• Last Stands

  • Why Men Fight When All Is Lost
  • By: Michael Walsh
  • Narrated by: Michael Walsh
  • Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (352 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What are we willing to die for? Michael Walsh restores the dignity of lost concepts like honor, duty, sacrifice, and patriotism for our unheroic age.

What is heroism? What are its moral components - altruism, love, self-sacrifice? Why was it once celebrated, and now often dismissed as anachronistic? In this dramatic account of last stands in history - famous or otherwise - Walsh explores the stakes that led men at very different times and places to face overwhelming odds and certain death for the sake of family, home and country. 

In Last Stands, Walsh writes about battles in which a small group faced overwhelming odds, and all too often died to the last man - battles like Thermopylae, the Ronceveaux Pass, the Alamo, the siege of Malta, Little Big Horn, Stalingrad, Rorke’s Drift, and the Warsaw Ghetto - explaining why they were fought, what their ultimate outcome was, and their afterlife in history, myth, and culture.

©2020 Michael Walsh (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Last Stands

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

Antiquated World View

Some of the analysis of historical events was interesting. However, I thought the author was confused about what book he wanted to write. There was historical analysis of events that were followed by rather racist and misogynistic ramblings that are straight out of the 1950s. These ramblings didn’t really connect to the subject matter. It was really weird. Treating other people who differ from you is what reasonable adults do. The author thinks that this is a chore or a “feminine trait” as he explains it. I finish every book I start, but this one was a struggle because the bigoted language is jarring at points. I wouldn’t recommend.

17 people found this helpful

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The stale misogynists last stand

As an avid historian I foolishly purchased this thinking it seemed interesting. I was hugely unprepared for the very thinly veiled right wing leaning, complete with wildly racist and sexist rhetoric (the author at one stage says every woman he met in the dying Soviet Union was a trollope).

There are several highly misogynistic moments in the open chapters alone. I am not shocked to find out that the author is a contributor to the utterly reprehensible epoch times.

Avoid at all costs.
(unless of course you enjoy racism, sexism etc)

17 people found this helpful

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Excellent historical facts

Not politically skewed. Unemotional and unbiased. Written in an interesting and engaging way it will hold your interest. Very well done. Highly recommended.

16 people found this helpful

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Russia “not a colonizer?”

I believe the millions of citizens of various former Soviet republics might quibble with such a statement


He states since the Russo-Japanese conflict, the Russians had no interest in eastern expansion. Mukden, Manchuria, IndoChina are but a few of the commonly known examples of eastern adventurism that the author misses—-not to mention Afghanistan and Pakistan closer to home.


Good grief!



Kinda of makes you wonder what other basic facts he gets wrong.



Those particular shockers, inaccuracies in WW2 strategy, and a certain homogeneity in the examples he uses raises questions about the entire work



Listen to the introduction and the early classical examples and move on.



The rest is redundant, factually suspect and as such, not worth you time.

13 people found this helpful

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Don't be silly

Michael, don't be silly. Your chapter on the Alamo was ridiculous at best. Spending time on movie reviews and defining the men that fought and died in that battle in a denigrating manor as being remembered as not much more than Disneyland characters reflects the shallowness of your research development. I suggest that you spend your time- not on John Wayne and other movie stars and focus on supporting historical events like Goliad, the Battle of Gonzales and the Runaway Scrape not to mention the tyrannical control that Santa Anna placed on the people of Mexico as well as the settlers of Republic of Texas. Sadly, I ignored the negative reviews before I got the book, my mistake. I can only suggest to my friends that read such books is to know what really happened in historical events or better yet stick to the fiction section.

8 people found this helpful

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Time does not change our nature

With each Last Stand historic circumstance is described in detail for the reader so much so this book gives the reader an expansive view of history and not simply a blow by blow description of a particular battle. Mr Walsh pulls the common threads and places them in perspective. When all appears to be lost do you stand and fight or turn and run? The vast majority stand with their comrades to make their enemy pay as dearly as possible.

I highly recommend this book to anybody who studies human behavior and our basic nature over time.

8 people found this helpful

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TERRIFIC, BRILLIANT AND TIMELY!!

