Best Selling Audio Books in Military - World War II

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release date: Nov 16, 2010
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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • Hailed as the top nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine • Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for biography and the Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year award

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

Praise for Unbroken
 
“Extraordinarily moving . . . a powerfully drawn survival epic.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“[A] one-in-a-billion story . . . designed to wrench from self-respecting critics all the blurby adjectives we normally try to avoid: It is amazing, unforgettable, gripping, harrowing, chilling, and inspiring.”—New York
 
“Staggering . . . mesmerizing . . . Hillenbrand’s writing is so ferociously cinematic, the events she describes so incredible, you don’t dare take your eyes off the page.”People
 
“A meticulous, soaring and beautifully written account of an extraordinary life.”—The Washington Post
 
“Ambitious and powerful . . . a startling narrative and an inspirational book.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Marvelous . . . Unbroken is wonderful twice over, for the tale it tells and for the way it’s told. . . . It manages maximum velocity with no loss of subtlety.”Newsweek
 
“Moving and, yes, inspirational . . . [Laura] Hillenbrand’s unforgettable book . . . deserve[s] pride of place alongside the best works of literature that chart the complications and the hard-won triumphs of so-called ordinary Americans and their extraordinary time.”—Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
 
“Hillenbrand . . . tells [this] story with cool elegance but at a thrilling sprinter’s pace.”Time

Unbroken is too much book to hope for: a hellride of a story in the grip of the one writer who can handle it.”—Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run


From the Hardcover edition.
release date: Oct 10, 2017
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Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"Prodigiously researched and engrossing."---New York Times Book Review

"Fascinating.... Addictively readable."---Boston Globe


"Code Girls reveals a hidden army of female cryptographers, whose work played a crucial role in ending World War II.... Mundy has rescued a piece of forgotten history, and given these American heroes the recognition they deserve."---Nathalia Holt, bestselling author of Rise of the Rocket Girls


Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.
release date: Sep 05, 2006
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Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission
A tense, powerful, grand account of one of the most daring exploits of World War II.

On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected troops from the elite U.S. Army 6th Ranger Battalion slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty miles in an attempt to rescue 513 American and British POWs who had spent three years in a surreally hellish camp near the city of Cabanatuan. The prisoners included the last survivors of the Bataan Death March left in the camp, and their extraordinary will to live might soon count for nothing—elsewhere in the Philippines, the Japanese Army had already executed American prisoners as it retreated from the advancing U.S. Army. As the Rangers stealthily moved through enemy-occupied territory, they learned that Cabanatuan had become a major transshipment point for the Japanese retreat, and instead of facing the few dozen prison guards, they could possibly confront as many as 8,000 battle-hardened enemy troops.

Hampton Sides's vivid minute-by-minute narration of the raid and his chronicle of the prisoners' wrenching experiences are masterful. But Ghost Soldiers is far more than a thrilling battle saga. Hampton Sides explores the mystery of human behavior under extreme duress—the resilience of the prisoners, who defied the Japanese authorities even as they endured starvation, tropical diseases, and unspeakable tortures; the violent cultural clashes with Japanese guards and soldiers steeped in the warrior ethic of Bushido; the remarkable heroism of the Rangers and Filipino guerrillas; the complex motivations of the U.S. high command, some of whom could justly be charged with abandoning the men of Bataan in 1942; and the nearly suicidal bravado of several spies, including priests and a cabaret owner, who risked their lives to help the prisoners during their long ordeal.

At once a gripping depiction of men at war and a compelling story of redemption, Ghost Soldiers joins such landmark books as Flags of Our Fathers, The Greatest Generation, The Rape of Nanking, and D-Day in preserving the legacy of World War II for future generations.


From the Hardcover edition.
release date: Nov 07, 2017
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Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink
[Read by John Lee]

From the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of The Theory of Everything comes a revisionist look at the period immediately following Winston Churchill's ascendancy to prime minister -- soon to be a major motion picture starring Gary Oldman.

May 1940. Britain is at war, Winston Churchill has unexpectedly been promoted to prime minister, the horrors of blitzkrieg witness one Western European democracy fall after another in rapid succession. Facing this horror, with pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, Churchill wonders what words could capture the public mood when the invasion of Britain seems mere hours away.

It is this fascinating period that Anthony McCarten captures in this deeply researched and wonderfully written new book. A day-by-day -- and often hour-by-hour -- narrative of this crucial moment in history provides a revisionist look at Churchill, a man plagued by doubt through those turbulent weeks but who emerged having made himself into the iconic, lionized figure we remember.

release date: Mar 15, 2013
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A Higher Calling: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
[Read by Robertson Dean]

The story of two enemy fighter pilots who met in the skies in the midst of a bloody war.

Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a twenty-one-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber's tail - a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be called the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.

This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day - the American - Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17 -- and the German - Second Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II.

A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz's harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies' planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of one thousand bombers, each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack.

Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American Eighth Air Force would later classify as top secret. It was an act that Franz could never mention without facing a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.
release date: Mar 27, 2012
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Hitler
Written by acclaimed biographer A. N. Wilson, Hitler is a short, sharp, gripping account of one of the twentieth century's most notorious figures. In it, Wilson offers a fresh interpretation of the life of the ''ultimate demon-tyrant of history.''

A ruthless dictator who saved his country from economic ruin only to nearly destroy it--and an entire people--in his quest for world domination, Adolf Hitler forever changed the course of history. His unlikely rise to power and his uncanny ability to manipulate his fellow man resulted in the deaths of millions of Europeans and a horrific world war, yet despite his colossal role in world history, he remains mythologized and, as a result, misunderstood. In this masterful account of Hitler's life, A. N. Wilson pulls back the curtain to reveal the man behind the mythic figure, shedding new light on Hitler's personality, desires, and complex relationship with the German people. Wilson limns this mysterious figure with great verve and acuity, showing that it is Hitler's frightening normalcy--not some otherworldly evilness--that makes him so truly terrifying.

