John Toland's work on this absolutely fantastic book is simply superlative. Critical acclaim is nearly universal for this gripping, accurate, and well-told story of the greatest American victory over the Germans during WWII and the only large-scale offensive battle ever fought during the winter, the worst in Europe is some fifty years. Toland veers from the usual historian's path by telling the story in terms of the foot soldier both on the ground and on the defensive against the final counterattack of the Wehrmacht with over a thousand tanks (including many of the new tougher Tiger and Panther models) and more than 250,000 battle-hardened soldiers.
Against them were just three full strength (and very green and inexperienced) American divisions with some reserves regiments composed of more experienced soldiers in the heavily wooded and almost impassable woods of the Ardennes forest area. Eisenhower's logistics support was strung out and unable to adequately supply the broad-based front that had evolved after the initial breakout from D-Day. Consequently, it was difficult to arm and support all the troops, and amazingly, Hitler's masterful attack struck exactly at the single weakest point along the line. The result was a complete but temporary disaster, but one that pitted poorly equipped, armed, and clothed U.S. Army troops against a much larger, better armed, clothed and equipped enemy who was striking with blitzkrieg speed and effectiveness.
What happened in those woods is the stuff of history, and is commonly referred to as the Battle of the Bulge. The simple truth of the matter is that American troops simply outfought, outlasted, and outsmarted their German opponents in a deadly game of attrition and standoffs in the worst possible weather and cold conditions. Those who like to say the Americans (along with the Allies) won the war largely because we simply out manned and out supplied tour opponents had better take a good look at how well we also outfought them in the Ardennes generally and at Bastogen in particular when we had none of those advantages. Outgunned, out manned, and outflanked, the Americans simply fought back with murderous ferocity and beat the Germans to a bloody pulp.
This is truly a great book; it is easily the best single volume yet published covering the Battle of the Bulge in detail. I must admit that I do also like John Eisenhower's "The Bitter Woods" and Stephen Ambrose's "Citizen Soldiers" as well. Both of these are excellent books, built neither measures up to the sheer brilliance of "Battle". So, amigo, for the one most exciting, best reading, and painfully accurate and detailed account of the single greatest successful encounter of the U.S. Army against the might of the Wehrmacht during World War Two, I recommend this book. In my humble opinion no one really has a complete WWII library without it.