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Download Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization, by Nicholson Baker Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.96 out of 53.96 out of 53.96 out of 53.96 out of 53.96 out of 5 3.96 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nicholson Baker Narrator: Norman Dietz Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Human Smoke delivers a closely textured, deeply moving indictment of the treasured myths that have romanticized much of the 1930s and ’40s. Incorporating meticulous research and well-documented sources—including newspaper and magazine articles, radio speeches, memoirs, and diaries—the book juxtaposes hundreds of interrelated moments of decision, brutality, suffering, and mercy. Vivid glimpses of political leaders and their dissenters illuminate and examine the gradual, horrifying advance toward overt global war and Holocaust.

Praised by critics and readers alike for his exquisitely observant eye and deft, inimitable prose, Baker has assembled a narrative within Human Smoke that unfolds gracefully, tragically, and persuasively. This is an unforgettable book that makes a profound impact on our perceptions of historical events and mourns the unthinkable loss humanity has borne at its own hand.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This quite extraordinary book—impossible to put down, impossible to forget—may be the most compelling argument for peace ever assembled.”

    Simon Winchester, New York Times author of A Crack in the Edge of the World

  • “Serious and conscientious…An eloquent and passionate assault on the idea that the deliberate targeting of civilians can ever be justified.

    New York Times

  • “[Dietz] lets the momentum build naturally, sometimes horrifyingly, sometimes poignantly, until the impact is stronger than it might even be in print.”


  • “Absolutely fascinating, engrossing. I can’t imagine anyone…who won’t be astonished and moved while reading Human Smoke."

    Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jeff | 5/9/2011

    " This gives a unique perspective on the dark days leading up to WW2. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Matt | 5/5/2011

    " Written in short alternating paragraphs that show how world war II happened. A unique, pacifistic history of the war. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Grahammu | 11/1/2010

    " Made me look at the WW2 in a different way. Very intimate and fresh perspective. I learn't much from this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Michael | 10/29/2010

    " Incredible, moving book that expands the story of WWII to include those who tried to prevent the war. Should be required reading for any course on WWII. "

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About the Author
Author Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker has published numerous novels, including the New York Times bestseller Vox and The Mezzanine. He has also written several works of nonfiction, including Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award. A regular contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, Baker lives in Maine.