Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II is an unusual addition to the growing pile of memoirs being published as WW II veterans age and then die. It is not written by a soldier who was in the thick of combat and has brave tales to tell, nor is it the story of someone in command, explaining and justifying his decisions. Instead, Cooper was a junior officer in charge of vehicle maintenance for the 3rd Armored Division as it fought its way from Normandy to Central Germany. He was always right behind the front lines, but seldom in combat, though frequently exposed to sniper and artillery fire. The main revelation of Death Traps is obvious from its title: the famous M4 Sherman tank which was the mainstay of American armor during the war was completely inadequate when facing German tanks. American commanders, especially Gen. Patton, chose to continue producing the Sherman even when they knew it could not face German tanks and antitank guns, and American tank crews paid a heavy price for this mistake. Cooper has done his homework. Unlike many war memoirs, he has spent time reading the general histories in recent years, and gets the background information right when he discusses the pursuit across France, the invasion of Germany, and the Battle of the Bulge. But the most important thing here is the details: how the Sherman worked, how maintenance was carried out under harsh conditions, and, especially, what happened when a high-velocity 75 mm or 88 mm shell hit an M4.