The prologue and epilogue alone are well worth the price of admission as Walsh gives the virtue signaling social justice pansies (sorry, there is no other word for them) the drubbing they deserve and the warning they need. As a combat veteran, a Green Beret and a lawyer, this book resonates with me as few others have done. Echoes of Jim Webb’s “Born Fighting” this is not for those who - to borrow a phrase from the book - belong to the “sumptuously feminized west”.. His crisp style and take-no-prisoners pronouncements…
“A country where women have lost their virtue and men their nerve soon vanishes…When every man is a petitioner, a lackey, or a slave and every woman a whore, then that country is finished.“.
Are as true as they are foreboding. His reflections upon those who destroy, demean and denigrate are sweet music to this Old Constitutional Defender’s ears…
“The animated warriors of the social justice movement (who think it cathartic to tear down statues of great men) are quite brave when confronting inanimate objects, but one wonders how far this bravado would extend to an existential threat. Let’s hope we never have to find out although one suspects they would suddenly discover the joys of conscience objection or a higher loyalty to non-violence over their preferred goal of international borderless brotherhood.”
Lord, I wish I could make this mandatory reading In every high school.
That said, the book is not without (minor) fault… The relatively short description of
the Alamo’s Last Stand almost made the Texan in me cry…but hey, no one is perfect or has the Divine Blessing of a Lone Star Heritage!
BUY THIS BOOK!

7 people found this helpful

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Great history book with contemporary point of view

Very insightful and well-researched. I especially enjoyed the epilogue with the author's personal perspective on his subject.

7 people found this helpful

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Detailed History Here for The Taking...

I am a hard grader so that is why there are no 5s in the ratings. That said I think that Mr. Walsh has done a masterful job in the retelling of battles long forgotten and more recent ones that soon will be given the educational values of most younger people these days. The introduction is very important. I found that for me at least some of the earliest and mid-history battles were a little tedious for me to devour, but things quickly picked up. The best thing about every battle were the little known details that surrounded each fight and the reasons they occurred and the outcomes they produced. I would highly recommend this book to any serious student of military history.

5 people found this helpful

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Stick to writing...please!

A somewhat disjointed and frankly boring book about some really neat historical events. In the hands of another narrator, other than the author (with a voice that does not put one to sleep) it just might be a fair listen. As it is, please do not waste your credits, or money

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-11-22

title is misleading

I was hoping to get more info on the psyche of the people involved. However this is not the case.
The subject is made very wide. A lot of personal conclusions and half truths. In one case he states that the nazi persecuted Catholics. totally wrong since he had corporation from the pope in those days. Priest where recruiting people to fight communism.

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  • Andrew
  • 07-24-21

More Ripping Yarns than Why Men Fight

I bought the book because of it’s title ‘Why men fight when all is lost’. On this score it disappointed. It is a collection of ‘Ripping Yarns’ or to be more accurate, stories and histories around the last stands and the main protagonists involved. Possibly the most interesting and self indulgent was when he wrote about his Father. If you like a collection of incomplete histories of a few battles then this is for you but please don’t expect a psychological analysis of why men fight using the last stands listed as examples. It simply doesn’t do what it says on the cover. A very misleading title.

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  • Mr. R. Murray
  • 05-22-21

Bigoted views of the world. Very poor

I think people should be warned on the extremely distasteful views of the author’s view. At times it very distasteful. Be warned

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  • Rocciabruna
  • 04-03-21

why men fight

the topic is interesting and the idea to go through historical samples is good. Premises were promising.
Unfortunately narration is weak.
- Historically very superficial, not even acceptable at my high school level; it would have been better to eliminate it, since the book is not a history text
- psychological analysis is weak
- no real conclusions

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  • Andy
  • 12-16-20

Compelling

An informative and solid book with the curious omission of Dien Bien Phu . Unless l missed it .

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Graham Dunne
  • 12-15-20

Brilliant book, really enjoyed this.

A wonderful book which discusses the actions and consequences of the battles against today’s societal norms. I really enjoyed the stories that gave a background to the protagonists. Really great stuff.

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  • Mr. Alan R. Jenkins
  • 12-11-20

Compelling and Historically Portentous

I expected a lot from the title alone and got far more than I could have wished for. Yes a most compelling audiobook, well written and narrated; Last Stands delivers the details of several key historical events involving individual or group efforts to stave off defeat knowing that the outcome will result in death to the defenders. Touching on the Spartan (possibly the most famous last stand beyond Custer's at the Little Big Horn) defence at Thermopylae to Korea in 1950's, this is a revisionist look at histories heroic but necessary human battles against all odds. Each topic is usually conjoined by another similar event at a later time period; but the emphasis is not on purely comparison but the similarity of the futility based upon a situation that despite changes in human development over centuries; the same outcome is inevitable. What is also evident from the book is that it highlights the modern conundrum of how history not only repeats itself; but that the causes, effects, and post event consequences directly or indirectly linked have not changed. Listen and learn about the past to understand the present is perhaps the best way to describe this book.