The Nuremberg Trial
- Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
- Length: 25 hrs and 51 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 15-02-13
- Language: English
- Publisher: Audible Studios
Regular price: £37.49
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Tim Conway on 18-04-14
Brings horrible history alive
This book is very good. Ann and John Tusa are to be congratulated. I went to Germany at the age of 4 in 1946 for 2 years and can just remember what it was like for a young boy going to an Army school. The Tusa book reminded me of the prevailing atmosphere. My parents often talked of their times there, what it was like mixing with the Americans and other allies, comparing the NAAFI with the PX, etc. Although fraternisation was forbidden we had a German gardener with a son my age and I was soon speaking better German than my parents. In my early teens we returned for a visit with an Army family living in what had been a Nazi officers' barracks, very spacious and elegantly laid-out, and the houses were well-equipped. However, at one end of the barracks was a large underground bunker that had hooks in the ceiling and what looked like ancient blood on the floor. Nearby was Bergen-Belsen with its huge common graves.
The Tusas cover the trial and its build-up in great detail. The various characters (prosecution, defence, accused, witnesses, judiciary) are all brought to life, and the descriptions of the crimes are vivid without being bloodthirsty. The difficulties faced by and the tensions between the four allied powers are almost as interesting as their treatment of the accused, some of whom had incredible lines of defence. Although the end of the trial is known to all, this was still a gripping read. Or maybe it's just that I like lots of detail.
I have one criticism, and that is with Ralph Cosham's delivery: he swallows the last letter or syllable, sometimes the last word, of many sentences. Plurals become bafflingly singular because the 's' cannot be heard. I admit I do nearly all my listening in my car and it may be that Mr Cosham's volume-drop is not so bothersome in a silent ambience. In any case, this is really a minor quibble because Mr Cosham has a mellifluous voice and his delivery is otherwise excellent with an appropriate mid-Atlantic accent.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
By Kindle Customer Lee Rogers on 07-04-13
Old but Unbowed
I first read this book a number of years ago when I was doing some research into post-war retribution in occupied Europe. Unless you wante to wade through the numerous transcripts of the Nuremberg Trials, this book will do the job for you by highlighting the main issues, personalities and dramas of that unique judicial occasion. This is a well-researched and fascinating book which gives the listener an insignt into the confused power play of some seriously flawed criminal characters inhabiting what was, in effect, a lunatic asylum. It also reveals some interesting information on those who participated in the trials from the judges to the prosecutors and the defence lawyers who must have realised that they faced an impossible job. THis is long book but well worth it if you want the unfolding drama of a legal trial with no precedents.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Anniebligh on 13-08-13
A really interesting listen
Ralph Cosham did a good job reading and did not intrude on the content
I found I needed to go back and read or listen again to other books to learn 'who is who'. And then do a Wikipedia search on the Trial and the Defendents.
(Shirer's Berlin Diary and Rise and Fall did convey the gut wrenching reactions of the time.)
Most interesting were the motivations of Judges and Lawyers involved compared to the Governments and politicians.
And to my thinking, a person only needs a genuine interest in the Second World War to find this book valuable.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
By Ronnie on 25-08-17
Detailed and rewarding listen for history buffs
When I look for books on Audible, I check the reviews first, especially the negative ones. Usually those will highlight things which are immediate deal breakers. So let me start with the negatives first:
1) There's a level of background knowledge needed for this book.
The authors provide a sufficient summary of World War II, which of course sets the stage for the Nuremberg Trials. However, I feel that some questions may go unanswered if someone doesn't understand why the Soviet Union was hellbent on summary execution of the defendants, for example. The book stands well on its own, and the content is digestible, but I would be hesitant to recommend it to someone who isn't a fan of history.
2) Sometimes the book will get boring.
Although the Nuremberg Trials were just over 70 years ago, the subject matter is very politically sensitive. This, along with the fact that history is not always a drama or thriller, means that sometimes the book will resemble a college lecture. Some parts of political history have to be understood in full context, even if the context is rather dry. While the Nuremberg Trials had a lot of exciting drama, outbursts, and even humor, it was still a judicial case, which can at times be mind numbing. Narrator Ralph Cosham's performance does little to help this. While I feel he could have injected emotion and higher energy into the writing, that request becomes rather tricky when the subject matter includes one of the worst inhumane atrocities in the 20th century.
I don't see these two cons as deal breakers. I'd imagine anyone precisely looking for audiobooks on the Nuremberg Trials knows that a) even the most exciting historical events have highs and lows, and b) contextual understanding is paramount. For example, it would be impossible to understand China during the Mao Era if you didn't have sufficient understanding of western imperialism during the 1800s.
Anyway, onto the good stuff!!
1) Dripping with detail and facts.
The Nuremberg Trials lasted an incredibly long time, and they were unprecedented in their scope, goals, and size. This book answered every last question I had on the subject, without becoming repetitious. Furthermore, it effectively introduced seemingly irrelevant information, and masterfully explained how it all fits into the bigger picture. When it came to describing the defendants, it was meticulously detailed. There's more than enough information on Hermann Göring's intelligence, cunning, wit, and sadism, or Rudolph Hess' ability to act mentally incompetent while having actual bouts of mental incompetence. The profiles of the defendants are some of the most interesting parts of the book.
2) The scope of this book is deceptive. On top of documenting the days of the trial, it discusses:
a) Should there even be a trial? Which countries wanted a speedy trial, a thorough trial, or just a show trial with a firing squad waiting outside?
b) How does one structure a trial which makes the defendants feel like they can represent themselves fairly, and negotiate more favorable terms of punishment?
c) How can the trial be ran without the defendants using it as a platform to criticize the allies for actions such as the Dresden or Tokyo firebombing, or nuclear weapons use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
d) How close was the trial to collapsing due to political infighting between France, U.S, U.K, USSR, and others?
e) How did the defendants react to the trial, their first night in prison, their sentence to death, or footage of war crimes in the court room?
f) How did lack of standing infrastructure, vehicles, materials, and resources hamper the setup and planning of the trial?
g) What was the public opinion of the trial in various countries such as Germany, France, the Soviet Union, or the UK?
All these questions, and any more, are covered wonderfully in the book. There's so much more to the subject that makes the Nuremberg Trails not just a court case, but a landmark historical event that has an effect on international law today.
I'm tired of writing. The book is a wild ride. Get it.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful