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An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 (Liberation Trilogy) [Paperback]

Rick Atkinson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 May 2007 Liberation Trilogy (Book 1)

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 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.

Beginning with the daring amphibious invasion in November 1942, An Army at Dawn follows the British and American 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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 681 pages
  • Publisher: Owlet Paperbacks; Revised edition (15 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805087249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087246
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14.3 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,078,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Every military history buff should read An Army at Dawn (Sunday Telegraph)

There is much to applaud in this impressively researched work . . . An Army at Dawn makes utterly absorbing reading (BBC History)

More of a biography of a generation than of a class at West Point... Stark, shocking, jolting (John Eisenhower, Chicago Tribune)

A compelling and highly readable story that provides a valuable corrective for a British reader (Hew Strachan, Telegraph) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

* Vol. 1 of Rick Atkinson's monumental trilogy about the Liberation of Europe in the WWII.

* Brilliantly researched, rich with new material and vivid insights, Atkinson's narrative provides the definitive history of the war in North Africa.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Partial yet honest 22 Jan 2006
I bought this book expecting a full account of the entire WW2 North African campaign - but it is in fact an (addmiitedly hugely detailed) account of TORCH - the Western bit of the campaign, and so the 8th Army, Montgomery, El Alamein and all that stuff is totally missed, except when they combine with the (largely American) forces pushing eastwards under Eisenhower to Tunisia.
The detail of the many battles, for hills, villages and towns, is impressive, and it certainly gave me insight into a part of the war I had little knowledge about, but (and it is a big "but") it's strengths are then undermined by it's (almost) "American-only" perspective, and to a lesser extent by the relatively few detailed personal accounts it includes.
Whilst it may be harsh to criticize a book because it has a narrower focus that its cover is selling, the US-only aspect is harder to defend. Perpectives of German, Italian, French and a few more British combatants would have been welcome, and perhaps even a view of how the Arab natives - who appear only as cardboard cutouts, targets and cliches - found life as they were pitched ito a war-zone, and passed between as many as 3 occupying forces inside a couple of years. All in all I found myself wishing for a Max Hasings version to rectify these shortcomings (aka his excellent Armageddon on the fall of Germany).
So, what this book is is first and foremost an account of how the American army started to learn how to be come a combat outfit, and how some of its leaders got their first taste of action, and began their evolution into the war-winning commanders of Western Europe. It's good for that - and pulls no punches in criticizing the mistakes and shortcomings of men, strategy, organisation and logistics - but it still not even close to a 360 picture of the North African campaign.
Read for this, its a good and interesting read in itself - but don't believe the hype on the cover.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Carl
Like others I bought this expecting an account of much more than just Torch and the Tunisian Campaign due to the full title. However I understand where the author is coming from, hence the title and the books in the rest of the series, focusing on the American Armed forces during the Second World War. One can't blame him for this however I do feel if he had thrown in even an extra chapter to summarise the back and forth fighting that had taken place in the previous years more people would have been happier by this account.

This is an area I have read little about and I found this book to well written, very interesting and informative on the invasion of North Africa and the subsequent battles. I found that the author gave a rather balanced account of the non-American forces, for example he describes British tanks covering an American retreat and how the British command slipped in their own men underneath Eisenhower to run the campaign. The author lets loose where he believes it is fully deserved, for example, being extremely critical of the American Corps commander Lloyd Fredendall.

I think this book is well worth a look.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Buster
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
To me,a very evocative book, as I was with a mobile spitfire fighter squadron, landing at Algiers in November 1942 when all our technical stuff on a lighter, was sunk. What amazed me of the account was dreadful a lot of the fighting was, we were strafed from time to time but suffered none of the losses suffered by both British and American soldiers.
The latter we knew were very green which was they particularly suffered such heavy losses. I also recall quite clearly the B17 bombing of Souk el Arbah our pilots had to be severely restrained from retaliating! To add insult to injury, shortly after, the Germans strafed the place - I hid under a Spit - what they were aiming at! All in all, the book has proved a fascinating and rather disturbing read. I especially recall the Kasserene (spelling?) pass incident, a Hurricane Squadron(43) were bombing the enemy, almost in the circuit - that close!
Anyone of my age or with relatives who served then and there would be most intrigued and probably - like me - amazed at the near disaster the campaign turned out to be. The eventual chasing the Axis forces out via Cap Bon was a great joy, and as we moved up in preparation to mount the Sicilian invasion,one of our young airmen, stopped a truck full of German POW,s turfed them off and our lads who had been somewhat cramped in one of our trucks,loaded up in comfort! We kept the truck for a while, but one of our officers would not let us take it to Malt ( our next stop before Sicily) you'll now appreciate my enjoyment of the book. I was 21 then no prizes for guessing how old I am now.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Army At Dawn Grows 19 Aug 2008
By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"An Army At Dawn" tells the of the American Army from its first taste of battle in Operation Torch, the Invasion of French North Africa, through the closing of the Tunisian campaign. Author Rick Atkinson does an excellent job of blending the stories of individual soldiers and actions with the big picture of generals and theatre-wide implications. The rivalries between the Americans, French and British are given fair play.

The theme of this book is that the American Army which went ashore in Operation Torch was not fit for heavy combat. From General Eisenhower on down to the privates, it had lessons to learn which were better learned against French and Italians than Germans. Through adversity the army learned to hate and to fight, the generals learned to command and the wheat was separated from the chaff. The Army which was unfit at Dawn was, by Dusk, ready for the battles which lay ahead.

This book gives the reader a good understanding of the North African Theatre of the war. I had read about it previously, but this put it into a new perspective. I often judge a book by whether it whets my appetite for more. This one passes that test. As I was reading this one, I kept wanting to read more about World War II, the North African campaign and North Africa itself. A book that can do that is a worthy read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars super service, thank you
The first of three , got all three now in my collection, super service ,thank you Amazon
Published 1 month ago by david whitfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
One of the most readable history books I have ever seen, and full of interesting and revealing anecdotes, about everyone from the highest General to the lowest Private. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jimmy Rafferty
1.0 out of 5 stars Truly Dire
Possibly the most useless "history" of the conflict in North Africa. I did however finish reading this as I could not believe that anything could be so dreadful. Read more
Published 21 months ago by oldhexmap
4.0 out of 5 stars army at dawn
good book if you like history i found it a bit slow at first but once i got into it it had me rivited
Published on 14 May 2011 by lingo
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserved plaudits for this account of the Tunisian Campaign
With its Pulitzer Prize and long list of plaudits `An Army at Dawn' came with a great deal of expectation for this reader riding on it. Read more
Published on 17 Sep 2010 by N. Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed account of Operation Torch
This is a very well documented account of Operation Torch, if anything, the level of detail about the different units and commanders is such that some parts of it can be a bit too... Read more
Published on 21 Jan 2010 by Miquel
2.0 out of 5 stars america saves all again
just to confirm that uncle sam saved the free world again with little regard to their allies efforts ,this is a view of ww2 through an american periscope without the broader... Read more
Published on 17 Jun 2008 by Timothypearson
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling
Without a doubt the worst book on the North African invasion. Whilst he shows an aptitude for combing 1st person accounts with a steady paced strategic narrative Atkinson is no... Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2007 by btomhutuk
5.0 out of 5 stars Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and deservedly so
World War II has always held a fascination for me: the global scale, the impact on world politics and powers of today, the coming of Age of the United States as a super power, the... Read more
Published on 10 Aug 2007 by Larry Ketchersid
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