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Lunch » Tags » Untagged » The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (Liberation Trilogy) » User review

End of the trilogy

  • Apr 9, 2013
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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About the reviewer
Frank J. Konopka ()
Ranked #89
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
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"[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 the South of France to Grenoble—and close-up portraits of famous figures that make them living, breathing beings."—Smithsonian Magazine

"Superb… Atkinson brings his Liberation Trilogy to a resounding close… An outstanding work of popular history, in the spirit of William Manchester and Bruce Catton."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Superb… The book is distinguished by its astonishing range of coverage… [Atkinson’s] lively, occasionally lyric prose brings the vast theater of battle, from the beaches of Normandy deep into Germany, brilliantly alive. It is hard to imagine a better history of the western front’s final phase."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"With a mastery of sources that support nearly every sentence, Atkinson achieves a military history with few peers as an overview of the 1944-45 campaigns in Western Europe."—Booklist

"The book stands out from others on World War II because it successfully explores the fallibility of participants at all levels…This is not a detailed account of any one particular battle but a sweeping epic, yet it is packed with fascinating details. Highly recommended to all who read World War II history."—Library Journal

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