Review of Three Books by Jeff Shaara about WWII
If you like to get some of your history of World War II from fiction, you should look at a recently published trilogy by Jeff Shaara. The three books tell of the U.S.’s involvement in the European theater in the form of a story, presenting both actual and fictional characters as they experienced the war in the context of a historically accurate background.
The trilogy starts with The Rising Tide (2006), which tells of America’s first involvement in the European theater, including the successive liberations of North Africa, Sicily and Italy. The Steel Wave (2008) follows with a focus on D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. No Less Than Victory (2009) takes the story on to the Battle of the Bulge and the fall of Hitler.
In each book, the chaos and agony of front-line combatants is depicted in actual and fictional characters (tank gunners, paratroopers, riflemen,…) while the challenges of command are seen through the eyes of such leaders as Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Churchill, Montomery, Rommel, von Rundstedt, Speer, and Hitler. The larger historical backdrop, never far from view, is vividly fleshed out in prize-winning prose.
These books provide excellent orientation for the Normandy Allies’ trip, particularly The Steel Wave. However, any of the three can be read on its own. All are published by Ballantine Books in paperback. The author has won several literary awards for his books on the U.S. Civil War as well as WW II. More detail is available on www.amazon.com.
The book review above was originally published in a feature titled “Book Notes”, published in the March, 2010 edition of Amitié, the newsletter of Normandy Allies, Inc. This note was written by Walter Ford Carter, member of the Normandy Allies Board and the team that leads its history-study experience each summer. Walter, the son of Captain Elmer Norval Carter, a US Army battalion surgeon in the 29th Division who was killed in action on June 17 1944, is the author of No Greater Sacrifice, No Greater Love: A Son’s Journey to Normandy.