Listen free for 30 days

Das Reich

Narrated by: Nigel Carrington
Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.3 out of 5 stars (361 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

With an introduction read by Max Hastings.

Within days of the D-Day landings, the 'Das Reich' 2nd SS Panzer Division marched north through France to reinforce the front-line defenders of Hitler's Fortress Europe. Veterans of the bloodiest fighting of the Russian Front, 15,000 men with their tanks and artillery, they were hounded for every mile of their march by saboteurs of the Resistance and agents of the Allied Special Forces. Along their route they took reprisals so savage they will live forever in the chronicles of the most appalling atrocities of war.

Max Hasting's powerful account of their progress is a true military classic. Max Hastings, author of 20 books, was editor of the Daily Telegraph for almost a decade, and then for six years edited the Evening Standard in London. In his youth he was foreign correspondent for newspapers and BBC television. He has won many awards for his journalism, particularly his work in the South Atlantic in 1982. He was knighted in 2002.

©1984 Max Hastings (P)2014 Audible Studios

What listeners say about Das Reich

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    190
  • 4 Stars
    104
  • 3 Stars
    46
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    208
  • 4 Stars
    80
  • 3 Stars
    33
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    174
  • 4 Stars
    98
  • 3 Stars
    37
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    7

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping, balanced, multifaceted

This is a great listen in combination with Hastings' "Bomber Command" as the two stories overlap in interesting ways. "Das Reich" would work as a straightforward thriller without Hastings' characteristic hard work in telling the story of strategic decisions by war leaders and the individual stories of combatants gleaned from diaries and interviews. In combination it really is an outstanding listen that went straight to replay after the first hearing.

The core of the book starts in spring 1944 with Hitler weighing up his troops in France and deciding they're too old and soft to stand up to the imminent D Day invasions. He calculates that he can just about spare the Das Reich panzer division from the Russian front and so they're recalled to add firepower, ferocity and professionalism to the defence. Once in France they wait for the landing beaches to become clear and D-Day itself acts as a starters pistol as they're tasked to race to the landing beaches while the combined forces of the French Resistance, the RAF and various secret service operatives try to delay the journey long enough for a beach-head to be properly established.

Complicating factors include a massive influx of volunteers to the resistance as French citizens rush to get on the winning side of the conflict, squabbling allied commanders seeking the glory of making the decisive blow in defeating Nazism and the Das Reich themselves who returned from 3 years of annihilating 24/7 conflict in Russia suffering from a sort of rabid collective blood lust. So the allies were an enthusiastic shambles and Das Reich were primed to get hopelessly distracted from the race to Normandy at the first sign of trouble from the natives. Local French non-combatants paid a terrible price.

Hastings makes all of this incredibly gripping. He's great at using first person testimony to breath life into historical tragedy; his analysis of the battle for leadership in the strategic thinking of Allied and Axis forces is intellectually satisfying and he really shows you the hard work invested in tracking down and interviewing combatants from all sides who are now no longer alive. This is top class popular history and it's really making me think that I'll just have to give in and get all of Hastings' offerings on Audible.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book and narration (when it's set right

As usual Max Hastings work is excellent. the narration j's Ok but only (I found) when I set the play speed to x1.25 as I found the narrators delivery far too slow. Problem solved by listening at x1.25 speed.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

INFORMATIVE AND RARE INSIGHT

The audio book gives a rare insight but at times bias account of the 2nd Das Reich division. There is unbalance and bias account of the actions of Division against French towns and villages. Reprisals is a common factor in war. During the Falklands War of 1982, which I served, the rules of war was not entirely adhered to and was discretely hushed up. Similarly, the audio book mitigates the French resistance actions which was just as brutal who committed atrocities against civilians and German prisoners. Yet the book mostly condemns the Das for its acts. Having served in the parachute regiment who have similar ethos, and esprit de corps, I would proudly have served in the Das Reich division too, and I would have no hesitations carrying out orders to the letter. History and this audio book is unkind and unfair to the soldiers serving in the Das Reich division when when one compares its acts to atrocities committed by the Russian including the murder of 4000 polish prisoners, USA atrocities in Vietnam and Japanese’s rape of Nanking. The British have been left of the hook, but just as culpable. However, this audio book gives a good and unique insight to the situation and circumstances that the division and the French population in the divisional sphere of influence found themselves on route to Normandy. It tells the story from many perspectives and personalities. The pace of the event unfolding is both gripping and interesting. It would be helpful had many of the French phrases been explained or translated in English for the benefit of anyone who do not understand French. I enjoyed listening to this audio book and now have more respect for the young men who did their duty as they saw it serving in this elite SS division.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Das Reich

More references to the Resistance than Das Reich , so not as informative as the title suggests. The narrative is marred by dreadful accents and lack of translation . I speak a number of languages , French not being one of them. I usually enjoy Max Hastings work , this fell short .

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

The book is predominantly about the SOE, OSS and the French resistance. It deals with the Das Reich division very rarely, except when dealing with Tule and Oradour. The book should be renamed.

4 people found this helpful

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

Superb

I remember reading this when it first came out in paperback. It is still a superb book by one of our greatest historians.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Das Reich

For me it focussed far too much on the grandeous tales of French resistance fighters and British operatives rather than the activities of the infamous SS Panzer Division itself. Maybe I didn’t give it enough time... but I think 3 hours should be enough to decide.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

This is not about Das Reich

I've given this 2 stars ,1 star for the forward and 1 star for the final chapter . you get everything you need from these 2 parts everything else is about the french resistance and there's lots of French spoken that's not translated . Don't waste your time on this like I have Hoping that the next chapter would be about Das Reich .This makes me very suspicious of any other Max Hastings books.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Bloody March

This is an history of an moment in time, just after D-Day and the march of the 2nd S.S to Normandy. Max Hastings covers the atrocities carried out by this division, but for me does not condemn these actions strongly enough!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars

SS and it's legacy

there is a lot of digression from the subject matter but I enjoyed the book. , it is well written and well narrated . It should prove to the reader that war is not glamorous but harsh , cruel and nasty .

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for ww2 freak
  • ww2 freak
  • 09-01-20

das French resistance

not happy with this book at all,starts good but then I listened to 4 chapters about the French resistance and that's not what I want,if I wanted to listen to a book on the residence I'd have bought one............... couldn't listen any more and removed it from my device.......

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 07-10-14

A case study of a Nazi Panzer Regiment France 1944

I found this book to be a little like the TV sitcom 'Hallo Hallo' and a mix of clique Nazi behaviour and sometimes nothing new in behaviour of armies throughout history. Max Hastings asks these questions by the end of the book and although not excusing the Das Reich still shows that even the British Army is guilty of such behaviour at times if not on such a scale. Personally I don't believe international law has answered the question about irregulars, partisans, guerrillas and terrorists. One side has to play by the rules whilst the other seems to have carte blanche to carry on as they wish, as long as they are on the winning side. Max Hasting has decided to leave out some of the more dreadful details and un-collaborated evidence to keep the story flowing which helps to focus on the history. Das Reich was never going to win the hearts & minds of the French and their tactics of terror was used to effect throughout Europe especially in Russia, so what could you expect? As for the British and Allies. They really had no idea how to use the resistance properly, or what genie they had help to let out of the bottle. Nobody comes out of this story looking good. Perhaps the Americans but only due to their naivety. Like any soldier, when your enemy isn't in uniform, does not play by the rules and kills indiscriminately, everybody becomes the enemy. You tend to fight fire with fire.

1 person found this helpful