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Editor reviews

Courtroom dramas have always consumed the public's attention. There is a certain high-stakes drama that takes place in the halls of justice. Ann and John Tusa have collaborated to capture those emotions in their historical study of The Nuremberg Trial. The Nuremberg Trial isn't some bland textbook; the Tusas' personable narration delivers to listeners the countless personal stories at the heart of one of history's most infamous court battles. A deft performance by Ralph Cosham only serves to accentuate the care Ann and John Tusa have taken in relaying the facts of Nuremberg with humanity and insight.

Summary

Here is a gripping account of the major postwar trial of the Nazi hierarchy in World War II. The Nuremberg Trial brilliantly recreates the trial proceedings and offers a reasoned, often profound examination of the processes that created international law. From the whimpering of Kaltenbrunner and Ribbentrop on the stand to the icy coolness of Goering, each participant is vividly drawn.

©2010 Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

“Fascinating… The Tusas’ book is one of the best accounts I have read.” ( The New York Times)

What members say

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brings horrible history alive

This book is very good. Ann and John Tusa are to be congratulated. I went to Germany at the age of 4 in 1946 for 2 years and can just remember what it was like for a young boy going to an Army school. The Tusa book reminded me of the prevailing atmosphere. My parents often talked of their times there, what it was like mixing with the Americans and other allies, comparing the NAAFI with the PX, etc. Although fraternisation was forbidden we had a German gardener with a son my age and I was soon speaking better German than my parents. In my early teens we returned for a visit with an Army family living in what had been a Nazi officers' barracks, very spacious and elegantly laid-out, and the houses were well-equipped. However, at one end of the barracks was a large underground bunker that had hooks in the ceiling and what looked like ancient blood on the floor. Nearby was Bergen-Belsen with its huge common graves.

The Tusas cover the trial and its build-up in great detail. The various characters (prosecution, defence, accused, witnesses, judiciary) are all brought to life, and the descriptions of the crimes are vivid without being bloodthirsty. The difficulties faced by and the tensions between the four allied powers are almost as interesting as their treatment of the accused, some of whom had incredible lines of defence. Although the end of the trial is known to all, this was still a gripping read. Or maybe it's just that I like lots of detail.

I have one criticism, and that is with Ralph Cosham's delivery: he swallows the last letter or syllable, sometimes the last word, of many sentences. Plurals become bafflingly singular because the 's' cannot be heard. I admit I do nearly all my listening in my car and it may be that Mr Cosham's volume-drop is not so bothersome in a silent ambience. In any case, this is really a minor quibble because Mr Cosham has a mellifluous voice and his delivery is otherwise excellent with an appropriate mid-Atlantic accent.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Old but Unbowed

I first read this book a number of years ago when I was doing some research into post-war retribution in occupied Europe. Unless you wante to wade through the numerous transcripts of the Nuremberg Trials, this book will do the job for you by highlighting the main issues, personalities and dramas of that unique judicial occasion. This is a well-researched and fascinating book which gives the listener an insignt into the confused power play of some seriously flawed criminal characters inhabiting what was, in effect, a lunatic asylum. It also reveals some interesting information on those who participated in the trials from the judges to the prosecutors and the defence lawyers who must have realised that they faced an impossible job. THis is long book but well worth it if you want the unfolding drama of a legal trial with no precedents.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • p
  • 21-05-16

excellent listen

this is a great in depth listen of the Nuremberg trials,great for any one with an interest in ww2

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Overly long, and overly dry

What did you like best about The Nuremberg Trial? What did you like least?

Obviously this covers a fascinating time in history, with some of the most notorious war criminals in history on trial. However the book is overly technical, and far too long. It also seems more interested on covering the conditions in which the inmates were kept, rather than the crimes they committed.

What could Ann Tusa and John Tusa have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

To be frank, the authors desperately needed an editor, or perhaps an editor with more power to tell them what to do. This is simply too long winded to be an entertaining listen.

How could the performance have been better?

The reader sounds pretty sleepy for the most part, which doesn't help the dull nature of much of the text.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Normally I like a film to be as written, with zero changes. In this case though, the source is full of great material which the author ignored, and instead focussed on trivia.

Any additional comments?

There is surely a great book to be written about this period of history. This sadly, isn't it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating listening

Somewhat disconcerting to listen to at first, as the narrator sounds uncannily like Enoch Powell. However, a fascinating account of Nuremberg.

