• The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler's Atomic Bomb

  • By: Neal Bascomb
  • Narrated by: Chris Sorensen
  • Length: 14 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (588 ratings)

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The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler's Atomic Bomb

By: Neal Bascomb
Narrated by: Chris Sorensen
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Publisher's Summary

From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of Hunting Eichmann and The Perfect Mile, an epic adventure and spy story about the greatest act of sabotage in all of World War II.

It's 1942 and the Nazis are racing to be the first to build a weapon unlike any known before. They have the physicists, they have the uranium, and now all their plans depend on amassing a single ingredient: heavy water, which is produced in Norway's Vemork, the lone plant in all the world that makes this rare substance. Under threat of death, Vemork's engineers push production into overdrive.

For the Allies, the plant must be destroyed. But how would they reach the castle fortress set on a precipitous gorge in one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on Earth?

Based on a trove of top secret documents and never-before-seen diaries and letters of the saboteurs, The Winter Fortress is an arresting chronicle of a brilliant scientist, a band of spies on skies, perilous survival in the wild, sacrifice for one's country, Gestapo manhunts, soul-crushing setbacks, and a last-minute operation that would end any chance Hitler could obtain the atomic bomb - and alter the course of the war.

©2016 Neal Bascomb (P)2016 Neal Bascomb
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler's Atomic Bomb

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

Needs a different narrator!!!!

Absolutely amazing story & great writing but unfortunately the worst reading I've ever heard on audible

17 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Style vs. sound

Not every writing style works well as an audiobook. In the first half of Winter Fortress the author uses names only sparingly, preferring to refer to his subject as "he" or "him" until the topic shifts to another person, whose name will then be mentioned once .As a result, listeners unable to fully concentrate for extended periods of time will have particular difficulty following the story, and separating one Norwegian saboteur from the others. The story picks up midway, as members of the Grouse and Swallow teams battle starvation, needing to use stone-age survival skills in order to carry out their orders to delay or prevent the start of the atomic age. Once Operation Gunnerside kicks into gear, the story picks up speed, and maintains it until the end of the book. Had the publisher assigned an editor with a greater sensitivity to the needs of audiobook listeners, minor changes could have been made that would have made it much less tempting to switch to another book before the most dramatic action really begins.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Extraordinary Story, Known By Few

Neal Bascomb has unpacked and presented an heroic adventure that quite possibly changed world history. The importance of heavy water to the Germans was paramount for their nuclear weapons program. This is the story of how Norweign commandos (chiefly) disrupted the German pursuit of heavy water at a plant in Norway and as this "liquid gold" was being transported to Germany. The tenacity and heroics of the commandos is simply epic.

Bascomb writes well. The narrator, however, has a strange drop in his voice at the end of many sentences. It's distracting. That said, the story itself and the detail developed by Bascomb make the book a great listen. I couldn't wait to walk in the morning so I could hear the next installment.

4 people found this helpful

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Awesome story.

This book was a little hard to listen to and keep up with all the names and places on the first listening. Slog through the first one it is worth the effort. Was very touched by the sacrifice and commitment of the Norwegian fighters standing for freedom. I was not aware of their contributions to winning the war with Germany.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story

I really enjoyed this book which gives the full story of the allies effort during WW2 to sabotage the Nazi regime heavy water production in Norway (in general) and more specifically about the crazy commando mission undertaken by a group of Norwegians to destroy one of the plants! The description of the Vida and the harsh conditions they had to battle through even before their mission is really hard to imagine, especially at this day and age.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

Unfortunately I found the narration to be a bit poor, a better narrator would have improved the listening experience significantly

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Don’t Dismiss This Book Because of the Narration!

General - I surmise that you will listen to the sample and lament aloud; “what on earth do these publishers think when they pick a narrator!?” I thought the very same thing and I really struggled on this title because of that. I left this book in my wish list for weeks; periodically going back and seeing if I could deal with it for 14-hours. Ultimately, the overwhelming urge to listen to this story outweighed my reluctance to hear the narrator and I decided to give it a go. I always had the option to return it after an hour if I found myself trying to gouge out my inner ears.

Content - I made a spot-on choice by getting this book. The Winter Fortress is fully detailed without getting boring, as often happens with books like this. The moments of combat action, the real guts of the story, are exactly on point as truth becomes stranger than fiction. It does flow like a good thriller novel; yet the reality of what these brave men did was never lost on me as I listened. The book didn’t manage to evoke any emotion, but it did make me reflect on the lives of the people and how they sacrificed for a greater cause.

Length – It’s a relatively long book, but I think it included every germane fact that was essential to properly and comprehensively tell this story. I did miss some information while listening simply because of the amount of content, but I’ll catch what I missed on a second listen at a later date. The story may have been a bit fat in some areas, but the amount of filler pales in comparison to the entire story.

Narration – I think even Mr. Sorensen would admit he’s no Simon Vance, but then again who is? After listening to every minute of this book I can honestly say that Mr. Sorensen is not a “bad” narrator, he’s just very different from what I’m accustomed to. I reached a mental truce with his style after about an hour and even though he didn’t add to the book he certainly didn’t detract from it either. He enunciates very clearly and his cadence is pretty good. Yes, his inflection is a bit odd, especially on conclusion of some sentences. His imitations of people's accents are non-existent, but accents can be a double-edged sword; so I appreciate that he didn’t try, simply to fail badly. Even though this book would likely be ‘better’ with a different narrator the story itself is so interesting that the narration was pretty much irrelevant to me.

Summation – If you are a history or WW II buff, or you enjoy real life stories that read like thriller novels, you will like this book regardless of the narration. I urge you give this book a try even if the narrator is not your cup of tea.

2 people found this helpful

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Read this book!

Amazing story of honor, bravery, heroism and sacrifice. Read this book, you'll be glad you did!

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating story

I had known that the Nazis were pursuing an atomic bomb and the heavy water experiments but I did not know how big a role that resistance fighters had in thwarting the efforts. This handful of men changed the course of history and the detailed story of their struggle should be widely known.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good history

interesting account of the nazi attic bomb project and the destruction by Norway of a key ingredient. Gets a little long at times

2 people found this helpful

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"You have to fight for peace."

A great and exiting book! Well written and researched and narrated! A story about Norwegian fighting men who were trained and supported by the British to destroy the Winter Fortress, a plant that manufactured heavy water so the Nazi's could have an atomic bomb.

The heart of the book is what a small group of Norwegian commandos did to prevent the heavy water from ever being used to make Hitler's bomb.

I recommend this book highly because it demonstrates what the courageous Norwegians endured and accomplished in order to prevent an atomic bomb fom ever being developed by the Nazis. A wonderful piece of Norwegian history! A wonderful true story of men who did their part in the history of World War II.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-14-19

Excellent listen

Just an incredible story...made even more incredible by the fact its true! Narrator certainly didn't spoil it for me.

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  • Daniel
  • 05-08-21

Great story, narrator not so great.

I had to listen to this on 1.3x speed for it to be enjoyable. After doing that and getting used to the narrator it’s a really good story. Well recommend.

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  • john
  • 07-01-16

wow

If you could sum up The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler's Atomic Bomb in three words, what would they be?

what a story

What did you like best about this story?

what the soldiers went through

What about Chris Sorensen’s performance did you like?

initially nothing but I eventually got used to his voice

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes

Any additional comments?

recommended