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An Army at Dawn: The War in Africa, 1942-1943, Volume One of the Liberation Trilogy (Liberation Trilogy)

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An Army at Dawn: The War in Africa, 1942-1943, Volume One of the Liberation Trilogy (Liberation Trilogy) Cover

ISBN13: 9780805062885
ISBN10: 0805062882
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Excerpt

From An Army at Dawn:

Twenty-seven acres of headstones fill the American military cemetery at Carthage, Tunisia. There are no obelisks, no tombs, no ostentatious monuments, just 2,841 bone-white marble markers, two feet high and arrayed in ranks as straight as gunshots. Only the chiseled names and dates of death suggest singularity. Four sets of brothers lie side by side. Some 240 stones are inscribed with thirteen of the saddest words in our language: "Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God."

The stones are devoid of epitaphs, parting endearments, even dates of birth. But visitors familiar with the American and British invasion of North Africa in November 1942, and the subsequent seven-month struggle to expel the Axis powers there, can make reasonable conjectures. We can surmise that Willett H. Wallace, a private first-class in the 26th Infantry Regiment who died on November 9, 1942, was killed at St. Cloud, Algeria, during the three days of hard fighting against the French. And Jacob Feinstein, a sergeant from Maryland in the 135th Infantry who died on April 29, 1943, no doubt passed during the epic battle for Hill 609, where the American Army came of age.

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Edward Hahn, June 7, 2011 (view all comments by Edward Hahn)
Book One of the Liberation Trilogy, this is one of the most well written WWII history books I've ever read. Atkinson is an accomplished researcher but also brings his research to life with well placed anecdotes, memoranda, letters and documented conversations. It's almost like reading a novel.

The only drawback is the overwhelming scope of his narrative. I sometimes had to read the same material twice to get it into proper context. I also accessed the index many times to refresh my memory on names and places that were referred to earlier in the book.

The maps helped me understand the details of the various battles but there were times I wished I had a huge map of the area being discussed so I could better follow the narrative of what Atkinson was describing.

For someone like myself, who was raised with the myths of WWII, this book was an eye-opener. Atkinson discusses the personalities and failings of all the key players, Eisenhower, Giraud, Patton, Alexander, Bradley, Montgomery, Rommel, Von Arnim, Kesselring, Darlan, etc., etc. It appears their failings, at this point in the war, far outweighed their strengths. Those failings almost always resulted in unnecessary casualties. The Generals decide; the soldiers, sailors and airmen die.

I was also able to finally understand the politics of the invasion and the resistance of the Vichy French. The French, by the way, come off as almost comic opera personalities. The North African Arabs and other native peoples in the area are characterized as thieves and opportunists as might be expected of a people under the colonial yoke of France, caught between warring Western powers.

The book is most comprehensive and I could go on for much longer describing its various facets. I would like to just say, though, for anyone interested in understanding the 1942 North African Invasion, this book is a must read.

I am looking forward to attacking Volume Two, covering the Sicilian and Italian campaigns.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780805062885
Author:
Atkinson, Rick
Publisher:
Henry Holt & Company
Location:
New York
Subject:
Military - World War II
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
Campaigns
Subject:
Africa, north
Subject:
Operation Torch.
Subject:
World War, 19
Subject:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns.
Subject:
Africa, North History, Military.
Subject:
Military-World War II General
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series:
Liberation Trilogy
Series Volume:
TR-02-1
Publication Date:
20021031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 16-pp. bandw inserts, 18 maps; endpape
Pages:
704
Dimensions:
9.3 x 6.5 x 2.2 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » World War II » Europe » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » North Africa
History and Social Science » World History » General

An Army at Dawn: The War in Africa, 1942-1943, Volume One of the Liberation Trilogy (Liberation Trilogy) Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 704 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805062885 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[I]ntellectually convincing and emotionally compelling."
"Review" by , "Using battlefield reports and archival material, Atkinson tells a fascinating story of the North African campaign that is hard to stop reading, even though one knows the outcome."
"Review" by , "An exemplary work that feeds anticipation of the succeeding volumes."
"Synopsis" by ,
In the first volume of his monumental trilogy about the liberation of Europe in WW II, Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson tells the riveting story of the war in North Africa

The liberation of Europe and the destruction of the Third Reich is a story of courage and enduring triumph, of calamity and miscalculation. In this first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson shows why no modern reader can understand the ultimate victory of the Allied powers without a grasp of the great drama that unfolded in North Africa in 1942 and 1943. That first year of the Allied war was a pivotal point in American history, the moment when the United States began to act like a great power.

Beginning with the daring amphibious invasion in November 1942, An Army at Dawn follows the American and British armies as they fight the French in Morocco and Algeria, and then take on the Germans and Italians in Tunisia. Battle by battle, an inexperienced and sometimes poorly led army gradually becomes a superb fighting force. Central to the tale are the extraordinary but fallible commanders who come to dominate the battlefield: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, and Rommel.

Brilliantly researched, rich with new material and vivid insights, Atkinson's narrative provides the definitive history of the war in North Africa.

 
An Army at Dawn is the winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for History.

"Synopsis" by ,
"A splendid book... The emphasis throughout is on the human drama of men at war."—The Washington Post Book World

In the first volume of his monumental trilogy about the liberation of Europe in WW II, Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson tells the riveting story of the war in North Africa

The liberation of Europe and the destruction of the Third Reich is an epic story of courage and calamity, of miscalculation and enduring triumph. In this first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson shows why no modern reader can understand the ultimate victory of the Allied powers without a grasp of the great drama that unfolded in North Africa in 1942 and 1943.

Opening with the daring amphibious invasion in November 1942, An Army at Dawn follows the American and British armies as they fight the French in Morocco and Algiers, and then take on the Germans and Italians in Tunisia. Battle by battle, an inexperienced and sometimes poorly led army gradually becomes a superb fighting force. At the center of the tale are the extraordinary but flawed commanders who come to dominate the battlefield: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, and Rommel.

Brilliantly researched, rich with new material and vivid insights, Atkinson's vivid narrative tells the deeply human story of a monumental battle for the future of civilization. 

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