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Download Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea Audiobook, by Robert K. Massie Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00157977883096 out of 54.00157977883096 out of 54.00157977883096 out of 54.00157977883096 out of 54.00157977883096 out of 5 4.00 (633 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert K. Massie Narrator: Richard Matthews, Simon Vance Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2003 ISBN: 9781415912614
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In a work of extraordinary narrative power, filled with brilliant personalities and vivid scenes of dramatic action, Robert K. Massie, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Dreadnought, elevates to its proper historical importance the role of sea power in the winning of the Great War.

The predominant image of this first world war is of mud and trenches, barbed wire, machine guns, poison gas, and slaughter. A generation of European manhood was massacred, and a wound was inflicted on European civilization that required the remainder of the twentieth century to heal.

But with all its sacrifice, trench warfare did not win the war for one side or lose it for the other. Over the course of four years, the lines on the Western Front moved scarcely at all; attempts to break through led only to the lengthening of the already unbearably long casualty lists.

For the true story of military upheaval, we must look to the sea. On the eve of the war in August 1914, Great Britain and Germany possessed the two greatest navies the world had ever seen. When war came, these two fleets of dreadnoughts—gigantic floating castles of steel able to hurl massive shells at an enemy miles away—were ready to test their terrible power against each other.

Their struggles took place in the North Sea and the Pacific, at the Falkland Islands and the Dardanelles. They reached their climax when Germany, suffocated by an implacable naval blockade, decided to strike against the British ring of steel. The result was Jutland, a titanic clash of fifty-eight dreadnoughts, each the home of a thousand men.

When the German High Seas Fleet retreated, the kaiser unleashed unrestricted U-boat warfare, which, in its indiscriminate violence, brought a reluctant America into the war. In this way, the German effort to “seize the trident” by defeating the British navy led to the fall of the German empire.

Ultimately, the distinguishing feature of Castles of Steel is the author himself. The knowledge, understanding, and literary power Massie brings to this story are unparalleled. His portrayals of Winston Churchill, the British admirals Fisher, Jellicoe, and Beatty, and the Germans Scheer, Hipper, and Tirpitz are stunning in their veracity and artistry.

Castles of Steel is about war at sea, leadership and command, courage, genius, and folly. All these elements are given magnificent scope by Robert K. Massie’s special and widely hailed literary mastery.


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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Django Wexler | 2/19/2014

    " Wonderful. Massie remains one of my favorite historians of all time. I think I still like Dreadnought for his best work, but only by a thin margin. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 2/18/2014

    " The follow up book to Dreadnought. It's perhaps not as significant as it's predecessor in terms of the people discussed but it gives great insights into how the state of war making evolved on the sea in the great war (which influenced the 2nd war and modern times). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry | 2/18/2014

    " Amazingly in depth look at WWI at sea. Perhaps it's build up could have been uses as warning for the cold war arms race. Pity the little east african side show wasn't included but then again it didn't involve dreadnoughts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Johnson | 2/8/2014

    " This book is outstanding! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Inert1 | 1/18/2014

    " I was fascinated by the level of detail in the book, which comingles the political, strategic, tactical, and technical aspects of naval warfare. I hadn't thought about the practical aspects of operating a steam battleship, and it was impressive to read about all of the issues that have to be addressed. The story of the evolution of ships is also continued from Massie's earlier book, Dreadnought, as are the stories of the German and British governments' quirks and machinations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Craig Staley | 1/10/2014

    " THE best book on WW1 Naval combat there is! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kirk | 1/3/2014

    " Ridiculously long. Excessively detailed. But the account of the Jutland made it all worthwhile. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry | 11/21/2013

    " Great stuff..especially if you've already read the same author's "Dreadnought" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harry Miktarian | 11/19/2013

    " ...I liked it better than Dreadnaught "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hugh Ashton | 10/27/2013

    " Very good account of the naval war of WWI. Excellent analysis of the Beatty/Jellicoe controversy (I'm a Jellicoe man myself). A companion to the same author's Dreadnought. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas | 10/11/2013

    " rarely ahve I read a non fiction book that was so fascinating in detail "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bret | 10/9/2013

    " A bit dry and technical in places (and long) for those with no interest in World War I or military history, but full of interesting facts and anecdotes for those who are. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 9/29/2013

    " An interesting read on the naval battles of Germany and Great Britain during World War I. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kurt | 7/1/2013

    " The naval history of Britain and Germany during the Great War (WW!). A fantastic book! Really well written and a pager turner for being history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bren Schill | 3/11/2013

    " An excellent book on the naval history of WW I. Fascinating. Primarily (almost exclusively) focuses on the actions of the surface fleets of England and Germany. The submarine/convoy war is not substantially addressed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John E | 2/12/2013

    " Not as flowing nor as readable as the previous book "Dreadnought." Still a great story. The structure of naval warfare, like all warfare, and the structure of the book is long periods of dull routine followed by short bouts of terror and panic. Overall it's a worthwile read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 1/2/2013

    " The story of the naval aspect of WWI told clearly and through an inviting and engaging narrative style. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Urbanek | 9/5/2012

    " Detail-oriented, a master story-teller, Massie brings history to life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alistair | 4/29/2012

    " This was an excellent follow up to Dreadnought. This book is able to cover all the major naval engagements of WWI in a great deal drama, with out getting bogged down in the tiny details. "

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About the Author
Author Robert K. Massie

Robert K. Massie was born in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1929. He studied American history at Yale University and modern European history at Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes scholar. Peter the Great won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1981. 

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with fifty-eight Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.