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Download The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau, by Alex Kershaw Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (277 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alex Kershaw Narrator: Fred Sanders Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From July 10, 1943, the date of the Allied landing in Sicily, to May 8, 1945, when victory in Europe was declared, the entire time it took to liberate Europe, no regiment saw more action, and no single platoon, company, or battalion endured worse, than the ones commanded by Felix Sparks, who had entered the war as a greenhorn second lieutenant of the 157th “Eager for Duty” Infantry Regiment of the 45th “Thunderbird” Division. Sparks and his fellow Thunderbirds fought longest and hardest to defeat Hitler, often against his most fanatical troops, when the odds on the battlefield were even and the fortunes of the Allies hung in the balance, and when the difference between defeat and victory was a matter of character, not tactics or armor.

Drawing on extensive interviews with Sparks and dozens of his men, as well as over five years of research in Europe and in archives across the US, historian Alex Kershaw masterfully recounts one of the most inspiring and heroic journeys in military history. Over the course of four amphibious invasions, Sparks rose from captain to colonel as he battled from the beaches of Sicily through the mountains of Italy and France, ultimately enduring bitter and desperate winter combat against the diehard SS on the Fatherland’s borders. Though he lost all of his company to save the Allied beach-head at Anzio and an entire battalion in the dark forests of the Vosges, Sparks miraculously survived the long bloody march across Europe and was selected to lead a final charge to Bavaria to hunt down Adolf Hitler.

In the dying days of the Third Reich, Sparks and his men crossed the last great barrier in the West, the Rhine, only to experience some of the most intense street fighting and close combat suffered by Americans in WWII. When they finally arrived at the gates of Dachau, Hitler’s first and most notorious concentration camp, the Thunderbirds confronted scenes that robbed the mind of reason.  With victory within grasp, Sparks confronted the ultimate test of his humanity: after all he had faced, could he resist the urge to wreak vengeance on the men who had caused untold suffering and misery?

Written with the narrative drive and vivid immediacy of Kershaw’s previous bestselling books about American infantrymen in WWII, The Liberator is a story for the ages, an intensely human and dramatic account of one of history’s greatest warriors and his unheralded role in America’s finest achievement, the defeat of Nazi Germany.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mr. Kershaw’s book bears witness to the hell that America’s innocents came through, and the humanity they struggled to keep in their hearts.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A revealing portrait of a man who led by example and suffered a deep emotional wound with the loss of each soldier under his command.”

    Washington Post

  • “Kershaw’s writing is seamless. He incorporates information from a vast array of sources, but it works—you get a sense of the different voices coming into the story…A gripping read.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “This engrossing wartime narrative offers a fresh look at the European campaign and an intimate sense of the war’s toll on individual participants.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Karolyn | 2/2/2014

    " Incredible! Another justification for these folks being named "The Greatest Generation". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Steve | 2/1/2014

    " An Amazing book through a soldier's view of the harsh reality of war. Felix Sparks was a second lieutenant with the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th "Thunderbird" Division that fought from Sicily on July 10, 1943-May 8, 1945 in Germany. He and his division liberated Dachau which was a concentration camp in Germany. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by H Wesselius | 1/27/2014

    " Combat stories can be difficult to write as the story evolves uneven and one can easily be distracted by details. Kershaw rarely makes this mistake in a story that details one man's combat duty which lasted from Sicily to Dachau. Although sometimes detail is confusing or the pace is muddled, the account of Anzio and Dachau alone make the book worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kelby | 1/16/2014

    " I loved the book. It was easy to read and tells a story that you may have never heard. You hear about 3rd Army, 101st, Marines in the pacific....but I didn't know a thing about the 45th DIV. until reading this book. It was wonderful. "

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