In a field dense with lengthy tomes, this brief, penetrating portrait provides a compelling introduction to a man whose evil continues to fascinate and appall.
release date: Aug 15, 2010
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Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich
From the New York Times bestselling author of Amazing Grace, this is a groundbreaking biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the greatest heroes of the twentieth century, the man who stood up to Hitler. A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism.

After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double-agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Fuhrer, and was hanged in Flossenberg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.

Bonhoeffer presents a profoundly orthodox Christian theologian whose faith led him to boldly confront the greatest evil of the 20th century, and uncovers never-before-revealed facts, including the story of his passionate romance.

*A New York Times Bestseller, A USA Today Bestseller, 2011 Christian Book of the Year Award, 2011 Christian Book Award - Nonfiction, One of Barnes & Noble's Top 10 Books of 2010, Winner of the John Pollock Award for Best Christian Biography of the Year, Preaching Today Magazine's Feeding the Preacher's Soul Book of the Year Award Winner, One of Relevant One of Kirkus Reviews', Top 25 Nonfiction Books of 2010*
release date: Aug 23, 2016
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The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the remarkable story of the heroic rescue of priceless horses in the closing days of World War II

In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find—his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food.

With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses.

Pulling together this multistranded story, Elizabeth Letts introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic medalist who is forced to flee the bomb-ravaged Austrian capital with his entire stable in tow; Gustav Rau, Hitler’s imperious chief of horse breeding, a proponent of eugenics who dreams of genetically engineering the perfect warhorse for Germany; and Tom Stewart, a senator’s son who makes a daring moonlight ride on a white stallion to secure the farm’s surrender.

A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor.

Praise for The Perfect Horse

“Winningly readable . . . Letts captures both the personalities and the stakes of this daring mission with such a sharp ear for drama that the whole second half of the book reads like a WWII thriller dreamed up by Alan Furst or Len Deighton. . . . The right director could make a Hollywood classic out of this fairy tale.”The Christian Science Monitor

“Letts, a lifelong equestrienne, eloquently brings together the many facets of this unlikely, poignant story underscoring the love and respect of man for horses.”Kirkus Reviews

The Perfect Horse raises the narrative bar. Applying her skills as a researcher, storyteller and horsewoman, Letts provides context that makes this account spellbinding.”Culturess

The Perfect Horse is an enthralling and moving story that I could not put down. This is a riveting and unique perspective on World War II.”—Molly Guptill Manning, author of When Books Went to War

“Passionately told and dazzling in scope, The Perfect Horse charges headlong into an unforgettable tale of World War II, when good men were given a final mission—to save beloved horses—at an hour when no one wanted to die. In Elizabeth Letts, the saga of World War II’s white stallions has found its perfect guardian.”—Adam Makos, author of A Higher Call

“Elizabeth Letts’s beautiful prose, woven together with meticulous research, takes you for a ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.”—Robin Hutton, author of Sgt. Reckless
release date: Nov 22, 2016
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All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor's Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor
[Read by Ken Gire]

The extraordinary first and only memoir by a survivor of the USS Arizona, published in conjunction with the seventy-fifth anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

An unforgettable and moving story of tragedy, heroism, resilience, and redemption that is sure to become an enduring document of American history, All the Gallant Men is a sailor's eyewitness, moment-by-moment account of the Japanese surprise attack that decimated the US Pacific Fleet in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, and his inspiring return to active duty to carry on the Allied fight in the Pacific.

On December 7, 1941, the Arizona was moored in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, alongside seven other American battleships. At 7:55 a.m., the leisurely Sunday morning's serenity was broken by the drone of bomb-laden Japanese Zeros swooping from the sky. The Arizona was the first battleship targeted in a massive surprise attack by the Empire of Japan; 353 imperial war planes swarmed Battleship Row and neighboring Hickam Airfield in a meticulously planned assault launched to cripple America's Pacific Fleet.

Amid the terrifying chaos of explosions and incessant machine gun fire, nineteen-year-old Seaman First Class Donald Stratton raced to his battle station on the Arizona. Barely fifteen minutes into the attack, a 1,760-pound armor-piercing bomb hit the ship, setting off a million pounds of munitions and 180,000 gallons of aviation fuel aboard. The explosion lifted the massive battleship out of the water, causing the forward deck to buckle, and engulfed it in an enormous fifty-foot fireball that tore through the anti-aircraft platform where Don and his team were stationed.

Burned over more than 65 percent of his body, Don and his gunnery team miraculously escaped the inferno; using their charred hands, they climbed across a seventy-foot-long rope stretched forty-five feet above flaming, oil-slicked water to reach the Vestal moored nearby. While Don made it out alive, 1,177 of his crewmates perished -- more than half the American casualty total of the attack.

But this remarkable story does not end here. After more than a year of grueling treatment, including learning to walk again, Don recovered and doggedly battled Navy bureaucracy to reenlist. Determined to take the fight to the enemy, he participated in some of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific, including the invasion of New Guinea and Okinawa.

Told in remarkable, never-before-revealed first-person detail, this powerful and uplifting memoir of war and survival resonates with the spirit, heart, and undaunted courage of such beloved bestsellers as Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat.

release date: May 03, 2005
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Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who RIsked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
New York Times Bestseller 

In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery–and make history themselves.

For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.
No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.

Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. As the men’s marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.

Author Robert Kurson’s account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.
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