by Russell F. Weigley ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 6, 1981
The fullest account yet of the climactic campaign in northwestern Europe, from the planning of D-Day through the German surrender, with an interesting focus on the personalities involved in shaping the Allied forces, plans, and operations. And Weigley, an established military historian (History of the United States Army, The American Way of War), offers not tattle--per David Irving's current The War Between the Generals--but insights and analysis. Thus, we see Eisenhower's unusual inclination to guide rather than to order as an approach calculated to gain maximum effort from his subordinates; Patton's flamboyance, in turn, is seen as both concealing a mistrust of the capabilities of American infantry (which, he said, needed all the artillery ""it can get"") and as expressing a desire to ""fill the unforgiving moment"" with productive activity. Weigley, moreover, is frequently critical. American manpower mismanagement--e.g., putting the most fit, physically and mentally, into the non-combatant technical services--is a particular target. He also scores: the reluctance of the win-alone Air Force to become involved in close support (despite the enthusiasm of individual airmen like Quesada); Eisenhower's tendency to dispersal, rather than concentration, of forces; and the inefficient, miscalculated American replacement training program. Other, salient topics accorded close scrutiny are the evolution of the American army during the war and its logistical problems--while the discussion of the principal engagements focuses not merely on the central drama but also on the supporting actions which made them possible. Though lengthy, the book is not forbidding: anyone with a strong interest, with or without background knowledge, will find it precisely informative and broadly rewarding. It's also, surprisingly, the only volume history that carries the story from D-Day to the end.
Pub Date: June 6, 1981
Page Count: -
Publisher: Indiana Univ. Press
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1981
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