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  • On to Victory

  • The Canadian Liberation of the Netherlands, March 23 - May 5, 1945
  • Written by: Mark Zuehlke
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 16 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It is remembered in the Netherlands as "the sweetest of springs", the one that saw the country's liberation from German occupation. But for the soldiers of First Canadian army, who fought their way across the Rhine River and then through Holland and northwest Germany, that spring of 1945 was bittersweet. While the Dutch were being liberated from the grinding boot heel of the Nazis, their freedom was being paid for in Canadian lives lost.

On to Victory is the story of those final cruel days of the war. From the brutal battlefields of Holland and northwest Germany where a collapsing enemy army still fought with fierce determination, to the unique truce in which the Germans and Allies provided food to millions of Dutch citizens starved almost to death, to those heady moments when each town and city was finally liberated, this is the little-told story of First Canadian Army's last campaign of World War II. With his trademark "you are there" style that draws upon official records, veteran memories, and a keen understanding of the experience of combat, Mark Zuehlke brings to life this final chapter in the story of Canada in World War II.

©2011 Mark Zuehlke (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about On to Victory

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A story every Canadian should know.

Loved this book from start to finish. Made my heart swell thinking of those men and women who gave theirs lives to Liberate the grateful Dutch.

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Proud to be Canadian

My best friend's dad was a toddler in the Netherlands in 1945. He was sequestered with a few dozen other children in a manse outside of Utrecht. Even though he was very young, he remembers the occupying Germans surrendering peacefully rather than putting the children in danger. His story is typical - the transition was 'largely' bloodless (although Zuehlke argues that is due to aggressive Surrender negotiations). Shortly after Canadian forces liberated them, my friend's family emigrated to Canada.. forever thankful.
Mark Zuehlke does a thorough researching job to inform an exposé on Canadian forces fighting their way across Europe to finally reach the Netherlands in the dying days of the war. Yes, the actual liberation was somewhat anticlimactic (which could have made for a dreary book), but Zuehlke concentrates on the military battles leading up to the final few days of WWII to keep the book captivating.
Hence, this is really a book about the role Canada played in the final defeat of Nazi Germany (swinging away from the German Western Front to take on occupying forces and demanding surrender/assistance feeding a starving population). The liberation of the Dutch really serves as the denouement in this book.
Zuehlke compiles military documents and records, interviews, and on-the-ground anecdotes recorded by embedded War Diarists to painstakingly document a seminal event in Dutch/Canadian history - one which cemented the two nations forever. The writing is clear, well-crafted, and easy to consume. In addition, the author's descriptions of house-by-house street battles (complete with grenade exchanges, sniper attacks, and flamethrowers/armor/artillery/airstrikes) are legitimately harrowing and among the best I have ever read. Zuehlke admirably keeps a potentially very dry subject out of the "boring" realm - this is less of a textbook (regurgitating names, dates, and numbers) and more of a document (making the events real). Zuehkle's reputation for writing immersive history is well-earned.

William Dufris (who died in March 2020) was an excellent choice to narrate this book. He reads remarkably clearly with a timbre that's comfortable for hours of consumption and an emotive tone that keeps the listener interested. Thankfully, there is little dialogue in this volume (Dufris is *terrible* at voice-acting), so the most noticeable drawback in this particular audiobook is that his pace of reading is a little slow (adjusting playback speed to 1.10X corrected it nicely). Audible Studios provide a quality product.

I rate 'On To Victory' 8 stars out of 10. This book got my patriotic Canadian heart beating: I wasn't aware of how many real-life heroes served among our troops in the Second World War.
I bought this book when it was offered as a Daily Deal, but can advise you to not hesitate to spend the Credit if you're considering this pulse-pounding syllabus. I would read more from Zuehlke and listen to more from Dufris any day.

[Incidentally, I would surrender the instant I saw a Canadian 'Wasp' coming at me.. a tank spitting a stream of flame 150m long? Are you kidding me?]

ATTN PRODUCERS: Please include a PDF with a list of the dozens of Warriors mentioned in the text

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proud

wonderfully acknowledges all the brave Canadians who died by name As well as explained how things really were

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A great remembrance

The Canadian Battle Series does an amazing job telling the stories of those who served Canada and remembering those who did not come home. This book wraps it up beautifully.

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  • Charlotte Ward
  • 2013-10-05

Confusing at times, narrator impossible

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would not recommend this audiobook to a friend, for a couple reasons. Firstly, there are too many names of individuals and units to keep track of; and, most importantly, the narrator is very distracting. He seems unable to speak many common words, such as "the." He sounds clipped and awkward, and some sentences are almost unintelligible. I will never listen to a story narrated by this man again.

If you’ve listened to books by Mark Zuehlke before, how does this one compare?

I have listened to Ortona by this same author and narrator. The same complaint applies for the narrator, but Ortona is easier to follow than this book.

What didn’t you like about William Dufris’s performance?

He seems unable to speak many common words, such as "the." He sounds clipped and awkward, and some sentences are almost unintelligible. I will never listen to a story narrated by this man again.

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  • Ryan
  • 2017-01-19

Awesome and humbling

This is the 5th book I have read of Mark's and I'm not disappointed. his writing an extensive researchdoes great justice to the memory of our Canadian soldiers who sacrifice so much.