Monday, October 15, 2007


I haven't finished the book yet, but I can say that if you have any World War 2 readers on your holiday list, then Rick Atkinson's the Day of Battle is a great choice. The author's clear, prose and focus on people as well as a avoidance of jargon and technical minutiae will help those with limited knowledge of the war enjoy the story. Those who've read more deeply will appreciate his exploration of the inter-service and international rivalries, the challenges of command and the story of an Army learning how to operate.

The development of the Army starting in North Africa, moving to southern Europe and then on to Northern Europe is the major story line of Atkinson's book. He pays a lot of attention to the senior and mid-level generals of the Army, emphasizing their leadership or lack thereof. This emphasis is nicely balanced by frequent discussion of the foot soldier and civilian view.

The book is a follow up to Army of Dawn and describes the American war in Sicily and Italy in 1943 to mid-1944. The other Allied forces in Italy are not ignored, but the emphasis here is on the American effort. I'll have more to say later, but this is a can't miss book for anyone interested in World War 2.

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