• A Call to Arms

  • Mobilizing America for World War II
  • By: Maury Klein
  • Narrated by: Ben Bartolone
  • Length: 35 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)

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A Call to Arms

By: Maury Klein
Narrated by: Ben Bartolone
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Publisher's Summary

The colossal scale of World War II required a mobilization effort greater than anything attempted in all of the world's history. The United States had to fight a war across two oceans and three continents - and to do so it had to build and equip a military that was all but nonexistent before the war began. Never in the nation's history did it have to create, outfit, transport, and supply huge armies, navies, and air forces on so many distant and disparate fronts.The Axis powers might have fielded better trained soldiers, better weapons, better tanks and aircraft. But they could not match American productivity. America buried its enemies in aircraft, ships, tanks, and guns; in this sense, American industry, and American workers, won World War II. The scale of effort was titanic, and the result historic. Not only did it determine the outcome of the war, but it transformed the American economy and society. Maury Klein's A Call to Arms is the first narrative history of this epic struggle, told by a master historian, and renders the transformation of America with a depth and detail never available before.

©2013 Maury Klein (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about A Call to Arms

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

At times interesting, but quite a long haul.

Would you try another book from Maury Klein and/or Ben Bartolone?

If it were shorter

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

would have been interested in hearing more about the aftermath - demobilization.

What aspect of Ben Bartolone’s performance would you have changed?

his cadence was half a beat to fast. It was as if he was rushing at times. The performance still clocks in over 34 hours. Narrator had at times some eye brow raising pronunciations and left me with the impression he had little familiarity with the subject matter or at least the time frame in which it was set. (I imagine that is not why he was hired) His voice is pleasant enough and I got use to the performance.

Do you think A Call to Arms needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

a focus on demobilization would interest me.

Any additional comments?

The material is at times very dry. You have to be pretty wonky to want to listen to it. I did learn much from it and overall enjoyed it. However, at times it felt like work.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story but oh jeez.......WHY this NARRATOR?

I am a long, long time listener to many audiobooks, especially of this period in American history, but how could the director of this performance choose that narrator?!?!?! In general, the voice is all wrong for the subject matter- too young. I could not get over it from the beginning. It lacks gravitas for the subject material. Also, his pronunciation of many words is infuriating. I mean, who can't properly pronounce BORNEO???? Or MALAYA?

I love the book so much that I'm plowing through but consider the narrator choice a crucial mistake. He would probably be quite good for a different genre, but here is miscast- not to his fault.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too much yet too little

This could have been an amazing book if Maury Klein knew less about this topic and more about how to tell a story. But he can’t not put it all in. As others have noted, there is an enormous amount of material about bureaucratic infighting and there’s also too much backstory about WW2–nobody who would tackle a book like this needs that much help.. And the price is that the really fascinating story—how stuff got made and how the job got done—is buried alive. If anything this needed to be way less about people and a lot more about physical objects and their manufacture. (Klein has an unerring ear for the boring quote.)

I don’t recommend this as an audiobook for the above reasons (it’s a skimmable book, not a deep read) and also because the narrator is pretty bad. I guess Grover Gardner can’t read everything, but this book needed someone who doesn’t sound like Jimmy Olsen, cub reporter for the Daily Planet. A book already lacking in narrative intensity is worsened by narrator this lacking in gravitas.

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America Goes to War -- At Home

A stunning and almost incredible account of the political, social and especially industrial awakening of America from isolationist neutrality to become the arsenal of democracy. With a broad and deep analysis and narrative Klein recounts the varied aspects -- technological, labor and especially political -- that turned America's cars and refrigerators into guns, while trying to keep the front and the home front supplied with food and other necessities. A magisterial work that leaves one in awe of the transformation and the men and women who managed it and changed America forever in every way.

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Critical material, terrible narrator.

An absolute must have. However, you have to deal with the performer. He speaks too quickly, and mispronounces EVERYTHING. The book is still worth it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great history bad narration

I am sticking this one out because it is an important and excellent history. The narrator need to learn his craft. The mispronunciations are terrible. My favorite is “bio-Vac” instead of bivouac. Many are as bad.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

great subject. poor execution.

I have thought about writing a book about the amazing amounts of production during WW2 and this ain't it. Too many anachronims and if this isn't the first book the reader has ever voiced it would surprise me. I've never heard more words and names mispronounced. From Aye kron Ohio ...... just needs some proofreading and work. thanks

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    4 out of 5 stars

Very scholarly work.

If you're interested in the details of what went on in America during the war years, this is the book for you. the narrator doesn't know how to pronounce several names and places and that can be distracting. He also seems very disinterested in the topic at times, as if he is just reading a technical manual. Otherwise very good.

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The Detail is Numbing

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Cut half the material and get a different narrator.When I reached the part where the author talks about a town that "claimed to serve the Home of the Sweetest Strawberries..." or when he talks about "41,449 pounds of aluminum" or "25,605 pounds of aluminum scrap", it was just too much detail. It is like a football game being reported every 30 seconds and each every attendee being quoted on what they think is happening in the game.

Has A Call to Arms turned you off from other books in this genre?

Probably not.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ben Bartolone?

Can't think of anyone in particular, but he puts too much emotion in the reading so that a discussion of who is fighting who in the bureaucracy comes across as something leading to a climax when there isn't one or won't be one for a long time to come.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Call to Arms?

Much of the interplay between bureaucratic groups and quote after quote of people with only slight involvement in the story. For example, "The company's president responded by saying, "I believe the Government is all wet."" So... what does that add to the story?

Any additional comments?

Please refund credit for book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A lengthy book about logistics

What did you like best about A Call to Arms? What did you like least?

This book covers the other side of World War II: being able to supply the materials to prepare for and participate in that war. The US was ill-prepared for that war, and had to mobilize quickly and with little time to spare. The problem I have with the book is that it is extremely detailed about those war efforts, and sometimes gets bogged down in those details. As a tech person, I enjoyed those details, but others may get bored.

Could you see A Call to Arms being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I can possibly see this as a documentary series, but I don't think it will ever be done.

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Profile Image for Rohan
  • Rohan
  • 08-28-16

fantastic

Amazing how much I learned about the topic and the work of the people involved