Customer Reviews for

The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau

Average Rating 4.5
( 106 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(87)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

31 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

Felix Sparks was a son of the great depression. He spent several

Felix Sparks was a son of the great depression. He spent several years on the road with millions of other young men. Looking for work to do and trying to find a place in life. In 1937 he found a place in the US Army. He entered the military as a private. He left as a Lt...
Felix Sparks was a son of the great depression. He spent several years on the road with millions of other young men. Looking for work to do and trying to find a place in life. In 1937 he found a place in the US Army. He entered the military as a private. He left as a Lt. Colonel. During that time he served with the 45th “Thunderbird” Division. He saw action with this unit throughout some of the heaviest fighting of the war.

The Division Landed in North Africa and were trained in invasion tactics. The first loses came in the course of the training. Moving from ship to small boat is a dangerous thing in itself. The first invasion was Sicily. Under the leadership of George Patton they raced Montgomery to try to cut off the German pull back to Italy.

Following this they invaded Italy twice, first at Paestum in September of 43. Then after fighting their way up the boot they were selected to invade again, this time at Anzio in the abortive attempt to outflank the German line of resistance. After fighting in Italy until August of 44 they landed in France at Saint-Tropez. From there they fought their way into Germany until the unit saw its last action in the liberation of the Dachau complex.

Through the course of this fighting Felix Sparks spent over five hundred days in combat. He had fought in eight campaigns and earned two Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts, and the Croix de Guerre.

Following his military service he was active in politics and in worked for many causes. Some that readers will agree with some they will not. However, nothing changes the fact that Lt. Colonel Sparks led his men through some of the worst fighting in the Second World War.

Alex Kershaw is a bestselling author and has produced a carefully crafted and stunningly told story of men in combat. This volume deserves to stand with the best books on the European campaign.

posted by hippypaul on November 18, 2012

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

23 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

Author Alex Kershaw¿s narrative traces the steps of Felix Sparks

Author Alex Kershaw’s narrative traces the steps of Felix Sparks and his role in the 157th Infantry [Thunderbirds] as they trudged from Sicily to Anzio to France and finally to Germany during World War Two. While the story accentuates the human cost of war, it is primar...
Author Alex Kershaw’s narrative traces the steps of Felix Sparks and his role in the 157th Infantry [Thunderbirds] as they trudged from Sicily to Anzio to France and finally to Germany during World War Two. While the story accentuates the human cost of war, it is primarily based on information gleaned from interviews with Felix Sparks and his recollection of events. This is not a scholarly work, but a tale of inconsistencies, chaos, disorganization, frustration, and the emotional toll faced by an ordinary combat soldier in an extraordinary situation.

Little snippets about the battalions’ high rate of venereal disease, Generals using photo opportunities to display their egos, hidden caches of liquor, souvenir hunting, and tales of fraternization will appeal to readers voyeurism until they are slapped in the face with emotional breakdown of battle weary American soldiers during the capture of the Dachau Concentration Camp, one month prior to the end of the war.

The story quickly faded when it jumped from Sparks return to civilian life in 1945 to a very brief awkward overview of Spark’s anti-gun crusade in the 1990s, to his lack of receiving the Distinguished Service Cross, before mentioning his death and funeral in 2007.

Diaries, other interviews and written materials are used to provide limited documentation to Sparks’s account, are listed in the notes. The nine maps provided are very inadequate for showing the position of his regiment or its movement through the terrain for key battle scenes mentioned in the book.

The author should have included transcripts for key Starks’s interviews in appendixes. Adding appropriate academic cross-references for deployments, critical battle decisions and casualty statistics mentioned throughout the text would change this book from one man’s interesting interpretation of the Thunderbirds accomplishments to a documented account of the man and division.

An acknowledgment, notes, list of selected bibliographical materials and index is provided.

posted by penandtome on February 18, 2013

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 review with 2 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    50% of this was really good, it delves into Felix Sparks Army ma

    50% of this was really good, it delves into Felix Sparks Army man's life as progesses into the battling of the Nazis at the start of America's involvment in WWII, he fights up North Africa into his final destination of Germany, Dachau concentration camp.

    However, this book was in bad need of a more contrite editor, way to long and drawn out, way to make irrelevant facts. Then the author, provides an ending about Felix Sparks involvment to abolish juvenille buying of guns in his Colorado state! Who cares?! The ending kind of veered off about what the main -- 50% beginning of book was focuesd on. I would say if the publisher had just published the first half of the book and taken out the second half it would have deserved five stars, but it was interesting.

    19 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 review with 2 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1