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David

London, United Kingdom
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  • The War that Ended Peace

  • By: Margaret MacMillan
  • Narrated by: Richard Burnip
  • Length: 31 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 172
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 163

The First World War followed a period of sustained peace in Europe during which people talked with confidence of prosperity, progress and hope. But in 1914, Europe walked into a catastrophic conflict which killed millions of its men, bled its economies dry, shook empires and societies to pieces, and fatally undermined Europe's dominance of the world. It was a war which could have been avoided up to the last moment - so why did it happen?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Real Marathon!

  • By Tom on 06-02-14

Magisterial Book Read Brilliantly

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-11-13

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. First of all, it's a great book. I took a deep breath earlier this year and plunged headlong into the great coursing centenary stream. Have read five or six books – Hastings', Hochschild's, Paxman's, etc. – all of them good. But this is the best. It's unfailingly intelligent. It's wonderfully clear. It's brimming with marvelous, telling details. (The best sort of details - illustrative nuggets.) And, yes, it's gripping. And part and parcel of the whole package, so to speak (so to speak indeed), it's beautifully read, performed, not quite sure what the word is. Richard Burnip is a joy to listen to. His voice is clear. He's got great range. He's got authority. And best of all, perhaps, there was nothing show offy about the read. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be: thoughtful, intelligent, clear, nuanced, assured. I thought it was perfectly judged. He does Margaret Macmillan's words justice. What more could you ask? For the record, I didn't find his reading slow. I thought it was timed to perfection. It peered into the book's depths, it brought out nuance. Writing of this calibre has its own cadence.That needs to be respected. Honoured even. This did. This isn't a canter-through book. Everything about it - from subject matter to phrasing - commands one's deepest admiration. And needs to be savoured. The "performance" was absolutely right for the book.

What other book might you compare The War that Ended Peace to, and why?

Any of the one's I've already mentioned. All of them were, well, worthwhile. But this one takes the laurel. Why? Because it was more thoughtful, more measured, more perceptive - ultimately more intelligent. World War I is a huge subject and the book opened up more of it than the others. Last but not least, it was a relief that for once here was a war book where one never felt the tug of that god awful force field: "boys and their toys."

Have you listened to any of Richard Burnip’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't. But I'll certainly be looking for him in the future.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Ridiculous question. This isn't Michael Herr's Dispatches. Or Crane's Red Badge of Courage. Or a short story. It's a big demanding book. A cathedral of a book. As opposed to a bungalow. I was very glad it was what it was. It was several "one sittings". And all the better for being so.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful