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The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western…
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The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (2013)

by Rick Atkinson

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The Guns at Last Light is the conclusion of an amazing achievement, three books about large scale "armies of Liberation" on the move during World War II.

This one is about the last year of the war in Europe, from D-Day to the fall of Berlin and V-E Day and beyond.

He can flash effortlessly from generals in their command posts (sometimes fantastically equipped manor houses and chateaus) to privates crouching in a basement waiting for the flames to die down.

He never loses sight of the fact that there are people down there peering through the fog of battle and making guesses that sometimes win battles - and sometimes lose them.

He is a master of the little vignette that perfectly sums up the moment.He has read letters, newspaper reports, diaries, and it all shows.

He looks over the shoulders of Dwight Eisenhower, and Bradley and Patton, and some lesser lights too. The conventional wisdom I think about Ike was that he wasn't much of a combat general, but he was good at holding the Allied Coalition together. This book sheds some light on both sides of that "but".

Some people seem to think that the war was over and done after the D-Day Landings. Those people ought to get out more.

And if you're the kind of person who doesn't reads military history, generally, well you might just give this one a try.

"The Battle of the Bugle had affirmed once again that war is never limited, but rather a chaotic, desultory enterprise of reversal and advance, blunder and elan, despair and elation".

It takes a great writer to describe chaos and make you see it - and make you understand it.

Very highly recommended ( )
  magicians_nephew | Dec 29, 2014 |
In this last book in the Liberation Trilogy, Atkinson provides a detailed account of the Allied invasion of Europe from D-Day to the German surrender. I especially enjoyed the analyses of the strengths and foibles of various commanders. ( )
  proflinton | Nov 18, 2014 |
Absolutely astounding, the strongest of the trilogy. Atkinson ends his series with a tour de force finish that in the end leaves you wanting more (Pacific Theater Mr. Atkinson?). An excellent history of the Allied war in the West, provokes much emotion. At the end I simply wept and felt like I had lost a friend. Highly recommended. ( )
  Luftwaffe_Flak | Feb 6, 2014 |
I've been looking forward to the final of the Liberation trilogy for years and it wasn't disappointing. This is a comprehensive, detailed examination of the US Army's role in the War in Europe, primarily the war in France and Germany. Very little is mentioned about Italy, the Eastern Front , Greece and the Middle East are ignored completely, but that was not the purpose of this book. The military, political and logistical details of the final defeat of Germany by the US are covered extensively. Considering that this book covers nearly a full year of the war, it cannot be as detailed about individual battels, but it does cover all of the major battles in sufficient detail. I really enjoyed it, though I found myself many times realizing I was re-reading familiar history. Atkinson does not make a point to try and reveal any little known pieces of history, minor battles or unknown details, but what he does cover is well written and fascinating. Highly recommended. ( )
  Karlstar | Feb 1, 2014 |
I'm exhausted after reading this second in the trilogy, and feel perhaps like the surviving soldiers--finally the inevitable end, but anti-climatic all the same. I searched in vain for reference to my father's storyline, and I'm sure it was embedded somewhere in the author's haunting explorations of Ardennes Forest battles and the prelude to the Battle of the Bulge...just another WIA casualty whose personal experience of the war came to an abrupt end. Atkinson splendidly tells the story of humanity's ultimate triumph against the greatest historical evil ever documented, and so epic was the atrocity, with such wide-ranging consequences, it feels like recent history. The world may forever be weary. ( )
  sross008 | Dec 22, 2013 |
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Epigraph
But pardon, gentles all, The flat unraised spirits that hath dared On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth So great an object. Can this cockpit hold The vasty fields of France? - Shakespeare, Henry V, Prologue
Dedication
To those who knew neither thee nor me, yet suffered for us anyway
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(Prologue) A killing frost struck England in the middle of May 1944, stunting the plum trees and the berry crops.
The singing stopped as the Normandy coast drew near.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805062904, Hardcover)

The magnificent conclusion to Rick Atkinson’s acclaimed Liberation Trilogy about the Allied triumph in Europe during World War II

It is the twentieth century’s unrivaled epic: at a staggering price, the United States and its allies liberated Europe and vanquished Hitler. In the first two volumes of his bestselling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted how the American-led coalition fought through North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now he tells the most dramatic story of all—the titanic battle for Western Europe.

D-Day marked the commencement of the final campaign of the European war, and Atkinson’s riveting account of that bold gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows. The brutal fight in Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the disaster that was Operation Market Garden, the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and finally the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich—all these historic events and more come alive with a wealth of new material and a mesmerizing cast of characters. Atkinson tells the tale from the perspective of participants at every level, from presidents and generals to war-weary lieutenants and terrified teenage riflemen. When Germany at last surrenders, we understand anew both the devastating cost of this global conflagration and the enormous effort required to win the Allied victory.

With the stirring final volume of this monumental trilogy, Atkinson’s accomplishment is manifest. He has produced the definitive chronicle of the war that unshackled a continent and preserved freedom in the West.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:10 -0400)

Tells the dramatic story of the titanic battle for Western Europe from D-Day to the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich.

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