• Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour

  • Armistice Day, 1918 World War I and Its Violent Climax
  • By: Joseph E. Persico
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Marosz
  • Length: 17 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (98 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

November 11, 1918. The final hours pulsate with tension as every man in the trenches hopes to escape the melancholy distinction of being the last to die in World War I. The Allied generals knew the fighting would end precisely at 11 a.m., yet in the final hours they flung men against an already beaten Germany. The result? Eleven thousand casualties suffered - more than during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. 

Why? Allied commanders wanted to punish the enemy to the very last moment and career officers saw a fast-fading chance for glory and promotion. Joseph E. Persico puts the listener in the trenches with the forgotten and the famous - among the latter, Corporal Adolf Hitler, Captain Harry Truman, and Colonels Douglas MacArthur and George Patton. Mainly, he follows ordinary soldiers’ lives, illuminating their fate as the end approaches. 

Persico sets the last day of the war in historic context with a gripping reprise of all that led up to it, from the 1914 assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, which ignited the war, to the raw racism black doughboys endured except when ordered to advance and die in the war’s last hour. Persico recounts the war’s bloody climax in a cinematic style that evokes All Quiet on the Western Front, Grand Illusion, and Paths of Glory

The pointless fighting on the last day of the war is the perfect metaphor for the four years that preceded it, years of senseless slaughter for hollow purposes. This book is sure to become the definitive history of the end of a conflict Winston Churchill called “the hardest, cruelest, and least-rewarded of all the wars that have been fought.” 

©2004 Joseph E. Persico (P)2004 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Effectively marshaling his source material, Persico powerfully reconstructs Armistice Day as an emblem of the war." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Beauty amidst savagery

Mr Persico tells the story of the Great War (as WWI was called until Sep 1, 1939). He begins with the last day of the war and then takes us back to the war's start in 1914; each chapter begins with Nov 11, 1918 and we are horrified to learn that even though the armistice has been set, Allied commanders are bent on carrying out offensives in which thousands more die on that last day. He provides a structure for the book by telling us of the military strategy used by both sides (largely throwing wave upon wave of men over the tops of the trenches into the thresher of machine guns), the military commanders and political personalities. But Persico's gift is in telling the story of the trenches from interviews and diaries of the men. He tells of the first use of precision artillery that killed so many and made more crazy from the sound and earthquake tremors of hours long barrages.
There is such beauty to this story-in spite of the horrible loss of life and injury.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Opt for the Abridged Version

A personalized account of life on the front and battles in World War I, told largely from the documented record of those who were there.

While very insightful, the unabridged version finds itself repetitive and at times tedious. I would therefore recommend the ABRIDGED version instead.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not for History Buffs

This is a good book for anyone not familiar with the war. However, for those that know the war well, the book is repetitive and does not offer new or interesting insights.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent description of the scale of WWI

I thought this title did a wonderful job of describing the feeling of the times, the haughty arrogance of the commanders, the willingness to send masses of troops against the newly imployed machine gun, and the scale of battles with the troop losses are astounding. The book does a good job of describing battle, human feelings, and political atmosphere.

It was very easy to listen to and one of those titles that I truly looked forward to. It also helped that the same person who narrated T-Rex (Jonathan Marosz).

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Up close and personal

I enjoyed this book especially the author's strategy to start each chapter from the last day of the war. It is indeed horrifying to learn of the thousands of soldiers on all sides that lost their lives on 11-11-18. I do agree with other reviewers that there is some repetition and the first couple of chapters are a summary of how the war started -- if you know WWI then that aspect might not help - but if you don't - the detail is a chilling reminder of what went on for the day-to-day soldier, the senseless major battles and in some sense why there was a WWII.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Somewhat jumbled

I wanted to love it. I didn't like the way it was arranged. the title implied that the greater War would have been talked about to a certain degree. And I am pleased that it talked more about the last day of the war and some what of the aftermath. But going back and forth between certain days of the war and the last made it hard to know where was where.

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If You Want Understand WWI

Where does Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Excellent and well written

What does Jonathan Marosz bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Individual experiences and the horror of WWI

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It is very thought-provoking parts of it are difficult to listen to.

Any additional comments?

This is an excellent book for those who want to understand the events be

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

11th month, 11th day, 11th hour

5 stars are not enough, the stars of the universe are not enough. My wish is to visit these hallowed fields.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Poor narration

What did you love best about Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour?

This is an excellent history of WWI.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator has a nice voice, but is a poor reader. He sounds as if he is not following the story at times, adding unnatural inflections and pronouncing words in odd ways, which detracts from the narrative.

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

Probably a better read than listen

The cinematic style of the narrative, cutting between multiple storylines, didn't really lend itself to an audiobook. Without some sort of strong cue (page breaks, long pauses, etc.) it becomes a little disorienting. But the material is excellent and it's definitely worth the listen.