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Extended Audio Sample The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe, by William I. Hitchcock Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (106 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William I. Hitchcock Narrator: Mel Foste Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Americans are justly proud of the role their country played in liberating Europe from Nazi tyranny. For many years, we have celebrated the courage of Allied soldiers, sailors, and aircrews who defeated Hitler’s regime and restored freedom to the continent. But in recounting the heroism of the “greatest generation,” Americans often overlook the wartime experiences of European people themselves — the very people for whom the war was fought. 

In this brilliant new book, historian William I. Hitchcock surveys the European continent from D-Day to the final battles of the war and the first few months of the peace. Based on exhaustive research in five nations and dozens of archives, Hitchcock’s groundbreaking account shows that the liberation of Europe was both a military triumph and a human tragedy of epic proportions. 

This strikingly original, multinational history of liberation brings to light the interactions of soldiers and civilians, the experiences of noncombatants, and the trauma of displacement and loss amid unprecedented destruction. This book recounts a surprising story, often jarring and uncomfortable, and one that has never been told with such richness and depth. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The first book I have read that explicitly addresses the plight of civilians during the ‘crusade for Europe’…This tale vividly demonstrates that there was no cause for triumphalism in the condition of Europe following the defeat of Hitler.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “A powerful and important new work of history…A thorough, passionate corrective to any simple telling of the terrible last year of this war.”

    Financial Times

  • “Remarkable…Underlines that the liberation of Europe was both a major military triumph and a human tragedy of epic proportions.”

    Irish Times (Dublin)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bryan Craig | 10/23/2013

    " I highly recommend this book to any WWII buff and student. It is not a topic you read or hear much about. Hitchcock is an excellent writer and some of theses chapters are hard to read, but important. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Dan Mauric | 7/11/2013

    " Didn't like enough to finish. Note the title- "A New History"... no thanks. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Gail | 7/17/2012

    " An excellent book. The perspective is to show the situation of the civilian population of Europe and the millions of refugees from the time of the invasion of Normandy to several years after the end of WWII. The story was well told. I learned a great deal. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Adam | 5/27/2011

    " A very important and depressing book. After living under Nazi oppression, the allies were none to quick to help the displaced persons return home. The English treatment of the Jews was particularly despicable, as was selling out poland to the Russian. We all acted horribly. "

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About the Author

William I. Hitchcock teaches history at Temple University in Philadelphia. He was born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1965 and received his BA from Kenyon College in 1986 and his PhD from Yale University in 1994. He taught at Yale for six years and won a teaching prize there. He has also taught at Wellesley College. He is the author of France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe; the coeditor, with Paul Kennedy, of From War to Peace: Altered Strategic Landscapes in the Twentieth Century; and The Struggle for Europe: The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent, 1945–present.

About the Narrator

Mel Foster is a prolific audiobook narrator, having read dozens of titles throughout his career. He is the recipient of the prestigious Audie Award, as well as the AudioFile Earphones Award. A former advertising agency executive who used to record test tracks for commercials, his narration career was born out of encouragement from his clients who would often say, “why are we hiring someone else? I like this guy.”