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No Less Than Victory: A Novel of World War II (edition 2009)

by Jeff Shaara

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288939,063 (3.97)10
Member:Karlstar
Title:No Less Than Victory: A Novel of World War II
Authors:Jeff Shaara
Info:Ballantine Books (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:History

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No Less Than Victory by Jeff Shaara

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I usually like Jeff Shaara novels, but this may be the weakest of all of his books that I've read. This is the 3rd of his World War 2 novels, and in theory covers the time period from November 1944 to May 1945. The area is strictly limited to France and Germany. To me this is the book's biggest flaw. World War 2 is too complex for a book of this limited scope. In theory, by following Eisenhower as he does, we could get an overall picture of the war in Europe, but that is not the case.
There are good things in this book. The story of an infantryman and what he goes through is enlightening and informative. The perspectives of the Germans are also interesting. The parts that focus on the end of the war in Germany and what the allies discovered there, while not new information, are presented in different way.
Overall, while I found this somewhat interesting, I really didn't learn much I didn't already know, and there weren't enough new perspectives to make a difference. Not enough information or revelations for people who are familiar with the history of World War 2. ( )
  Karlstar | Apr 27, 2012 |
Shaara uses the historical fiction method to tell the story of Allied victory in Europe from the start of the Battle of the Bulge to the end of the War. He has us see the the events through the eyes and minds of the soldiers and the commanders from both sides of the lines. I know from my reading in this area that he is very accurate in his interpretation of these events. ( )
  lamour | Jan 15, 2012 |
G reat format which shows the feelings of both sides during the conflict. The Battle in the Ardennes is included. ( )
  creighley | May 29, 2011 |
No Less Than Victory is the 3rd and final book of the WWII in Europe trilogy. I don’t need to do a long winded review on this one. If you’ve read any other Shaara books you know what you are getting. It’s a meticulously researched historical novel with realistic and very believable details added to fill in the gaps that we will never really know. ( )
  chrisod | Aug 15, 2010 |
This the third of Jeff Shaara's triology of WWII. Taking up at the Battle of the Bulge and following through to the drive to the Elbe several personalities are followed Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Montgonmery, and infantrymen Benson, Higgins and Mitchell. The Battle of the Bulge segments were primarily concerned with the onset, retreat and the victory of the Battle of the Bulge. Most of action is from the infantryman's viewpoint. Later segments describe the command response at the higher levels. Patton's drive to Bastogne and beyond begins to involve more of the higher echelons of command than the infantryman's experience. The final segments describe the political machinations surrounding the end of the war and which army gets which part of the German nation. The best part, as always, are the thumbnail biographies of the characters at the end.

This novel covered a different part of the war than the first two. I found this novel to be less enticing than the others, possibly because the format was the same and maybe redundant to some extent or that much of the novel covered the higher command levels and not with those I was most interested in knowing. The command decisions are all well-known, but the actions of the individual soldier, his fear and his courage, have always been my greatest interest and this novel doesn't deliver that as well as the previous ones. Nonetheless this was an interesting read and worthy of 4.5 stars. ( )
  oldman | Mar 1, 2010 |
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He was already cold, ice in both legs, that same annoying knot freezing in his stomach.
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Book description
After the success of the Normandy invasion, the Allied commanders are buoyantly confident that the war in Europe will be over in a matter of weeks, that Hitler and his battered army have no other option than surrender. But despite the advice of his best military minds, Hitler will hear no talk of defeat. In mid-December 1944, the Germans launch a desperate and ruthless counteroffensive in the Ardennes Forest, utterly surprising the unprepared Americans who stand in their way. Through the frigid snows of the mountainous terrain, German tanks and infantry struggle to realize Hitler's goal: divide the Allied armies and capture the vital port at Antwerp. The attack succeeds in opening up a wide gaping the American lines, and for days chaos reigns in the Allied command. Thus begins the Battle of the Bulge, the last gasp by Hitler's forces that becomes a horrific slugging match, some of the most brutal fighting of the war. As American commanders respond to the stunning challenge, the German spear is finally blunted.
Though some in the Nazi inner circle continue the fight to secure Germany's postwar future, the Fuhrer makes it clear that he is fighting to the end. He will spare nothing - not even German lives - to preserve his twisted vision of a "Thousand Year Reich." But in May 1945, the German army collapses, and with Russian troops closing in, Hitler commits suicide. AS the Americans sweep through the German countryside, the unexpectedly encounter the worst of Hitler's crimes, the concentration camps, and the young GIs find themselves absorbing firsthand the horrors of the Holocaust.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345497929, Hardcover)

