The ninth installation in prolific military historian Mark Zuehlke's acclaimed Canadian Battles series, Breakout from Juno: First Canadian Army and the Normandy Campaign, July 4 - August 21, 1944 follows Canadian forces through their involvement in D-Day and beyond as World War II came to a close.
The action in this educational and engrossing audiobook is easy to follow, with voice actor Dan Woren turning in a clear and well-paced performance, his sharp and careful intonation bringing polish to this engaging history. Zuehlke moves swiftly through the series of battles and advances which ultimately contribute to the demolition of the German army in Normandy.
The ninth book in the Canadian Battle Series, Breakout from Juno, is the first dramatic chronicling of Canada's pivotal role throughout the entire Normandy Campaign following the D-Day landings.
On July 4, 1944, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division won the village of Carpiquet but not the adjacent airfield. Instead of a speedy victory, the men faced a bloody fight. The Canadians advanced relentlessly at a great cost in bloodshed. Within 2 weeks the 2nd Infantry and 4th Armoured divisions joined coming together as the First Canadian Army.The soldiers fought within a narrow landscape extending a mere 21 miles from Caen to Falaise. They won a two-day battle for Verrires Ridge starting on July 21, after 1,500 casualties. More bloody battles followed, until finally, on August 21, the narrowing gap that had been developing at Falaise closed when American and Canadian troops shook hands.
The German army in Normandy had been destroyed, with only 18,000 of about 400,000 men escaping. The Allies suffered 206,000 casualties, of which 18,444 were Canadians.
Breakout from Juno is a story of uncommon heroism, endurance, and sacrifice by Canada's World War II volunteer army and pays tribute to Canada's veterans.
©2012 Mark Zuehlke (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
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"Interesting look at the Canadian contribution"
I've enjoyed reading more about the Canadian contribution to the Second World War. It's spectacular to recognize the growth in the Canadian Army to field so many troops. It's amazing what they were able to achieve.
"Disappointing narration and geography"
The pronunciation of French towns is so confusing as to be be misleading. For example, the airfield at Carpiquet is a key element in the story; The narrator consistently calls it "Kew-picket"... it was many references later that I realized the town he was talking about is the one which should correctly be pronounced "CAR-pee-kay."
And "Loo-tenant"-general Crerar... "Loo-tenant?" Really? In the Canadian Army? Try "Lef-tenant," please.
As a Canadian who owns a house in Normandy, and quite familiar with the places in this story, I was surprised to hear a significant geographical error within in the first 10 minutes of listening. The Cotentin peninsula is in Normandy, not Brittany.
I applaud that this project was done. But I've outgrown giving reward stars to Canadian-focused productions just for trying.
"Well Researched Account of Canadian Forces"
This audiobook receives a 9.24 out of 10 on my Modified Indexed Listening Formula (MILF) scale. I own somewhere in the low four digits of audiobooks, so the above mentioned rating is my way of saying get this audiobook! If you are interested in books about Normandy operations and the fighting inland around Caen, then you will not find a more in depth account from Audible.
There was more of an accumulation of memorable moments that leave a lasting impression - Canadian soldiers fought with tenacity and valor against some of the most determined and well led soldiers Germany could produce - 12SS PzD "Hitlerjugend" and other I & II SS Korps forces. There was absolutely no love lost between the Canadian and Hitlerjugend soldiers, and I am putting it mildly. If the Canadian forces had mid level and divisional commanders even half as combat savvy and competent as the German forces had, then the Canadians would not have suffered such terrible losses in men and materiel in the July and August operations south of Caen.
Favorite scene does not really fit with my impression of this military history audiobook. A scene that I particularly remember was the fierce fighting in and around St. Andre, May-sur-Orne and Verriers Ridge areas between the Black Watch Regiment and elements of 9SS PzD "Hohenhstaufen". Listening to Mr. Zuehlke's account of this area of operations, one gets a strong sense of the vulnerability Canadian forces had in attacking a well entrenched enemy, armed with state of the art equipment - 1 Mg-42 per 12 riflemen, powerful Panther tanks able to knock out Canadian armor from a long distance, and support from Nebelwerfer detachments able to bring down deadly accurate fire observed from Verriers Ridge.
Of course I didn't laugh or cry - this is a well researched, sober account of a hard fought area of operations during the inland fighting phase of the Normandy campaign. Mr. Zuehlke provided a much needed / deserved historical spotlight on the Canadian forces who bore the brunt of intense, bloody fighting during the above mentioned time period.
This is a very well written book by a military historian of the first water. Mr. Zuehlke has done Canadian veterans and all students military history a huge service by writing this and the several other WWII books about the Canadian Corps contributions to the Allied victory over the Axis. This audiobook is a must for all students of military history. I must thank Audible for the availability of Mr. Zuehlke's books to us listeners.
Books like Breakout from Juno are what I and hopefully many other people want to see from Audible. I wish there were more audiobooks of this caliber available, and less mindless chick-lit formulaic romance dribble that takes so much of Audible's virtual book shelf space these days.
In my humble opinion, I think it is pathetic that there is such a big demand for that kind of audio-crap. For example, count up each week how many audiobooks are released that have a picture of some guy without a shirt with some clingy chic wrapped around his torso versus the number of books about actual scientific topics (not esp or how to live with yourself or ufo conspiracies) and history books like Breakout from Juno. For the record, I have not actually put figures to paper, but why should I? It is so overwhelmingly scaled on the audio crap side that I end up having to rant like I am doing right now. Audible can do better. I wish Audible would do better.
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