Narrated By: Sean Barrett
Duration: 14 hours and 40 minutes
What to expect
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable, audiobook edition of Ardennes 1994 by Antony Beever, read by Sean Barrett.
On 16 December 1944, Hitler launched his 'last gamble' in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes on the Belgian/German border. Although Hitler's generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe.
In January 1945, when the Red Army launched its onslaught towards Berlin, the once-feared German war machine was revealed to be broken beyond repair. The Ardennes was the battle which finally broke the Wehrmacht.
Battles & campaigns, Modern warfare, Second World War, European history
Listen to a sample
Like Beevor's magisterial account of the Second World War, Ardennes 1944 benefits from the same depth of field, seamlessly shifting its point to focus from the macro level to the micro and back again
What leaves a lasting impression is the huge power the American army as a whole mustered to smash back the Germans. A superpower was being born
Rich in detail and drama. Enthralling
A superb addition to the canon which has taken us from Stalingrad to Normandy in 1944 and the final gruesome battle for Berlin, not forgetting the masterly single-volume history of the entire war. It is written with all of Beevor's customary verve and elegance. His remarkable and trademark ability is to encompass the wide sweep of campaigns yet never forget the piquant details of what happened to the individual . . . He focuses brilliantly on the key moments that turned the battle
As impeccably researched, insightfully observed and superbly written as its bestselling predecessors
If there's one thing that sets Beevor apart from other historians - beyond his gifts as a storyteller - it's that he is not afraid to look at the most uncomfortable, even frightening subjects, but does so in a way that doesn't threaten the reader. It's like having Virgil there to lead you through the underworld: he doesn't leave you stranded amid the horror but leads you back again, a wiser person for having undergone the journey
Formidable . . . Beevor is a field marshal of facts. Under his brisk control the story of Hitler's final gamble is another example of the kind of action-packed, densely informed narrative that has proved such a formidable model
Beevor weaves a brilliant narrative out of all this drama. As in his previous books, his gifts are strongest in focusing on telling details from different perspectives . . . A vital historical insight
An indispensable book. It is a great strength of Beevor's writing that he takes time to explain how small pieces of knowledge - the kind of thing passed on by battle-hardened soldiers themselves - could make the difference between survival and a futile death
This is World War II as Tolstoy would have described it - the great and the small
A sweeping, sobering read, written with all the confidence and aplomb that Beevor fans would expect. Beevor is as good on the rows behind the front lines as he is on the battles themselves
A portrait of war . . . startling in its detail. Beevor has the art of preserving the individual perspective on the battlefield while placing it among the perspectives of platoon, regiment, division, commanders, politicians and civilians. This book clarifies, without simplifying, the human experiences and political stakes of the battle for the Ardennes Forest, bringing realism to the battlefield and coherence to the larger history of the war
Rightly deserves its place on the shelves of any serious historian of the Second World War. Powerful and authoritative . . . Beevor weaves a masterful narrative based on the viewpoints of a vast range of people. Marshalling a coherent narrative out of an unwieldy sequence of localised attacks, counterattacks, deceptions, and feints demands the attention of a master military historian. In Antony Beevor, the Ardennes offensive has found one
Wonderfully compelling. The Ardennes was a short, brutal and ultimately futile battle - the last spasm of a dying regime - and no one has recounted it better than Beevor. His gripping, beautifully written narrative moves seamlessly from the generals' command posts to the privates in their snow-covered foxholes, and confirms him as the finest chronicler of war in the business. His particular genius is for ferreting out those telling details that paint a picture
First-rank history. Beevor's triumph is to add layers to a book that is gently but precisely judgmental, acute on character and gaudy and grisly in detail. With his sure hand on detail and his strong opinion on how and why the German offensive was prosecuted and why it failed . . . Beevor shows how plans freeze on icy roads, how individual acts of bravery have significant effects, how generals can be wrong but proved right by the vagaries of weather, fortune or a providence that is unfathomable
If you're a fan of Beevor's work, find some space on your bookshelf for this one. If you've never read him before, start here and work your way back - it's history nerd heaven!
Unflinching. As Ardennes 1944 makes clear, Hitler misjudged the strength and resilience of the US army. It was his last gamble and it failed
What stands out most . . . is the effects of violent warfare. By the end of the counteroffensive the snowfields were littered with frozen corpses and the wreckage of hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles