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An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

I Can See Why it Was Awarded a Pulitzer Prize!

An Army at Dawn, The war in North Africa 1942-1943, by Richard Atkinson tells about the United States first involvement in World War II under code name, Operation Torch . It deals with the planning, shipping of troops to Africa, fighting and many more aspects of this hi...
An Army at Dawn, The war in North Africa 1942-1943, by Richard Atkinson tells about the United States first involvement in World War II under code name, Operation Torch . It deals with the planning, shipping of troops to Africa, fighting and many more aspects of this historical moment of the Second World War. It is a prized read, hence it won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism. This book goes into many details and covers all aspects of the campaign from General Eisenhower to the lowest private. This campaign was an incredible feat and little is known about it to the average American.
November 1942, the United States ships thousands of troops and supplies to the shores of Morocco and Algeria, under Task force 34. The objective was to fight the French and later the Germans in North Africa. The French were fighting under the puppet Vichy government that was loyal to Hitler because he threatened to take over the rest of France if they did not comply. US troops met some resistance and had its share of mishaps, but beat the French quite easily. Through diplomatic channels and negotiations the French quickly switched to becoming our allies. But, this was only a taste of what was to come because the Allies would soon face a well seasoned and trained Axis Afrika Korps under Field Marshal Rommel. Having been badly beaten by Montgomery's British Eighth Army a few months earlier in El Alamein, they were on the move westward to face the Allies.
Early attempts to reach Tunis by the Allies met with little success. Part of the problem was that the Allied Command was disorganized, poorly coordinated and split by rivalry and national chauvinism. Also, American troops were very green, were under poor field leadership, and critical supplies needed were not being delivered. Hence the Axis make gains in Northern Tunisia at Longstop Hill and at Medjez-El-Bab. With the infamous meeting of Churchill and Roosevelt in January of 1943 in Casablanca, pressure was mounting to finish off the Germans so that a new offensive could take place in the spring and early summer to land troops in Sicily under code name, Operation Husky. But it would not be quite that easy.
A bits and pieces war continued in Tunisia for the next two months. Heavy fighting continued at Faid Pass and the Axis made their greatest last attempt to stop the allies at Kasserine. Under operation, Spring Breeze, the Germans were planning, "to go all out for the total destruction of the Americans", General Kesselring declared. They pushed the Allies further back with the aid of their superior Tiger tanks against the weaker Shermans. It seemed like it would be no match. But as they neared the border of Algeria, they would go no further than Thala. Rommel realized that his Afrika Korps, use to freewheeling combat in the open desert had much to learn about this new type of terrain of vulnerable valleys in hill country. Also his supply lines were over extended and they were low on ammunition and fuel. This would turn out to be the high point for the Allies in Northwest Africa. The tide had swung. Torch saved the Allies in the war. It gave the United States a jumping off point to invade Italy, it diverted German air power to that region from others, and most importantly, it deferred a cross channel invasion from England, that would have been a disaster if carried out too early. The taste of war had come to an inexperienced American force that would get much better in the years ahead.
Robert Glasker

posted by Azpooldude on January 3, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

readable but negative

It is great to have a new book on this campaign. At about the halfway point in the book the author's negative journalistic style is wearing me down. There were some amazing events which occurred in the Allied invasion and campaign, but you will find no commentary whic...
It is great to have a new book on this campaign. At about the halfway point in the book the author's negative journalistic style is wearing me down. There were some amazing events which occurred in the Allied invasion and campaign, but you will find no commentary which is positive in nature about them. Descriptions of these events are oriented toward telling everything bad or everything that went wrong. There is hardly a reference to what went right and led to the ultimate victory. Will read some more and hope it gets more positive. May quit and move on to something else.

posted by Anonymous on August 27, 2003

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  • Posted June 14, 2013

    Great history and a great read

    Without first reading anyone else's reviews, I dove in and came to agree with what most reviewers have applauded. It was good history, it was good journalism, it was good literature. And two other delightful features which I appreciated: It was suitably long; Atkinson neither ran out of enthusiasm nor felt the need to throw in extraneous trivia, so it was a good workout for my reading muscles. And he expanded my vocabulary; I loved clicking on $10 words to look up in my new Nook's dictionary.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    It's Worth the Time to Read

    It's simply amazing we won the African Campaign. It is a long book to read but well worth it if you are into the history of WWII. The one problem I had was that I purchased the book for my Nook and the illustrations on the maps was useless. Other than that one issue it was a great book. We just simply had luck and fate on our side, along with men and women willing to pay the ultimate price for freedom.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    Shade Moon

    Hello a blue eyed she wolf says. I made my bio she barks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Kyle

    Shoots target out of air. Were in war!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

    Lionstorm

    "Hey. Im not Clan leader here." She meowed. "Take it up with Camostar cause I dont make the names."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Highly recommended.

    A readable, thorough history of the coming of age of the American Army in WWII. Shares personal detail with sweeping overviews of US, British and German decisions and actions. British and French are also included, along with some Italian involvement, but to a lesser degree. A very good introduction to how the War was fought.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    A Readable Military History

    The author provided enough facts, figures and anecdotes to keep the reader's interest and move the story forward at a good pace.
    I read this book on a BN Nook Color reader. The maps, an intregal part of the story, could not be enlarged. Tried the same book on a Nook HD and the maps were actually smaller than those on the Nook Color. A small disappointment for a good read.
    I'm looking forward to the next two volumes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    To camoflaugestar

    Hi. How are yor kits coming along? Congrats!! But...i heard one is dead. Im sory about that one. You and flamingfur r welcome at waterclan any time. Love from silverstream

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2013

    Flamingstar

    Yes Starrytail. Meet me at my den in result 9 please.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2007

    well written

    The book sizzles from page one. It moves fast, perhaps a bit too fast, which is why I only gave it four stars. But Atkinson can turn a phrase, that's for sure. And the characters are deep and the story engaging.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2004

    Grown men bahving badly

    Finished just in time for D-Day +60. This is a fine book, well-written, carefully researched ¿ and difficult to read because Atkinson elaborates the negatives in such exceptional detail. Because of the negative tone, it is hard to know at times when the sources are speaking for themselves, or when the author has ¿interpreted¿ them. With such stress laid on American (and Allied) mistakes and misfortunes, the North African campaign¿s positives are deeply buried. Did the allies win, or did the Axis lose? The general officers seem almost universally to be nasty and incompetent ¿ perhaps they were. One consolation: as bad as the American and British leaders come off, the French fare far worse. But I do look forward to the next volumes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2003

    An intresting book!

    This book sheds light on the campaign in North Africa, and helps its readers to put the entire war into better perspective. Men who played crucial roles in the more documented Normandy landings are seen here as they are starting on the road to fame. While this book is not quite as easy to read or as fast paced as some other works ( Stephen Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers comes to mind )it is still an important and intresting work. The writing is superb, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted January 1, 2014

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    Posted March 19, 2011

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    Posted May 8, 2014

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    Posted February 22, 2009

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    Posted August 9, 2013

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    Posted November 5, 2008

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    Posted October 3, 2010

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