Each week I often “go down the rabbit hole” in pursuit of audiobooks for this blog post. Perhaps this week it’s a “foxhole,” as my topic is the World War I Centenary—the Great War Forum even has a discussion of when and where the term foxhole originated. We’ve collected a varied group of audiobooks about WWI. Solve editor Ellen Quint just posted Reflecting on Remembrance Day through WWI Mysteries, and Aurelia Scott’s post My Grandfather’s War offers a good group of fiction and nonfiction audiobooks. Aurelia includes THE WORLD REMADE: America in World War I by G.J. Meyer. Narrator Rob Shapiro made a compelling video for us noting how relevant Meyer’s history remains.
Christian Baskous talking about recording Richard Ford’s BETWEEN THEM; Mark Bramhall on Ron Chernow’s GRANT biography; Jonathan Yen giving us a wonderful teaser to explore A MIND AT PLAY and discover the man who is called the father of the information age, Claude Shannon; and Rob Shapiro talking about recording THE WORLD REMADE, a timely look at America in World War I.
Revisiting WWI through Fiction and Nonfiction Audiobooks
At age twenty-two, my grandfather looked a hero in his WWI pilot’s uniform. Peaked cap at a rakish angle, hand on his father’s shoulder, arm around his mother, he smiled broadly for the Brownie camera. Only the bulge of a service revolver beneath his jacket hinted at upcoming danger.
In this 100th anniversary year of America’s entry into the war, I wish I’d been able to hear about his experiences. He died when I was young, though, so I was never able to ask how the French battlefields looked from his biplane’s cockpit, how the rat-a-tat-tat of aerial combat really sounded, and frivolously, why didn’t he wear a silk scarf in the photo? Or did that sartorial flourish belong only to Snoopy’s Red Baron?
Instead, I’ve found a vicarious experience of my grandfather’s war in books and film, beginning with Barbara Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the war’s start, THE GUNS OF AUGUST. I read it as a teenager, and recently listened to the Earphones Award-winning performance by one of my favorite narrators, Nadia May (also known as Wanda McCaddon). That’s two prizes for one compulsively readable account of the dares and double-dares that caused so much bravery and death. Read more…