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Finland's War of Choice

The Troubled German-Finnish Coalition in World War II
Written by: Henrik Lunde
Narrated by: Tom Parks
Length: 14 hrs and 48 mins
Categories: History, World

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Publisher's Summary

This book describes the odd coalition between Germany and Finland in World War II, and their joint military operations from 1941 to 1945. This is a topic often missing in English, though in stark contrast to the numerous books on the shorter and less bloody Winter War. That conflict represented a gallant fight of a democratic “David” against a totalitarian “Goliath” that caught the imagination of the world. The story of Finland fighting alongside a “Goliath” of its own has not brought pride to that nation and was a period many Finns would rather forget.

The prologue of this book brings the listener up to speed by briefly examining the difficult history of Finland, from its separation from the Soviet Union in 1917 to its isolation after being bludgeoned in 1939-40. It then examines both Finnish and German motives for forming a coalition against the USSR, and how - as logical as a common enemy would seem - the lack of true planning and preparation would doom the alliance. This book posits that it was mind-boggling how the highly professional German General Staff allowed itself to accept the militarily unsound and shaky coalition that resulted. The war aims were not discussed or harmonized, there were no campaign plans with tasks and missions spelled out past the initial assault, no effective main effort established, inadequate force levels, and an unsound command structure with various headquarters. Practically every rule in the book was broken. The objective of linking up with the Finns in the Leningrad area was an important factor in Hitler opting for three main drives into the Soviet Union rather than an earlier OKH plan that called for only two.

After describing the operations during and after Barbarossa, this book describes how the Finnish theater became a blind ally for the Germans. Their strongest and best army was trapped both operationally and geographically in central and northern Finland, making virtually no contribution to the war effort. The Germans could not bring to bear enough forces to accomplish their objectives without substantial Finnish assistance, and that was not forthcoming.

The final chapters deal with the Soviet counteroffensive against the Finns in 1944. The Finns lost all their gains and quickly concluded a separate armistice. This left the German forces in Finland to simply vacate the territory, fighting between the Finns and Soviets alike as they tried to return to the main war. Jointly suffering 291,000 casualties, the only consolation was that the coalition had inflicted some 830,000 on the Soviets.

In this book, Henrik Lunde, a former US Special Operations colonel, and the renowned author of Hitler’s Pre-emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940, once again fills a profound gap in our understanding of World War II.

©2011 Henrik O. Lunde (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Rob
  • 19-10-17

Stay away from this incompetent junk

If you are looking for a good account of the Continuation War and Finnish-German alliance in WWII, please look elsewhere! This is a work of bad and polemical popular history. The author is utterly incompetent as he reads neither Finnish nor Russian. He focuses on the military operations and avoids everything related to politics. How he can make judgements about Finnish perceptions, choices and alternatives, is beyond me. Audible should not release junk like this.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. A. Fenn
  • 19-03-17

I gave up

I gave up, I wish the narrator had too. So badly read, terrible pronunciation, he must have said "Murmanks" about 300 times, it is Murmansk. Likewise there is apparently a town in Sweden called "Torino", when this should be Tornio. The delivery was so poor and emotionless the book which is of great interest to me becomes nothing more than a catalogue of military movements in places which make no sense due to poor pronunciation.

4 people found this helpful

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  • J. Walker
  • 01-01-18

Boring

What did you like best about Finland's War of Choice? What did you like least?

This is simply a boring book.

Would you be willing to try another one of Tom Parks’s performances?

No

Was Finland's War of Choice worth the listening time?

No

Any additional comments?

Fighting this "continuation war" was horrific with the cold and horrible weather. The author simply writes that regiments were reduced to battalion strength. Not very gritty. No understanding of what the combatants Russian, German and Finns had to struggle through.
The book had no energy. A wasted purchase.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Keith
  • 17-10-19

Awful presentation, incomplete analysis

Having spent a couple of years in Finland I found the mispronunciation of city, area, and peoples names so annoying that I found it nearly impossible to follow the dialogue. The narrator could have spent 15 or 20 minutes preparing for the narration and avoided all pronunciation problems as the Finnish language uses Latin pronunciations for every letter, no silent letters, and the emphasis is always on the first syllable. By the time I figured out who he was talking about, or which city or area he was talking about he was off onto something else.

Having only listened to 1/4 of the book, I am shocked that the presentation talks in depth about Finnish and German troop deployment and what "may" have been the German and Finnish negotiators intents and glosses over the previous Russian/Finnish wars, Winter War and it's after-war, the failure of the west to provide aid as promised during the Winter War, as if Finnish/Russian history, the failure of the west, and the current Russian troop movements were virtually irrelevant to the Fin's political positioning in the early years of WWII.

Having many Finnish friends I was hoping to find an unbiased book about the Finnish role in WWII. After listening to 1/4 of the book, this wasn't it. What I found was a sanitized Russian history and continual speculation about Finnish and German intent, after-all, we all know that all diplomacy was handled out in the open by every other country involved.

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  • Daniel D.
  • 20-06-19

informative, detailed.

Movements of units on battlefield are very hard to follow in an audiobook.
otherwise veri indormative, easy to follow the story. valid analysis points.
For a short version just listen last chapter 15mins.

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  • Christopher Daniels
  • 14-06-19

learn about a hidden part of WW 2 history

an interesting look into a hidden part of world war 2 history.
the only thing I can say against it is the reader really doesn't know how to pronounce a lot of Finnish names and Cities. other then that it is a good book.

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  • Carol Domme
  • 20-09-18

very dry, lack of personal narratives.

A hard book to listen to, not much personal narratives, color background. I suspect it's origin is of a translation of a military report, devoid of human variables

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  • michael olinger
  • 01-08-18

The Swedish Chef lives!

Good book , but the narration lets it down because of the unfortunate "Swedish Chef" pronunciations of Finnish personal and place names. Swedish and Finnish are NOT related or within the same language group. Wikipedia could have provided proper pronunciations.

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  • Tiina
  • 27-05-18

Poor pronunciation

I grew up in Finland and honestly could not understand the narrator’s pronunciation of the Finnish towns. It would be advisable to practice prior to reading.

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  • Juergen Reimers
  • 11-08-15

Missing Maps

Would you try another book from Henrik Lunde and/or Tom Parks?

Yes

Any additional comments?

With all the unknown localities and no maps it is sometimes difficult to follow/understand the story.

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  • Roger
  • 04-05-14

Truly awful narrator

Avoid this audiobook like the plague!

The subject is quite acceptable. but a little dry, but the book is ruined. destroyed even, by the terrible narrator. He actually manages to get you to focus on his dreadful mistakes so much that it overshadows the story.
He was so bad I started to take notes of his mis-pronunciations, but there were so many I gave up! I would understand someone to have a little trouble with some Russian names, but Tom Parks pronounces the same name differently (and all wrongly) several different times even in the same paragraph. It's highly unprofessional and really shows a slap-dash attitude to his work. German and Russian names are mangled dreadfully. Some he doesn't even pronounce as they are spelled, meaning he couldn't even be bothered to try.

Its very sad, and I won't be buying any more books narrated by him.

9 people found this helpful