The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (Liberation Trilogy)
"[An] extraordinary accomplishment. This is a beautifully written, moving account of one of the most bittersweet chapters in modern history… The details build a stunning and precise account of major movements—from Normandy to Paris, from … see full wiki
In my humble opinion, the three volumes of the Liberation Trilogy are the best source for the average reader to learn all about the American involvement in the European heater of World War II. I read the first two books avidly, and could hardly wait until this one was available. Now I know that the wait was well worth it, and I closed the book at the end with a sigh of contentment.
In this volume the author gives a straightforward account of the war from D-Day until the German surrender, and he does it clearly, and with some almost poetic language. This book does not whitewash the many missteps and bungles that happened to prolong the war and cost the American armed forces many more casualties than might have been necessary. We see the main personalities on both sides of the fight, with all their good and bad points. Eisenhower comes through as a very grounded leader who kept a somewhat shaky alliance together, despite annoyances from Field Marshal Montgomery and the very poorly hidden disdain for him shown by DeGaulle and the French forces.
My father landed with the first troops in North Africa in 1942 and served all the way until the end. He was wounded five times and had the tank destroyer he drove destroyed at the Kasserine Pass, but he survived it. He served under Patton from the landing at the south of France until that army ended in Eastern Europe. My father in law was a navigator on a B-24, and he survived flack, fighters, and other assorted dangers. Reading these books I often marvel at the good luck they had to make it until the end of the war, when so many around them did not.
I cannot recommend all three of the books in this trilogy too much, and I urge those who are interested in that war to take the time to read them. The language alone will mesmerize you, and I found myself tearing up when I read the last paragraph, as did my wife when I read it to her. We can never thank these brave men and women enough for the sacrifices they made and the hardships they faced, to bring us a different world from the one envisioned by the Axis powers.
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