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The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau

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The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The true story of the bloodiest and most dramatic march to victory of the Second World War: the battlefield odyssey of a maverick U.S. Army officer and his infantry unit as they fought for over five hundred days to liberate Europe - from the invasion of Italy to the gates of Dachau.

   From July 10, 1943, the date of the Allied landing in Sicily, to May 8, 1945, when victory in Europe was declared – the entire time it took to liberate Europe – no regiment saw more action, and no single platoon, company, or battalion endured worse, than the ones commanded by Felix Sparks, who had entered the war as a greenhorn second lieutenant of the 157th “Eager for Duty” Infantry Regiment of the 45th “Thunderbird” Division.  Sparks and his fellow Thunderbirds fought longest and hardest to defeat Hitler, often against his most fanatical troops, when the odds on the battlefield were even and the fortunes of the Allies hung in the balance – and when the difference between defeat and victory was a matter of character, not tactics or armor.

   Drawing on extensive interviews with Sparks and dozens of his men, as well as over five years of research in Europe and in archives across the US, historian Alex Kershaw masterfully recounts one of the most inspiring and heroic journeys in military history.  Over the course of four amphibious invasions, Sparks rose from captain to colonel as he battled from the beaches of Sicily through the mountains of Italy and France, ultimately enduring bitter and desperate winter combat against the diehard SS on the Fatherland’s borders.  Though he lost all of his company to save the Allied beach-head at Anzio and an entire battalion in the dark forests of the Vosges, Sparks miraculously survived the long bloody march across Europe and was selected to lead a final charge to Bavaria to hunt down Adolf Hitler.

   In the dying days of the Third Reich, Sparks and his men crossed the last great barrier in the West, the Rhine, only to experience some of the most intense street fighting and close combat suffered by Americans in WWII.  When they finally arrived at the gates of Dachau, Hitler’s first and most notorious concentration camp, the Thunderbirds confronted scenes that robbed the mind of reason.  With victory within grasp, Sparks confronted the ultimate test of his humanity: after all he had faced, could he resist the urge to wreak vengeance on the men who had caused untold suffering and misery?

   Written with the narrative drive and vivid immediacy of Kershaw’s previous bestselling books about American infantrymen in WWII, The Liberator is a story for the ages, an intensely human and dramatic account of one of history’s greatest warriors and his unheralded role in America’s finest achievement – the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Review:

"In his latest WWII narrative, Kershaw (The Longest Winter) examines the war through the experiences of Felix Sparks, an American law student — turned — soldier who saw action in some of the bloodiest campaigns of 1943 — 1945. Sparks was initially assigned as a second lieutenant with the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division (the so-called 'Thunderbirds') and ended his service as a 'world-weary' lieutenant colonel. Kershaw follows Sparks and the 157th as they land at Sicily, help liberate Rome, push on through France, and are among the first American troops to enter Germany. 'No force in history is thought to have freed so many people and marched so far to do so,' Kershaw proclaims. But the darkest moment comes when the soldiers liberate the concentration camp at Dachau, which pushes many of them to the breaking point. While Kershaw's prose can be purplish, he is a captivating narrator, hammering home the chaos and carnage of war, sparing no sensory detail to paint a cohesive picture. Kershaw's portrayal of his subject (based on interviews with Sparks, who died in 2007, and other survivors) makes for a riveting, almost epic tale of a larger-than-life, underappreciated figure. 16 pages of b&w photos, and photos throughout, 13 maps. Agent: Jim Hornfischer, Hornfischer Literary Management. (Oct. 30)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Alex Kershaw is the New York Times bestselling author of several books on World War II, including The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter.  He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Contents

 

Prologue – The Graves

PART ONE – THE DUSTBOWL

Chapter 1 – The West 

Chapter 2 – Off To War

PART TWO – ITALY  

Chapter 3 – Sicily

Chapter 4 – The Race for Messina

Chapter 5 – Mountain Country   

PART THREE – ANZIO

Chapter 6 – Danger Ahead  

Chapter 7 – Hell Broke Loose

Chapter 8 – A Blood Dimmed Tide

Chapter 9 – The Battle of The Caves 

Chapter 10 – Crossing The Line

Chapter 11 – The Bitch-head

Chapter 12 – The Break Out

Chapter 13 – Rome 

PART FOUR – FRANCE

Chapter 14 – DAY 401

Chapter 15 – The Champagne Campaign

Chapter 16 – The Vosges

PART FIVE - GERMANY

Chapter 17 – Black December 

Chapter 18 – The Breaking Point

Chapter 19 – Defeat

Chapter 20 – The River 

Chapter 21 – The Siegfried Line

Chapter 22 – Cassino on The Main

Chapter 23 - Downfall

PART SIX – THE HEART OF DARKNESS

Chapter 24 – The Day of the Americans

Chapter 25 – The Hounds of Hell

Chapter 26 - The Coal Yard

Chapter 27 - The Linden Incident

Chapter 28 - The Long Day Closes

PART SEVEN – LAST BATTLES

Chapter 29 – The Last Days 

Chapter 30 – Victory in Europe 

Chapter 31 – Peace Breaks Out

Chapter 32 – The Last Battle 

Acknowledgments

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

AIRBORN, March 16, 2013 (view all comments by AIRBORN)
A must have for WWII lovers, a masterpiece of a book. Best WWII book ever written, about Felix Sparks of US Army as he leads his men to victory in WWII Europe, up from Sicily, Italy into Dachau Germany. A great nonfiction book, all of Alex Kershaw's(author) nonfiction books are excellent. Two thumbs way up!!!!
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Briannnnnn, March 14, 2013 (view all comments by Briannnnnn)
The Liberator, by Alex Kershaw (author) is the best WWII book ever written. This nonfiction book is about "Felix Sparks," as battles the Nazis in Europe WWII. He lead his USA Army against the Nazis up from North Africa into the shore of Sicily, Italy and into victory in Dachau, Germany. Very well researched, excellent writing, a real page turner. Very intense, entertaining, flowed well.

Excellent WWII book. A must buy for any history, war, WWII lover. Should be required reading for all!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307887993
Author:
Kershaw, Alex
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group (NY)
Subject:
Military - World War II
Subject:
Military-World War II General
Subject:
Biography-Military
Publication Date:
20121031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 8-PAGE BandW, 8 MAPS
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
9.51 x 6.4 x 1.44 in 1.58 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Military
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Military » General
History and Social Science » Military » US Military » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » Europe » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General

The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau New Hardcover
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$28.00 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Crown Publishing Group (NY) - English 9780307887993 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In his latest WWII narrative, Kershaw (The Longest Winter) examines the war through the experiences of Felix Sparks, an American law student — turned — soldier who saw action in some of the bloodiest campaigns of 1943 — 1945. Sparks was initially assigned as a second lieutenant with the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division (the so-called 'Thunderbirds') and ended his service as a 'world-weary' lieutenant colonel. Kershaw follows Sparks and the 157th as they land at Sicily, help liberate Rome, push on through France, and are among the first American troops to enter Germany. 'No force in history is thought to have freed so many people and marched so far to do so,' Kershaw proclaims. But the darkest moment comes when the soldiers liberate the concentration camp at Dachau, which pushes many of them to the breaking point. While Kershaw's prose can be purplish, he is a captivating narrator, hammering home the chaos and carnage of war, sparing no sensory detail to paint a cohesive picture. Kershaw's portrayal of his subject (based on interviews with Sparks, who died in 2007, and other survivors) makes for a riveting, almost epic tale of a larger-than-life, underappreciated figure. 16 pages of b&w photos, and photos throughout, 13 maps. Agent: Jim Hornfischer, Hornfischer Literary Management. (Oct. 30)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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