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Summary

With an introduction read by Max Hastings. An exhilarating and uplifting account of the lives of 16 ‘warriors’ from the last three centuries, hand-picked for their bravery or extraordinary military experience by the eminent military historian, author and ex-editor of the Daily Telegraph, Sir Max Hastings.

Over the course of 40 years of writing about war, Max Hastings has grown fascinated by outstanding deeds of derring-do on the battlefield (land, sea, or air) - and by their practitioners. He takes as his examples 16 people from different nationalities in modern history - including Napoleon’s ‘blessed fool’ Baron Marcellin de Marbot (the model for Conan Doyle’s Brigadier Gerard); Sir Harry Smith, whose Spanish wife, Juana, became his military companion on many a campaign in the early 19th century; Lieutenant John Chard, an unassuming engineer who became the hero of Rorke’s Drift in the Zulu wars; and Squadron Leader Guy Gibson, the ‘dam buster’ whose heroism in the skies of World War II earned him the nation's admiration, but few friends. Every army, in order to prevail on the battlefield, needs a certain number of people capable of courage beyond the norm. In this book Max Hastings investigates what this norm might be – and how it has changed over the centuries. While celebrating feats of outstanding valour, he also throws a beady eye over the awarding of medals for gallantry - and why it is that so often the most successful warriors rarely make the grade as leaders of men.

Max Hastings studied at Charterhouse and Oxford and became a foreign correspondent, reporting from more than 60 countries and 11 wars for BBC TV and the London Evening Standard. He has won many awards for his journalism. Among his best-selling books, Bomber Command won the Somerset Maugham Prize, and both Overlord and Battle for the Falklands won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Prize. After 10 years as editor and then editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph, he became editor of the Evening Standard in 1996. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he now lives in Berkshire.

©2005 Max Hastings (P)2014 Audible Studios

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Crikey. Couldn't get past the Introduction.

For the first time ever (with a library of more than 400 Audible books and podcasts) I couldn't get past the introduction of this one, and am returning it.
I read a lot of military history, and Hastings has written a lot, but without going further than the introduction, this book makes clear just how skewed his focus in selecting and writing about his material actually is.
He includes a justification acknowledging that he focusses on warriors who were officers because at the time "reports of heroism from officers were more likely to be believed than those form enlisted men" - a bias of record he identifies, but then does absolutely nothing to attempt to address.
It includes a critique of John Major as a suspiciously leftist (Tory!) prime minister because he removed the artificial distinction between senior medals awarded to officers and lower class medals awarded to enlisted men, a class distinction Hastings makes clear he approved of.
And finally it includes a completely self-indulgent attack on "socialists" whose "pettiness in banning fox-hunting" he contends somehow undermines the UK's martial ability and military training ...well... at that point I'd had enough.
There are much less dated, more modern, more objective and much better authors of military history out there.
I recommend Tom Holland's brilliant Rubicon, The various SAS histories authored by Damien Lewis, Stephen Dando-Collins books on the ancient world, both Flak and Flight by Michael Veitch, and even Scharma's a History of Great Britain... there's loads to find on Audible that is better than this.
Apologies to Nigel Carrington who may well be an excellent narrator but I simply didn't get past the turgid introduction which, inevitably, Hastings chose to narrate himself.
Enough Said.

35 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly absorbing

A fascinating collection of mini biographies. I was unaware until now that Hastings was such a good writer; he manages to convey both the intensity and confusion of each individual experience while at the same time provide clear and penetrating analysis of what made his subjects tick. Excellent narration.

6 people found this helpful

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Great stories

Exciting in parts, fascinating in others, Max Hastings has done it again. A great book with some surprising 'Warriors' as well as the classic type.

6 people found this helpful

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  • J
  • 21-05-15

A Tour De Force!

Yet another excellent book by Max Hasting partnered with a first class narrator in Nigel Carrington. With each chapter focusing on a different warrior through history I was impatient at the start to reach the WW1 & 2 individuals as this is my main interest area. However straight from the start the “Warriors” the author had focused on were extremely informative and interesting.

I ended up learning significantly more than I expected about conflicts I have previously overlook and they were of such interesting levels that it made me want to learn more about that period. In particular the look at the American Civil War and Napoleonic War where 1st class and I would without hesitation listen to an entire book on the subject by this author/narrator team!

Some well know characters in history were overlooked to focus on the less well known subjects which I feel only strengthened the books impact and interest levels.

Truly a book that any Military history enthusiast would benefit from listening to!

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4* Performance of 3* Content

High concept, promising subject material, well narrated delivery of ultimately mediocre content.

Hastings could do and has done better work.

3 people found this helpful

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Very good, entertaining and quite informative.

I enjoyed this book very much, but you need to go into it with the right expectations. It's more of an entertaining historical book with short biographies of interesting warriors from recent centuries with some over arching themes about the life of a soldier and the qualities of a good one. The selected stories are not just of the best warriors in history but more about interesting warriors that fit the theme of the book, so don't expect just heroic stories, it's a bit deeper and in my opinion more interesting.
The narration was top notch as well.

Overall I would recommend this to military history enthusiasts who are looking for something a bit lighter to listen in between more dense books or while doing something else as this doesn't require your full attention to enjoy. I suppose it might be good for someone getting into military history as well, especially for someone who enjoys biographies.

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  • A
  • 09-12-19

Truly amazing feats.

Some truly amazing feats described this book and enough to make an old soldier like me glow with admiration. Only this that stopped this being perfect was the authors barely veiled disdain for anything even remotely left leaning in politics.

2 people found this helpful

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Great listen

A great listen with compelling stories and good attention to detail also very well narrated

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Surprising Book, honest and truthful

This is a book that took me on a different journey than I was expecting
If you want a story about heroes then it will be okay
if you want to hear truth about people, war, etc. willing to listen to a balanced history through eyes of hero worship but mindful of the real person and the atrocities of war. Then you will enjoy this well written book and narrative.

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some of it seems a bit off topic

I think they put chapter 6 in the wrong book its a long story about a bloke who rides around in a ballon but happens to be a writer and toff ,oh and he gets killed without acheaving anything .umm warriors i thought it was called.

i found it a bit anoying that the narrator puts on a 1950s posh english film voice for officers ,think he was dieing to throw in a few "what what" and jolly good old chaps .it's just lazy steriotype that assumes people spoke like that for a few hundred years.

its not a bad book though but i wouldn't read it again .

i do like max Hastings books generally .








4 people found this helpful

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  • Douglas
  • 14-08-15

Read Warriors

I thoroughly recommend anything written by the author, Max Hastings. It is a well-written book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • j
  • 08-04-15

Absolutely Fascinating

Would you listen to Warriors again? Why?

Yes

What did you like best about this story?

The chronology, the range of subject and simply the fascinating accounts of various warriors, whose stories Max Hastings felt were worth telling.

Have you listened to any of Nigel Carrington’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No - but he was excellent.