Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson Book Review

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¶ … Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson

It is rare and encouraging that war blunders and lessons learned throughout the course of history are uncovered in such a well-researched and compelling manner. The book "An Army at Dawn" engages its readers due to its novel like narrative. Atkinson uses his many a year's experience of newspaper to craft a master-piece, covering the initial thrust of Allied forces in North America.

The Allied attack (1942-43) begins on the eve of operation TORCH, the audacious invasion of Morocco and Algeria. The Initial victories intoxicating the army of overwhelming confidence soon fades away; when damages suffered in form of increasing casualties resulted in low morale and vanquishes the chance of a quick decisive victory. The Allies discover that they are dolefully not ready to fight and win this war. Furthermore, they had to endure an impulsive and potentially catastrophic cross-channel assault which served as an exhausting "testing ground" for an amateur American army. Lessons learned were translated into better and more cohesive war plans and rise of a breed of leadership within the Allied forces. Lastly, by including Great Britain to what Atkinson refers as a "junior partner" in the war front, North Africa marked the beginning of American dominion, geographically as well as politically.

Analysis:

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The theme here; a progression by which the initially shaky American troops and sketchy leadership turned into a great Army and history-making commanders, proved a stepping stone for the freedom of Europe and the demolition of the Third Reich; a larger-than-life story of valor and catastrophe, of miscalculation and continuing triumph.

By amalgamating storytelling and historical facts derived from battle memoirs and soldiers' letters and other official sources, Atkinson has drafted a master piece. Along with using the men's words directly, Atkinson also combines these collective observations in his own way to paint a vivid picture of the goings on. An example:

Book Review on Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson it Assignment

"We shall attack for sixty days and then, if we have to, for sixty more. If we go forward with desperation, if we go forward with utmost speed and fight, these people cannot stand against us." (Page 37) - An Army at Dawn

There are more than 100 pages of references, that's the brilliant depth of research conducted by Atkinson. The author is not just telling us the historic facts but also telling us individual stories of soldiers, the thoughts and the fears on both sides. The usage of maps to make the user understand the terrain and the strategy is very convincing and keeps the reader engaged.

The author also gives us interesting characters of Eisenhower, Montgomery, Patton, Bradley and Rommel. Patton being the war enthusiast and believer of valor and courage was the most interesting and engaging one. Also conflicts between personalities such as Eisenhower and Montgomery, Patton's… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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