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

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

4.2 146
by Rick Atkinson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Beginning the trilogy that continues with The Day of Battle, An Army at Dawn opens on the eve of Operation TORCH, the daring amphibious invasion of Morocco and Algeria. After three days of hard fighting against the French, American and British troops push deeper into North Africa.

But the confidence gained after several early victories soon wanes;

See more details below

Overview

Beginning the trilogy that continues with The Day of Battle, An Army at Dawn opens on the eve of Operation TORCH, the daring amphibious invasion of Morocco and Algeria. After three days of hard fighting against the French, American and British troops push deeper into North Africa.

But the confidence gained after several early victories soon wanes; casualties mount rapidly, battle plans prove ineffectual, and hope for a quick and decisive victory evaporates. The Allies discover that they are woefully unprepared to fight and win this war. North Africa becomes a proving ground: it is here that American officers learn how to lead, here that soldiers learn how to hate, here that an entire army learns what it will take to vanquish a formidable enemy. In North Africa, the Allied coalition came into its own, the enemy forever lost the initiative, and the United States — for the first time — began to act like a great power.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Atkinson won a Pulitzer Prize during his time as a journalist and editor at the Washington Post and is the author of The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966 and of Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War. In contrast to Crusade's illustrations of technomastery, this book depicts the U.S. Army's introduction to modern war. The Tunisian campaign, Atkinson shows, was undertaken by an American army lacking in training and experience alongside a British army whose primary experience had been of defeat. Green units panicked, abandoning wounded and weapons. Clashes between and within the Allies seemed at times to overshadow the battles with the Axis. Atkinson's most telling example is the relationship of II Corps commander George Patton and his subordinate, 1st Armored Division's Orlando Ward. The latter was a decent person and capable enough commander, but he lacked the final spark of ruthlessness that takes a division forward in the face of heavy casualties and high obstacles. With Dwight Eisenhower's approval, Patton fired him. The result was what Josef Goebbels called a "second Stalingrad"; after Tunisia, the tide of war rolled one way: toward Berlin. Atkinson's visceral sympathies lie with Ward; his subtext from earlier books remains unaltered: in war, they send for the hard men. Despite diction that occasionally lapses into the melodramatic, general readers and specialists alike will find worthwhile fare in this intellectually convincing and emotionally compelling narrative. (Oct. 2) Forecast: While there's no clear news hook for this title, Atkinson is well known enough to garner readers on name recognition. An eight-city author tour will help raise awareness, as will the marketing of the book as first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, Atkinson's study of WWII. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A former staff writer and editor for the Washington Post, Atkinson (The Long Gray Line) here offers the initial volume in a trilogy concerning the liberation of Europe during World War II. The invasion of North Africa was the first joint military operation conducted by the Allies, and it influenced many future decisions. Using battlefield reports and archival material, Atkinson tells a fascinating story of the North African campaign that is hard to stop reading, even though one knows the outcome. He includes the perfect combination of biographical information and tactical considerations, and eyewitness accounts give readers an idea of what the average soldier must have endured. Similar in scope to Stephen Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers or Cornelius Ryan's The Longest Day, this book will have wide appeal for both public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/02.] Mark Ellis, Albany State Univ. Lib., GA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The Washington Post Book World on The Long Gray Line - James Salter
Enormously rich in detail and written with a novelist's brilliance, the pages literally hurry before one . . . A very moving book.
The Philadelphia Inquirer (front page) on The Long Nicholas Proffit
As masterfully executed as it was conceived.
The Boston Globeon The Long Gray Line - Cullen Murphey
A story of epic proportions . . . An awesome feat of biographical reconstruction.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743570992
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
10/02/2007
Series:
Liberation Trilogy Series, #1
Edition description:
Abridged, 6 CDs, 7 hours
Sales rank:
650,684
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Twenty-seven acres of headstones fill the American military cemetery at Carthage, Tunisia. There are no obelisks, no tombs, no ostentatious monuments, just 2,841 bone-white marble markers, two feet high and arrayed in ranks as straight as gunshots. Only the chiseled names and dates of death suggest singularity. Four sets of brothers lie side by side. Some 240 stones are inscribed with thirteen of the saddest words in our language: "Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God."

The stones are devoid of epitaphs, parting endearments, even dates of birth. But visitors familiar with the American and British invasion of North Africa in November 1942, and the subsequent seven-month struggle to expel the Axis powers there, can make reasonable conjectures. We can surmise that Willett H. Wallace, a private first-class in the 26th Infantry Regiment who died on November 9, 1942, was killed at St. Cloud, Algeria, during the three days of hard fighting against the French. And Jacob Feinstein, a sergeant from Maryland in the 135th Infantry who died on April 29, 1943, no doubt passed during the epic battle for Hill 609, where the American Army came of age.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >