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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft



I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
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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

ISBN13: 9780307888006
ISBN10: 0307888002
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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.

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Jeffrey Bluhm, March 29, 2014 (view all comments by Jeffrey Bluhm)
This excellent novel gives an overview of the Allies' southern approach to Germany in WWII, starting in Sicily and following the 157th US Infantry Regiment through Italy, France, and finally Germany, including Dachau, before they end the war in Munich. The story primarily focuses on Felix Sparks, a 2nd lieutenant who rises through battlefield commisions to colonel, but ranges in perspective from squad to corps, and even army, level as needed to forward the narrative. The book provides a good overview of the lesser known aspects of the U.S. presence in Europe, most closely following Sparks as he rises from a humble upbringing through the ranks on the basis of merit. The combination of personal account, with both tactical and strategic perspectives, makes it well worth adding to a WWII reading list or book collection.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307888006
Author:
Kershaw, Alex
Publisher:
Broadway Books
Subject:
Military - World War II
Subject:
Military-World War II General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20131031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 8-PAGE BandW, 8 MAPS
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
7.99 x 5.2 x 0.96 in 0.8 lb

Related Subjects

Biography » Military
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
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 Trade Paper
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Product details 448 pages Broadway Books - English 9780307888006 Reviews:
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