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Impressive account of a ground-breaking trial

This is highly detailed account of how the Nuremberg trial was set-up through the co-operation of the four main allies at the end of the second world war. The crimes by the main defendants are alluded to but the main thrust of the book is how, despite the misgivings of some of the participants, international co-operation was achieved and to overcome the difficulties that the lawyers and judges had in creating a legal framework that meshed together the continental and the Anglo-Amercian legal systems of justice.

It is impressive what was achieved in a relatively short time to collate the mass of evidence and to present the cases with simultaneous translation using new technology. The generosity of the Americans in underwriting most of the costs made things run more smoothly than could have been thought possible in a country devastated by war.

The overall impression is of dignified proceedings in which the defendants were given a fair trial, but one is left with the distasteful evidence of how so many people could engage in barbaric behaviour.

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Fascinating account spoilt by narrator and editing

An in-depth and fascinating account of a difficult subject. It maintained my interest, in spite of the uninteresting voice of the narrator, who sounded like he was reading a shopping list most of the time. The editing was let down by too much suppression of the “s” sound on words, possibly caused by compensating for sibilance from the narrator. Determination was required to listen to this, but ultimately, the content kept me going.

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  • MAGGS
  • Port Talbot
  • 13-04-18

The Nuremberg Trail - phew what a book

The Nuremberg Trail - phew what a book, how they ever go
the trial off the ground was unbelievable, they had to cross some many T’s and dot I’s and that’s just for starters.
Good narration

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great read

This was an amazing book covering the Nazi trials and the out some of this. I would recommend if you are interested in what happened.

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Comprehensive, Authoritative, Educational

A comprehensive, authoritative and highly educational account of the iconic post WW2 trial of the surviving Nazi leaders and hangers-on at Nuremberg, along with the jurisprudential and geopolitical issues that shaped it.

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  • Anniebligh
  • 13-08-13

A really interesting listen


Ralph Cosham did a good job reading and did not intrude on the content

I found I needed to go back and read or listen again to other books to learn 'who is who'. And then do a Wikipedia search on the Trial and the Defendents.
(Shirer's Berlin Diary and Rise and Fall did convey the gut wrenching reactions of the time.)

Most interesting were the motivations of Judges and Lawyers involved compared to the Governments and politicians.

And to my thinking, a person only needs a genuine interest in the Second World War to find this book valuable.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Ronnie
  • 25-08-17

Detailed and rewarding listen for history buffs

When I look for books on Audible, I check the reviews first, especially the negative ones. Usually those will highlight things which are immediate deal breakers. So let me start with the negatives first:
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CONS

1) There's a level of background knowledge needed for this book.

The authors provide a sufficient summary of World War II, which of course sets the stage for the Nuremberg Trials. However, I feel that some questions may go unanswered if someone doesn't understand why the Soviet Union was hellbent on summary execution of the defendants, for example. The book stands well on its own, and the content is digestible, but I would be hesitant to recommend it to someone who isn't a fan of history.

2) Sometimes the book will get boring.

Although the Nuremberg Trials were just over 70 years ago, the subject matter is very politically sensitive. This, along with the fact that history is not always a drama or thriller, means that sometimes the book will resemble a college lecture. Some parts of political history have to be understood in full context, even if the context is rather dry. While the Nuremberg Trials had a lot of exciting drama, outbursts, and even humor, it was still a judicial case, which can at times be mind numbing. Narrator Ralph Cosham's performance does little to help this. While I feel he could have injected emotion and higher energy into the writing, that request becomes rather tricky when the subject matter includes one of the worst inhumane atrocities in the 20th century.
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I don't see these two cons as deal breakers. I'd imagine anyone precisely looking for audiobooks on the Nuremberg Trials knows that a) even the most exciting historical events have highs and lows, and b) contextual understanding is paramount. For example, it would be impossible to understand China during the Mao Era if you didn't have sufficient understanding of western imperialism during the 1800s.

Anyway, onto the good stuff!!
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PROS


1) Dripping with detail and facts.

The Nuremberg Trials lasted an incredibly long time, and they were unprecedented in their scope, goals, and size. This book answered every last question I had on the subject, without becoming repetitious. Furthermore, it effectively introduced seemingly irrelevant information, and masterfully explained how it all fits into the bigger picture. When it came to describing the defendants, it was meticulously detailed. There's more than enough information on Hermann Göring's intelligence, cunning, wit, and sadism, or Rudolph Hess' ability to act mentally incompetent while having actual bouts of mental incompetence. The profiles of the defendants are some of the most interesting parts of the book.


