Traveler, History buff. Mystery enthusiast. Battlefield explorer.
COL Sparks was a courageous infantryman and outstanding leader. Couple those two traits with a great amount of luck and you have the makings of a very interesting story of one mans battle during WWII. I found it thoroughly interesting and entertaining. The stories told of the extraordinary courage and bravery of the WWII citizen solder is a tribute to them. To hear and see the death and injury surrounding you daily, makes one wonder how any infantryman could return to a world of post-war normalcy.
The chapters on the events at Dachau are most interesting.
Also, the book tells the story of the murder of COL Sparks Grandson. It was beyond terrible, and inexcusable. As told in the book, that event seemed to push the COL into a zone of fury unequaled in his wartime years. The grief the family has endured is heart wrenching. I can understand COL Sparks push to keep handguns out of the hands of teenagers like the one that murdered his grandson, that I agree with, but then the story seemed to devolve into a diatribe against the NRA. The NRA does not and will not condone any unlawful use of firearms. In the book the NRA seems to be as much a villain as the murderer himself. With that, I totally disagree.
Whatever your view is on firearms ownership or regulation you'll enjoy reading of COL Sparks 500+ days in battle.
It's a very interesting read.
As my father served in the 45th Division, I read with interest Alex Kershaw’s story of Felix Spark’s Sicily to Dachau odyssey. The story is detailed and personal, providing real insight into the reality of war and the horrendous conditions that soldiers faced.
Fred Sanders does a good job interpreting the emotion as well as the variety of Italian, French and German words. I wish he had not done accents, which I found to be caricatures and distracting.
All in all, it is a book I recommend, as it brings to life a time which is fast fading from our memories.
I enjoyed this book. A lot of action and found it to be very interesting. I would recommend this book to any one, Very Good.
American patriot, veteran, historical researcher and writer.
If you want to know what men look for in leadership when going to war, this book is for you. The personal account of Col. Sparks war experiences in Italy and Germany relate the true cost of freedom paid on the battlefields in Europe during World War II. Recounting the loss of so many of his men in the 500 days of brutal combat, Sparks leaves for future generations a record of the sacrifice and bravery needed to defeat the true evil that seemed to be enveloping our world.
Fred Sanders narration was superb, Alex Kershaw's story excellent, and the cost of freedom well documented!
Author allegation the shooters used submachine guns is contrary to the facts. The weapons were semi-automatic
One of the best books on one soldier's experiences in WWII.
Powerful Enlightening Real
When he got out of a tank to rescue his men and the SS decided not to shoot out of respect for a ranking officer that would do such a thing
My favorite scene was the whole story about the concentration camp and Colonel Sparks reaction to the shooting of the guards and his respect for human life regardless of the situation he was in. This was coupled with his reaction to the General that wanted a photo opportunity. I was touched by someone who could witness such horrors and maintain such decency in all of it - a true hero.
There were several shocking scenes in this book that made the reality of war come to light.
I have read a number of WW2 books - almost all the good ones that exist I think. This was probably one of 4 that at least starts with the ITalian campaign, but does a better job detailing some things. I disagree with the other reviewer who said this book is the same material as others - I found details here that were not in other works - both about the journey through Italy, and the landing on the beaches. Good book if you are looking to learn more about some of the lesser known European theater, but not what I would call broad overview of the European campaign. Won't disappoint.
Excellent account of US Army Officer Felix Sparks' WWII journey. Sparks joins the Army in the interwar years, serves his term, and decides to go to law school. Unfortunately WWII broke out and Felix was called back into service. This is his story, his journey from the training; to the beaches of Sicily all the Infantry way to Dachau concentration camp. What an outstanding man and officer who endured way more than any one man should have to in the course of a war.
I enjoyed the narrator's rendition of General George S. Patton Jr.
The story provides great insight into the trials and tribulations encountered by US infantry in the less publicized side of the European Theater of Operations. It highlights the fact the US involvement did not start with D-Day. Fred Sanders does a great job of providing color to the story and the various voices he uses help support the story without becoming a "performance".
I did not feel the story was well balanced in its presentation of General Felix Sparks. It read a bit like a "puff" piece.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
After reading countless amounts of WW2 books throughout the years, it's very hard to find one these days that doesn't relay the same history lesson, message, or analysis. I cannot say that this book REALLY differentiates from most other books on WW2. I'm not saying it was a bad book, and could actually be a decent first time read for someone who doesn't know much about the subject and wants to focus more on the European aspect. However, to the "seasoned" reader of various books on this topic, this book will not stand out.
Yes, the story was good, but it really didn't convey the way some other books did on this topic. "Unbroken" or "Tears in the Darkness" are two that I'd recommend first to newcomers on the subject of WW2. Those books actually stuck with me, and I find myself occasionally thinking about the topics I read . Some parts of this book were very interesting, but they all seemed to come towards the end of the book. You're given the same story of how horrible Anzio and the Italian campaign was. Basically all of this information you can obtain by watching Ken Burns "The War" or reading up a little on Wikipedia.
The narrator wasn't bad, but he sounded more like he should be narrating a History Channel special on TV, not an audiobook.
So....if you've read many books, articles, seen documentaries, etc. on the subject of WW2, then I'd advise you to skip this book. It has the same broad subject line as always, and is only told to the reader in a different way, that's it. There are splashes of interesting personal stories thrown in throughout the book, and I'm not saying that it's bad, but beware of repeated knowledge if you've been around the block on your WW2 books.
I read all of the reviews on this book I could find before purchasing this, took the risk, and now I'm stuck with a lot of knowledge I already knew in the first place.