An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, Volume One of the Liberation Trilogy
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WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"A splendid book... The emphasis throughout is on the human drama of men at war."―The Washington Post Book World
The liberation of Europe and the destruction of the Third Reich is an epic story of courage and calamity, of miscalculation and enduring triumph. In this first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson shows why no modern reader can understand the ultimate victory of the Allied powers without a grasp of the great drama that unfolded in North Africa in 1942 and 1943.
Opening with the daring amphibious invasion in November 1942, An Army at Dawn follows the American and British armies as they fight the French in Morocco and Algiers, and then take on the Germans and Italians in Tunisia. Battle by battle, an inexperienced and sometimes poorly led army gradually becomes a superb fighting force. At the center of the tale are the extraordinary but flawed commanders who come to dominate the battlefield: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, and Rommel.
Brilliantly researched, rich with new material and vivid insights, Atkinson's vivid narrative tells the deeply human story of a monumental battle for the future of civilization.
baked in the hot sun from 11:30 A.M. until dark.” Daylight evacuations were fatal, and the wounded bled to death or died of shock waiting for nightfall. Darkness brought its own misery. “You fight all day here in the desert and what’s the end of it?” one GI wrote. “Night just closes down over you and chokes you.” A dispatch from the 26th Infantry reduced the battle to four words: “This place is hell.” A two-battalion attack by the 16th Infantry, abutting the 9th Division, went nowhere and cost
camp. Troops were pressed into civil service for floods, or harvests, or strike-breaking at the Swift meatpacking plant in Sioux City, where Guardsmen in 1938 had pierced the workers’ cordon with a flying wedge before setting up their machine guns on a loading dock. That was the closest to combat most had ever come. On February 10, 1941, after nine false alarms, the War Department federalized the Iowa and Minnesota regiments to form the 34th Division. It was among the last of eighteen Guard
427, box 7501; Jensen, 26; Joseph B. Mittelman, Eight Stars to Victory, 56; Phillips, El Guettar, 43; AAR, 39th CT, NARA RG 407, E 427, box 7501. Some hours passed: André Beaufre, “General Giraud’s Escape,” History of the Second World War, vol. 3, Basil Liddell Hart, ed., 1198 (field glasses); Kenneth S. Davis, Dwight D. Eisenhower: Soldier of Democracy, 357; Clark, 96; DDE to H. H. Giraud, Nov. 4, 1942, Chandler, vol. I, 656 (phony London letterhead). Giraud was intrepid: Sept. 19, 1942, NARA
Knew It. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995. Paul, William Pratt, ed. History of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders 6th Battalion. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1949. Pearlman, Michael. To Make Democracy Safe for America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984. Peatling, Robert. Without Tradition: 2 Para, 1941–1945. S.P., 1994. Pendar, Kenneth. Adventure in Diplomacy. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1945. Perkins, Norris H. North African Odyssey. Portland, Ore.: Four Mountain Productions, 1995.
approaching tanks; every grenade missed. Hay bales ignited, and fire spread to the warehouses. Two more Renaults arrived to set up a crossfire, backing the Americans to the water’s edge. Mortar rounds detonated as flames reached stacks of ammunition cases. With his riflemen low on cartridges, Swenson instructed the men to fix bayonets, then thought better of the order. Already, TERMINAL had cost twenty-four Allied dead and fifty-five wounded. Complete annihilation of the men on the dock would