Jeff Shaara on No Less Than Victory

In all the stories I’ve written, from the American Revolution, up through World War Two, one of the most gratifying comments I have received from readers has been, "I didn’t know that." Whether writing about Benjamin Franklin or The Red Baron, Robert E. Lee or Black Jack Pershing, my favorite moments have come when a discovery is made, when I can offer the reader some tidbit or episode of history that is an entertaining surprise.

By any pure definition, I am not a historian. My job is not to bathe you with the raw facts and figures, all those things many of us dread when opening the high school history text book. Instead, my goal is to tell you a historically accurate story through the eyes of those special characters, by digging deeply into their memoirs and diaries, letters and the accounts of those who stood beside them. The most satisfying part of that to me is that I do not have to "fudge" history. Unlike Hollywood, where too often filmmakers seem not to trust that an honest historical tale can be sufficiently entertaining, I have been surprised by how the characters themselves, so many of them familiar names, can tell us a true story that not only entertains but reveals something of our past. My job is to be the storyteller, to bring these characters out of their world and into ours. History is not about numbers, but about us.

When I began to tackle the subject of the Second World War, I was concerned that I would be unable to find a story to tell that you did not already know. This is one subject that even Hollywood has (sometimes) treated with an honest hand, magnificent stories that may or may not be genuine history, but at least are honest in their ambitions. What can I add to that? What can I tell you about George Patton or D-Day or the Holocaust that you don’t already know? The answer to that was a surprise to me, and it is my fervent hope that in the trilogy I’ve just completed, it is a surprise to you.

Heroes come in strange packages, and often, the decent and the honorable emerge in places we don’t expect to find them. Throughout my research on World War Two, I was caught off guard many times by the strength of character that came not just from the familiar names, the leaders, but the unfamiliar: the men of the Airborne and the tanks and the men who carried the rifle. I was surprised as well by the enemy, in this case, the Germans. Not every man who obeyed Hitler was simply a goose-stepping monster, and so, some of them, Rommel and Kesselring and von Rundstedt and Speer... add to these stories in ways I did not expect.

Ultimately, the stories I write must entertain, which, when writing about war, can seem terribly inappropriate. World War Two gave us more horror than most of us can possibly absorb. But we must not forget that many did absorb it. Many carry those stories still, often unspoken, unrevealed, those aging GIs whose memories have always been stirred by the sights and smells and the horrific loss. And throughout the horror there are different memories, the uplifting, the humorous, and alongside the tears and the screams there is laughter. It is after all, how the veteran survives.

Their numbers are fewer every day, and as they leave us, many will carry the stories with them. Often, as we watched them grow older, we dared not ask for the tales, cautioned by a parent perhaps, warned against prying or digging too deeply into the old veteran’s silent horror. Even in the name of research, it is not my place to probe where I am not invited. But the history is there for us to explore, the events real, the people true to life, the heroism and the horror a part of their legacy, a legacy we must not forget. It’s the least we can do. --Jeff Shaara

(Photo © Adrian Kinloch)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:23 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

After the success of the Normandy invasion, the Allied commanders are buoyantly confident that the war in Europe will be over in a matter of weeks, that Hitler and his battered army have no other option than surrender. But despite the advice of his best military minds, Hitler will hear no talk of defeat. In mid-December 1944, the Germans launch a desperate and ruthless counteroffensive in the Ardennes forest. As American commanders respond to the stunning challenge, the German spear is finally blunted.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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