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

by Rick Atkinson

Series: Liberation Trilogy (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2354212,859 (4.48)36
Tells the dramatic story of the titanic battle for Western Europe from D-Day to the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich. This book is 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. - Publisher.… (more)
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Atkinson gerir vel í frásögn sinni af deilunum á milli hershöfðingja Breta, Bandaríkjamanna og Frakka þegar Bandamenn réðust inn í Frakkland og sóttu þaðan til Þýskalands. Hershöfðingjarnir höguðu sér eins og prímadonnur, áttu í eilífum deilum og sumum virtist reyndar vera meira umhugað um mögulega frægð sína eftir stríðið heldur en að hjálpast að við að sigra óvininn.
Það sem takmarkar hins vegar þessa frásögn Atkinsons að mínu mati er að hann skautar yfir suma mikilvæga atburði en beinir athygli sinni meira að einstaka bardögum sem fyrir vikið fá ákaflega mikið vægi í sókn Bandamanna á meðan aðrir slíkir verða veigaminni. Sagan verður líka að sögu hershöfðingja Bandamanna en lítið er fjallað um bæði óbreytta hermenn er börðust sárþjáðir, flugmennina og ekki síst andstæðinga Bandamanna. En bókin varpar sem fyrr segir góðu ljósi á deilur herstjórnendanna. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
The final book in [a:Rick Atkinson|38662|Rick Atkinson|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1551366457p2/38662.jpg]'s Liberation Trilogy and deserving of the 5 stars. I began reading the first book in 2019. Two years and 2,374 pages. Well worth the time and I recommend to anyone who wants the full story of the WII European theatre.

Atkinson's writing is phenomenal. To tell such a gut-wrenching story filled with such horror and despair, and to be able to hold his audience captive through it. That takes a special kind of writer. The author holds nothing back in his coverage of all the large personality's and egos that had command of this war. However, he is fair and even-minded on it all. Never expressing his own opinions, but relying on impeccable research, letters from the front lines to the home front and back, interviews of survivors and what must have been an overwhelming amount of historical documents.

Well written, excellent account of a world gone mad. ( )
  JBroda | Sep 24, 2021 |
Obviously a huge amount of research went into this book. Kudos to [a:Rick Atkinson|38662|Rick Atkinson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1243616779p2/38662.jpg] for finding details about battles in Europe that haven't been retold over and over. It's still pretty overwhelming keeping all the names, facts, dates straight. I liked that he didn't pass over the failures of the Allies without comment. I also liked that he included many examples of why any war is a horrible war. There were times I thought he was insisting on obscure words when common ones would have sufficed. 4 stars for the research, not necessarily for the readability or entertainment. ( )
  Jeff.Rosendahl | Sep 21, 2021 |
Of course it's a massive story — from OVERLORD, or D-Day 1944, to Armistice — but Rick Atkinson gives it nuance, detail and sweep. As I read the Liberation Trilogy, I was often reminded of Shelby Foote's 3-volume narrative history of the Civil War. We meet one interesting character after another, all seemingly flawed, just as much of the victorious war effort was in WW2. Going in I had no idea of the conflict among the allied generals, and Atkinson is unafraid to show us their egos and eccentricities ... as well as their elan. Eisenhower chain-smoking without extended innuendo about Kay Summersby — that's refreshing. Interweaving journal entries and personal letters — that's human. Coverage of moral and physical atrocities, fratricide and other horrors of war — one would think we would have had quite enough of war by then.

This series was a major time commitment, but well worth it. Now on to Atkinson's new series covering the Revolutionary War! ( )
  markburris | Jul 11, 2021 |
An excellent finish to the Liberation Trilogy. This book does a greatt job of showing the totality of the big picture in Western Europe from 1944 to 1945. Nearly everyone knows D-Day, Market-Garden, and the Bulge. Many know Falaise, the Hurtgen Forest, and Remagen. Fewer know the events that connect those battles, creating the narrative of the war in Western Europe. This books biggest strength is in paying attention to those events and thereby creating a continuous narrative in a way that I've yet to see in another work.

There is only one real criticism that I can level against the book, and that's one of style. I'd love to recommend this trilogy to people interested in learning more about WWII, but the author has an unfortunate tendency to show off his vocabulary. I suppose as a professional journalist, he has felt constrained by the need to write to an 8th grade level for most publications. Unfortunately, this has led to him using a great number of words for which most will need to reach for a dictionary. It would be one thing if the words were indeed a better choice than a simpler word choice would have been, but not once did I find that to be the case.

Overall though, it's a great book, and was worth the wait. ( )
  Fulminata | Apr 19, 2021 |
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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
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To those who knew neither thee nor me, yet suffered for us anyway
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The singing stopped as the Normandy coast drew near.
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Tells the dramatic story of the titanic battle for Western Europe from D-Day to the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich. This book is 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. - Publisher.

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