The liberation of Europe and the destruction of the Third Reich is a story of courage and enduring triumph, of calamity and miscalculation. In this first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson shows why no modern learner 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. That first year of the Allied war was a pivotal point in American history, the moment when the United States began to act like a great power.
Beginning 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 Algeria, 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. Central to the tale are the extraordinary but fallible commanders who come to dominate the battlefield: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, and Rommel.
Brilliantly researched, rich with new material and vivid insights, Atkinson's narrative provides the definitive history of the war in North Africa.
An Army at Dawn is the winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for History.
©2002 Rick Atkinson; ©2013 Simon and Schuster
Long time Audible member (8 years, 500+ books). Avid flyfisherman, hunter, bicycler.
I really wanted to soak up this book, I'd never studied WWII in Africa in detail and I was itching to learn about it. But listening to a detailed book about it was not the right approach for me. While very well researched and written, it's a constant barrage of names, places, facts, dates, scenarios..... I simply couldn't keep it all straight in my mind. I think that a book like this is much better read in print, where you can look at maps, stop and let something sink in, remember a person, look up a reference point for clarification, etc.
I loved that, for once, The Africa Campaign was shown for what it was: Intense, gruesome struggles, replete with all the terror and drama that illuminates battles like those on the islands of the Pacific in WWII.
I must deduct a star, because this book requires frequent consulting of maps, and I lost a lot by listening, instead of buying hard copy. (To be fair, even hardcopy books often provide sorry maps, tossed in as an afterthought, without serious effort at illustrating towns or topography described in the text.)
I wish Audible, or the publisher, or the author, or somebody would supply a web site that contains maps that one could follow. What a difference that would make!
Rick Atkinson's WWII trilogy has been hailed for the superb way it describes WWII. This praise is deserved. But may I also recommend Michael Shaara's four WWII novels, which I consider as enjoyable and informative as Atkinson's, and less map-dependent? Yes, read Atkinson, but also read Shaara.
I was so happy to see that this book was released in an unabridged version. This is narrative history at its best. The stories of the men and their sacrifice (and in some cases faults) is mesmerizing to read. Cannot wait for the third book of the trilogy to be released.
Atkinson, probably not. Guidall, YES, in a heart beat.
From start to finish, the most negative reading ever. I had to force myself to continue. Atkinson dwells and amplifies every mistake, and poor decision made by the allies. A total imbalance. How we lost every battle but won the war (through Atkinson's eyes) I will never know. We obviously won some battles, but little credit given......
Guidall can read anything and make the best of it. He's the best. The only reason I kept listening.
Looking back, NO
I've said enough.
If you like WWII history, you will not regret getting this book. Both the writing and the performance come together to emerse the reader in the entire conflict in North Africa, from the the day to day perspective of soldiers fighting the battles, to the personalities and trials of the high command as the Allies made the first large scale effort to defeat the Axis.
This book emphasizes people in it's discussion of the first allied (US/UK/France?) invasion of WWII. There were several leadership and tactical lessons learned in the invasion of North Africa and from the German/Italian side it's defense. I slogged through it; the book was a difficult listen without a map of North Africa. For that reason, I don't believe that I'll follow through with the second and third volumes of this WWII trilogy.
George, yes. Rick, no
The storyline jumps enough that I cannot tell when a battle is over, lost, or won
Yes, Good narrator
Yes, I find the topic very interesting. Just couldn't keep up with the story line
Yes, because it tells the truth and strips the BS away from the history we were taught. We watched movies like Patton and thought the US was amazing in WW2. The reality is that, like in the build up to Iraq, the Americans were naïve. To me, it was stunning to see how ill prepared and clueless we were going into WW2. Thank god we went to Africa first and got our asses kicked, otherwise we would have gone straight to Normandy, lost, and Germany would control Europe still today.
I will listen to any thing he narrates. He is the best!
The book delves deep into operation Torch and the campaign for Tunisia, the African "Stalingrad" for the Axis in Europe. Sometimes too deep... do I need squad level tactics in an engagement of 4 armies, 5 nations and hundreds of thousands of men?
Maybe I do. The letters to home, newspaper articles and diary articles make this a first person account. A couple of characters emerge, Patton, Eisenhower, but the picture of the US soldier is most clear. "Learning to hate", learning to fight, learning to be an army,
When Patton orders his division commander to personally lead a hill assault leading to a needless and serious wound, I wondered what causes someone to be a hero to history versus a villain.
When the British and US finally started to roll, overcoming Kaserien Pass, I decided the next book would be first on my list of books to listen to next.
Beautifully written with abundant use of primary sources. The author ties the beginning and end to the story of the 34th Division from Iowa, whose members could be from any Midwestern state.
Serving God For His Glory!
Undecided; this book chronicles some interesting background information, but it seems like every chapter details the mistakes made by allied forces. After listening to the first 2 parts, I find it difficult to believe that we ever won the campaign in Africa. The narration is average, but I expected to hear more details of combat.
No. I will look for other World War 2 books.
I don't have any issues with the performance, just the book.
Disappointment. Of course the allies made mistakes, but what did they do correctly? What good decisions were made? How about a few more stories of heroism?
The author appears to have done a great deal of research. He does reveal some interesting details and background information, but i was unable to finish the book.
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