Battle: The Story of the Bulge MP3 CD – 15 Apr 2014
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"For the first time in the growing literature of World War II, the inspiring story of the stubborn, lonely, dogged battle of the Americans locked in this tragic salient is told. . . . gripping . . . You cannot put it down once you start it."-San Francisco Chronicle
"The author has devoted years to studying memoirs, interviewing veterans and consulting military documents, both German and American. He also has revisited the old battlefields in Belgium and Luxembourg. . . . Toland has told the whole story with dramatic realism. . . . It is a story of panic, terror and of high-hearted courage."-New York Times Book Review
"The perspective of 15 years, painstaking research, thousands of interviews, extensive analysis and evaluation, and the creative talent of John Toland [paint] the epic struggle on an immense canvas. . . . Toland writes with the authority of a man who was there. . . . He tastes the bitterness of defeat of those who surrendered and writes as if he had the benefit of the eyes and ears of soldiers and generals on the other side of the line. . . . If you could read only one book to understand generals and GIs and what their different wars were like this is the book."-Chicago Sunday Tribune --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
John Toland has written numerous books on World War II, including "Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath." Carlo D Este is the author of "Patton: A Genius for War" and other works." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
Of all the books, Toland's is the most approachable for the general reader. For starters it is about 1/2 to 2/3 the size of either Eisenhower's or MacDonald's book. While Eisenhower has special emphasis on the senior leadership and MacDonald emphasizes the battle from the most junior soldier's perspective, Toland strikes a good balance between them.
Toland's book was written first in about 1959 and both Eisenhower in 1968 and MacDonald in 1984 cite his book. Toland is not only a good historian but also an excellent writer.
His book is written to show events in chronological order. One can read about the events all across the battlefield day by day.
Like all of these books, one must refer to the maps often to keep track of what was happening. The Bulge was a huge battle. It has been described as the largest battle American troops fought in based on numbers. Any of these books will require the reader to keep careful track of the events. Of all of the great Bulge books, Battle is the easiest with which to do that.
Like all the books except for a Time for Trumpets, Battle does not address the intercepts of the German Enigma communications as regards the German deception operation. This information was not released until years after the book was written. Still, Battle gives a good account of the German deception. Battle also discusses the rivalry between American generals and the British Field Marshal Montgomery.
Battle is the easiest to read of the great books on the Battle of the Bulge. Toland writes well and his research shows. He covers the senior leadership to the average solder admirably.
The Battle of the Bulge is much more complex than the 1965 movie (of the same name) would have have a viewer believe. As with most major military engagements since the mid 1800's, "battle" is a classification that has become generalized. In the Battle of the Bulge, for example, you have dozens of individual battles comprising a larger campaign. As a youngster, Toland's book (albeit, the abridged Toland edition in the kid's section of the library) dispelled many of the myths I had about this great offensive. In fact, the first time I leafed through the book I searched for events portrayed in the 1965 movie. After reading the book I came away a little wiser. Years later I was finally able to procure a copy of the full version of the book.
Toland approaches segments the battle by date and zone and successfully ties them all together. This book is a mandatory starting point for anyone who endeavors to learn about Hitler's Ardennes offensive.
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