2) The scope of this book is deceptive. On top of documenting the days of the trial, it discusses:

a) Should there even be a trial? Which countries wanted a speedy trial, a thorough trial, or just a show trial with a firing squad waiting outside?

b) How does one structure a trial which makes the defendants feel like they can represent themselves fairly, and negotiate more favorable terms of punishment?

c) How can the trial be ran without the defendants using it as a platform to criticize the allies for actions such as the Dresden or Tokyo firebombing, or nuclear weapons use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

d) How close was the trial to collapsing due to political infighting between France, U.S, U.K, USSR, and others?

e) How did the defendants react to the trial, their first night in prison, their sentence to death, or footage of war crimes in the court room?

f) How did lack of standing infrastructure, vehicles, materials, and resources hamper the setup and planning of the trial?

g) What was the public opinion of the trial in various countries such as Germany, France, the Soviet Union, or the UK?

All these questions, and any more, are covered wonderfully in the book. There's so much more to the subject that makes the Nuremberg Trails not just a court case, but a landmark historical event that has an effect on international law today.
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I'm tired of writing. The book is a wild ride. Get it.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Brock Williams
  • 02-07-14

Good because its so detailed

What other book might you compare The Nuremberg Trial to and why?

I listened to this book immediately after my 2nd trip through William L. Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It was a very good complement, picking up the story of the Nazis that survived the war. But make no mistake, while Shirer's book is a reasonably thorough history of German politics from 1920-1945 at roughly 57 hours, this book is packed with a huge amount of detail, clocking in at almost 26 hours and covering the events of barely a year.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • The Kindler
  • 24-05-16

Try reading at 1.25 speed.

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed this read of the trials of the century. It was a little slow at points for those who aren't too familiar with lawyer jargon but the sections dealing with the courtroom and the prosecuted was by far the best parts and kept the book flowing fairly well.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 27-06-14

Great Work

Ann Tusa and John Tusa have created a great piece of work on this subject. If you are a student of this period of history, you need to listen to this book. If you are a student of international law, then listen to this book. If you want to understand this period of history, then listen to this book. Ralph Cosham haunting voice really does justice to this book. This book covers the period, subject and opinions very well. It leaves for dead the movies and documentaries produced on the Nuremberg Trial.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeremy
  • 24-10-13

important read, but the narration is painful

What made the experience of listening to The Nuremberg Trial the most enjoyable?

-attention to detail
-well paced and well written material

What didn’t you like about Ralph Cosham’s performance?

He lisps and sputters his way through his reading...

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Danielle M Brown
  • 19-05-16

Nuremberg

I loved this book. I aways wanted to know about the trial s and the audio book told me everything .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark R. McClendon
  • 19-02-15

Errors detract from the experience

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Clean up the spelling errors and eliminate the differences between the spoken and written versions.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Nuremberg Trial?

I do not know the nationality of the authors but they obviously we're not favourable disposed to Justice Jackson's cross but found the British capabilities exemplary. Not having read the research material I have no way of knowing if this was justified.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Ralph Cosham?

From time to time Mr Cosham seemed to change the tone of his voice and this was a bit distracting. I probably would listen again, it was not an unpleasant experience.

Was The Nuremberg Trial worth the listening time?

I would read and listen for about 70% of the book but found that I preferred to just read the final two chapters.

Any additional comments?

All in all it was a good narrative of the trial and the preparations. It did not deal with the extended implications of the outcome on world geopolitical conditions but that would obviously have taken much more time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tish
  • 14-11-13

Rather biased, but informative nonetheless.

What did you love best about The Nuremberg Trial?

The interactions between the judges, the prosecution team, the defense team, and the defendants themselves are revealing.

Would you be willing to try another book from Ann Tusa and John Tusa ? Why or why not?

The Nuremberg Trial is yet another book about events in Nazi Germany that feels it has to work very hard to convince you that the authors hate Nazis. It's both understandable, given the ever-insecure state of scholarship on the subject, and irritating because it feels a bit like being treated like a child. I enjoyed the book, but would have found myself far less critical of it, if it weren't full of hyperbolic mock-horror and disgust at the acts of the defendants. I'd be concerned that their other books are also wasting far too much time on overbearing, moralistic CYA.

Any additional comments?

Great reading. I would have liked more specifics about the cross-examinations.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex Noble
  • 12-04-18

Fantastic

I have read a lot of books on the subject of the Second World War, most deal with the war itself in great detail but leave out the aftermath of the fall of the third Reich. This book is the missing piece in a way. A clear and well thought out account of the trial and how it came about and what it attempted to achieve. Without putting a political slant or resorting to guessing history the book comes across as a great historic record of a great historical event. Very good for those interested.