"4 star battle narrative, 3 star history"
This book is divided into roughly three equal sections, dealing with the causes of the civil war, the course of the war and finally it's aftermath. The best section is the course of the war and I would give this 4 stars. My problem is with the other two sections. Firstly the author quotes extensively from first hand accounts, which is not to my taste. The narrative tends to drift as a range of historical characters are used to reflect the proceedings. Some of the stories are good but unless you have a good grasp of American history of this period you may lose the threads of the main arguments.
"Slow plotting let's thriller down"
The reviews for this book were very good, not just audible listeners, but also national newspapers. This meant I had high expectations. It starts well but over time the lack of pace started to grate. The writing wasn't good enough to make the main character interesting in her own right, and the plot revelations came too slowly. I found myself speeding first to x1.5 and finally x2, which isn't a good sign. The book finally builds some schlocky drama at the end, and I can see why Hollywood thinks it might make a good thriller.
Over 40 hours but never a dull moment. Judt skill is to give you an overview of the events, but he excels in his analysis. There are all sorts of revelations such as the West didn't mind the Berlin Wall, or there was no chance of a nuclear war. He gives time to all the countries, but also groups parts of the book by themes. Very strong on the political and intellectual history, less so on the cultural, but alway enjoyable. One of the best history books I have ever read.
"A slight let down"
?I got this on the the strength of listening to Lippman's 'What the Dead Know' which was brilliant. ?Maybe my expectations were too high but I was disappointed. I thought the characters were interesting, particular the son, and the plot was unusually and fairly inventive. ?Lippman is certainly a good writer but it never fully engaged me as we kept getting side tracked into the back story and family life of Tess. ?Maybe. I would have enjoyed it more if I had read earlier books, but I'm not sure if I'll give Tess the chance. ?I think I'll checkout more Pike and Cole instead.
I,m a big fan of history and I was looking forward to this book, as it has good reviews. I had studied this period when at school but I didn't know it in great detail. However I couldn't get into it particular the politic. Whole passages went by and I couldn't remember what had been said, and nore did I feel the urge to rewind. Not sure why I didn't like it. There was some good analysis, and the scholarship seemed up to date, but the writing and the narration made it feel old fashioned. There are other volumes in the same series that I am interested so I hope they are better.
" Great thriller"
This is the best thriller I have listen/read since Child 44. Being a parent I'm not normally drawn to novels about the kidnap of children, but don't be put off by this. The details of what happened come out slowly but the writing and characters are of a high order and keep you hooked. The narration is also excellent.
"First class thriller"
As always Crais delivers a tightly plotted thriller using his two class characters, Pike and Cole. Pike is the main focus, although there is usually more fun to be had when Cole is in the picture. The main baddy is a rather off the peg psycho but he does make a good adversary for Pike. Good entertainment.
I think Ferguson is an engaging and provocative historian but he tries too hard to be different in this book and it comes across as a messy listen. So much has been written about WW1 that Ferguson is up against it to try and say anything new. He tries two tactics. He firstly plays to one of his strengths, the importance of finance in history, which I don't fine that interesting. The other is trying to counter perceived notions about the war. For example that that Germany in the last years of the war was starving at home and that this undermine the army, not the case says Fergunson. He blames the leadership for the defeat. Lots of complicated arguments which don't help for a good narrative
The first novel in this series was a good start but after the novelty has worn off this became a bit of a confusing bore.
"Solid and vast telling of a familiar tale"
Having studied a lot of this period there was still plenty of new material and analysis. How the battle between the Nazi's and the left wing parties played out was particulary interesting. However it didn't grip fully as there are still two parts to go and I still haven't decided to get them.