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The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western…

The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (The… (original 2013; edition 2014)

by Rick Atkinson

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7993416,551 (4.46)34
Title:The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (The Liberation Trilogy)
Authors:Rick Atkinson
Info:Picador (2014), Edition: Volume Three of The Liberation Trilogy, Paperback, 928 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944–1945 by Rick Atkinson (2013)


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Third volume in Atkinson’s trilogy on the US part of WWII in Europe. It’s still gripping and frustrating by turns (the screwups that led to Market Garden, for example), but what I really noticed this time was the tenderness and longing with which these most prototypical of American tough guys wrote home to wives and parents. Men like Eisenhower did not hesitate to tell women how much they loved and missed them; we have flattened our concept of tough guys in really sad ways over the past fifty years. ( )
  rivkat | Apr 11, 2018 |
A fitting and terrific conclusion to the wonderful Liberation Trilogy. The last year of WWII in the European theater is brought to a close with a fascinating portrayal of the personalities and battles as the struggle between Germany and the allies come to a conclusion.

The portrayal of each country - the rising of America, the fading (but courageous Britain), the inexorable Russia, the troublesome French, the indomitable and evil Germans that fought till the last day, was picture perfect and put together illuminates WW II in such a way that impacts us even today.

Some parts of the book were magnificent, the portrayal of Montgomery, the death of Roosevelt, Patton's passion, and the ongoing description of the rise of Russia and the US, and the decline of the British empire.

Highly recommended.
( )
  bhuesers | Mar 29, 2017 |
For I-don't-know-which-time I have been brought across the invasion beaches of Normandy on June 6 1944, through the struggle to get a foothold and on to the fierce battles in the hedge rows. And once again I have been lead through the breakout and along with 3rd Army's mad dash across France. And one more time read about the bloodbath in the Fallals pocket, the 'Jabo's' and the significance of air superiority. As well as the terrible battles of the Hürtgen Forrest, the Battle of The Bulge and the epic Siege of Bastogne.

And one more time I have read that General Patton was a flamboyant personality and that he still did not got through the Siegfried Line 'like shit through a goose'. That 'Monty' was meticulous and not overly popular among he's American peers but very popular among his men. And that Eisenhower was as much a politician, with solid skills in 'human resources management, as he was a general.

This time I also learned quite a bit of the role and deeds of the French Army and the internal strife among it's generals. That Charles de Gaulle was headstrong and self-conscious and that his nickname - among others - was 'Deux Metres'.

All this together with appalling accounts of deaths by the thousands, sufferings, atrocities, madness, annihilation, heroism and cowardice. Of seized and missed opportunities as well as right and wrong decisions, all made in the fog of war. It all ending with the final collapse of the Third Reich in May 1945.

This - one more time - left me marveled by the destructive power and the vast amount of materiel and manpower involved. And left me kind of surprised that all this 'only' lasted for eleven months.

I don't know where Rick Atkinson differs from other great authors like Antony Beevor, Max Hastings or Stephen E. Ambrose, but there is this 'something'. And I can't define that 'something'; It may be the language, it may be the 'flow' in the book, it may be . . . ?

Bottom line is that I can only recommend this book whole-hearted to any and every person who take an interest in the subject. That be the casual reader as well as the reader with many book 'under the belt'

Take care!

J ( )
  JesperCFS2 | Mar 13, 2017 |
Allied invasion of Europe, including DDay, battle of the bulge ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 9, 2017 |
The final volume of Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy. This was by far the best of the three, a genuine page turner. Not nearly the slog that the Italy volume was.

So, yet another book on the war in northwest Europe. What new things did this one have to offer?

The account of Dragoon, and the campaign in southern France, is more complete than I've seen anywhere else. Atkinson kinda sorta admires Devers. He kinda sorta understands why the French were so difficult. (One French general made a remark at the end of the war to the effect that "We have fought these many months, often on the same side.")

The account of the Rhine battles is very thorough, not eclipsed by the Ardennes offensive, as is the case in so many other histories.

Montgomery is a pompous ass even in Atkinson's telling, but Atkinson buys the idea that Montgomery meant all along for the Americans to break out after the British pinned the Germans down. Atkinson has dug up some quotes that almost make this believable.

Atkinson gives a very balanced perspective on Patton, making him neither superhero nor overrated miscreant. He admires Patton's campaigns of movement but does not pull punches about the bungled POW rescue attempt or Patton's effort to slather lipstick on the pig that was the Sherman tank.

There's no whitewashing the awfulness of war, as waged by either side. But he offers no apologies for Allied victories. I could probably do without the clucking over the Americans who summarily executed a bunch of concentration camp guards. I've got a feeling they could have been successfully defended by reference to the Lieberman Code and the clauses in the Geneva and Hague conventions about the laws of war not protecting those who grossly violate the laws of war.

So, I can find nits to pick. But I think you all would much enjoy this one. As I said, much better than the second volume in the trilogy. ( )
1 vote K.G.Budge | Aug 8, 2016 |
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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
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:17 -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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