be. My only criticism of the book itself is that the author sometimes takes memoirs at face value rather than putting them in the context of the motivations of the writer and the subject: for example, are a few of the Yiddish bon mots what the players wish they had said or were they really that quick witted? The narrator is good and the reading is never dull but his pronunciation of Hebrew and Arabic terms is careless and sometimes unitelligible if you don't know what he is trying to say
I had read bits of the book years ago but I had forgotten how compelling it was. Shirer's day-by-day picture of life under the Nazis is uncannily accurate with the hindsight of history. He wrote beautifully although his growing loathing of the Nazis makes the later parts of the book more tirade than report -- loathing the Nazis was, of course, justified but I wish Shirer had tried harder to understand why otherwise-rational Germans didn't share his hatred. He often resorts to sweeping stereotypes about "the German character" and he fails to pursue insights on the Nazi use of class resentment and modern media. Still, worth every minute of listening and the reading adds extra resonance to every sentence.
This is a series of conferences covering 3 wars which defined the Greco-Roman world: the Persian War, the Peleponesian War and the 3 Punic wars.
The lectures are given in a lively and humourous tone by a professor which seems to know and love the topic matter. These ancient events are brought to life as if one was there as an "embedded" journalist.
The weakest parts of this audiobook are: 1) the first 10-15 minutes where we go through a slightly pedantic and PC preamble (but do continue, the rest is excellent) and 2) when the scholar tries to justify the title of "Wars That Made the Western World" to describe 3 wars that occured at least 200 years before the bith of Jesus Christ. These might have been imprortant wars, but unfortunately, there have been many other wars in the 2000 years since then.
Still, all in all, a stellar performance, about a topic most people have barely heard about.