May 1945. Hitler is dead, and the Third Reich is little more than smoking rubble. No GI wants to be the last man killed in action against the Nazis. But for cigar-chewing, rough-talking, hard-drinking, hard-charging Captain Jack Lee and his men, there is one more mission: rescue 14 prominent French prisoners held in an SS-guarded castle high in the Austrian Alps. It's a dangerous mission, but Lee has help from a decorated German Wehrmacht officer and his men, who voluntarily join the fight.
Based on personal memoirs, author interviews, and official American, German, and French histories, The Last Battle is the nearly unbelievable story of the most improbable battle of World War II - a tale of unlikely allies, bravery, cowardice, and desperate combat between implacable enemies.
©2013 Stephen Harding (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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"Write the book, THEN the screenplay."
This book as a screenplay, which may have been at the back of the author's mind. There are a couple of themes you could work with - the continuum of loyalism, especially after the death of Hitler is one, how to best arrange for one's personal destiny if you know you're going to be on the losing side is another.
Ironically, the author spends much more time fleshing out the portrayal of the detainees and various German/Austrian notables. It could be he couldn't resist the thought of forcing the swashbuckling tank commander into a yankee stereotype, best introduced in a headlong rush of action.
There are the makings of a much better narrative than that which was told. Ultimately disappointing. A popular history written by someone hoping the screenplay gets picked up.
"An interesting piece of WW2 history"
Americans and German soldiers banding together to fight the vaunted and beleaguered SS divisions at the close of WW2. A story that every WW2 history buff must know.
"Well written and researched; narration suffers"
An interesting story, with heavy historical detail that can seem a bit TOO detailed if you expect it to read like a novel. The narrator's pronunciation of some of the German names, particularly Theodor Eicke, is bad enough to be annoying.
"Long on details, short on story"
I would have spent less time retelling the entire life stories of every single prisoner. So much detail is provided, it almost felt like the author was padding the book's length. The actual battle, and the events surrounding it, were well told. It just took hours and hours to get to it.
Yes, I would. He's a competent storyteller, and maybe this book just suffered from a lack of editing.
Definitely Captain Jack Lee, the American tank commander who led the defense of the castle.
Yes, I would. It's a good story, and one that few know about. A film version would refocus the book away from historical minutia, and towards the actual events.
There are so many prisoners, and the book spends so long on each one, I had trouble keeping track of who was who. Making a few quick notes on each one might help.
"pronunciations were amazing and great research"
good book what the title above said..I .would definitely recoment to ppl who have already read a lot about ww2 but r looking for a story that hasn't already been told a 100 times
A most enjoyable book. I Loved how this story came together, how it had to. The afterword I was most grateful for. Thank You.
"Title is very misleading"
The time of the book is very misleading in the sense that 95% of the book had nothing to do with the battle itself but with the politics between the French at the castle. The battle itself was very interesting but because the title I expected to hear more of the tactics and the collaboration between the Germans and the Americans and fighting this last battle. If you want a book about politics more than actually about war and a battle this would be looking to buy if you're looking for a book that has to do with an actual fight and how the battle developed this is not what you're looking for
"Great story, but the names make it hard to follow"
Any time we get to learn about those that triumphed during WWII, and their remarkable stories is time well spent.
It was tough to discern all the foreign names. Because of this, it was hard to track the various characters throughout the book. I hate to say this, but perhaps use nicknames, or abbreviations of the names, to make it easier to track. Also, I enjoyed learning about the various backgrounds of each of the characters...but I would have preferred to hear more about the defense of the castle.
Well spoken. Easy to understand, even at various speeds.
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