No Less Than Victory: A Novel of World War II [NOOK Book]

Overview

After the success at Normandy, the Allied commanders are confident that the war in Europe will soon be over. But in December 1944, in the Ardennes Forest, the Germans launch a ruthless counteroffensive that begins the Battle of the Bulge. The Führer will spare nothing to preserve his twisted vision of a “Thousand Year Reich,” but stout American resistance defeats the German thrust. No Less Than Victory is a riveting account presented through the eyes of Eisenhower, Patton, and the soldiers who struggled...
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No Less Than Victory: A Novel of World War II

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Overview

After the success at Normandy, the Allied commanders are confident that the war in Europe will soon be over. But in December 1944, in the Ardennes Forest, the Germans launch a ruthless counteroffensive that begins the Battle of the Bulge. The Führer will spare nothing to preserve his twisted vision of a “Thousand Year Reich,” but stout American resistance defeats the German thrust. No Less Than Victory is a riveting account presented through the eyes of Eisenhower, Patton, and the soldiers who struggled face-to-face with their enemy, as well as from the vantage point of Germany’s old soldier, Gerd von Rundstedt, and Hitler’s golden boy, Albert Speer. Jeff Shaara carries the reader on a journey that defines the spirit of the soldier and the horror of a madman’s dreams.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Firmly straddling the ground between war novel and military history, the conclusion to Shaara's WWII European theater series contains the usual mix of real life military leaders and fictional soldiers in combat, recapitulating the last five months of the war, from the Battle of the Bulge to the liberation of concentration camps. Shaara's real-life figures (generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt) mostly appear in stilted scenes to discuss strategy, while fictional characters carry the narrative by doing the fighting. Thanks to Shaara's visceral descriptive powers, we ride on a bombing mission with bombardier Sergeant Buckley as his B-17 flies through the flak-filled skies over Germany. With Private Benson, we feel the cold, deprivation and sense of dislocation of the Ardennes. And we sit in an observation post right on the Germans' doorstep as Captain Harroway calls down artillery fire on the enemy. In the end, Shaara delivers nothing we haven't already read in Stephen E. Ambrose's Band of Brothers or Cornelius Ryan's The Last Battle, but fans of military fiction will definitely gobble this up. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“[An] incisive portrait of war . . . Jeff Shaara [is] one of the grand masters of military fiction.”—BookPage
 
“A powerful evocation of the war in Europe . . . impossible to put down until the very end.”—Huntington News Network
 
“Fans of military fiction will definitely gobble this up.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Vividly portrays the war’s final act.”—Pensacola News Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345516619
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/3/2009
  • Series: World War II
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 41,572
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of A Chain of Thunder, A Blaze of Glory, The Final Storm, No Less Than Victory, The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure—two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father’s Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives again in Tallahassee.


From the Hardcover edition.

Good To Know

Shaara didn't begin writing until he was 42 years old. In our interview, he explains, "My father had been the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Killer Angels, and died never fulfilled, nor successful as an author. I had no inclination to pursue writing at all, but was inspired by the suggestion of filmmaker Ron Maxwell, who suggested I continue the Civil War story my father had begun."

For 24 years, Shaara was a dealer in rare coins and precious metals. "The polar opposite career choice and lifestyle of an author," Shaara admits. "My criminology degree was inspired by a serious drive to find fulfillment as a wildlife officer (a game warden). With my coin business thriving, I never pursued the career."

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    1. Hometown:
      Kalispell, Montana
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 21, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Brunswick, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.S. in Criminology, Florida State University, 1974
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

1. THE BOMBARDIER

Bassingbourn Airfield, Near Cambridge, England November 14, 1944

He was already cold, ice in both legs, that same annoying knot freezing in his stomach. The plane shimmied sideways, and he rocked with it, felt the nose go up, could see the ground falling away, the B-17 climbing higher, steeper. Just in front was another plane, and he could see the tail gunner, moving into position, facing him. They were barely three hundred feet above the ground when the plane in front began to bank to the left, and his plane followed, mimicking the turn. Out to the side, the predawn light was broken by faint reflections of the big bombers just behind and to the right, doing the same maneuver. There were sparks from some of the big engines, unnerving, but the mechanics had done their job, and once full daylight came, the sparks would fade away.

They continued to climb, as steeply as the B-17 would go without stalling, every pilot knowing the feeling, that sudden bucking of the nose when the plane had begun to stop flying. But the bombardier could do nothing but ride. During takeoff, he was only a passenger, the pilot in the cockpit above him doing his job. He leaned as the plane banked into a sharper angle, knew they were circling, still close to the plane in front, more moving up with them. Some were already above, the first to take off, but they had disappeared into thick cloud cover, his own now reaching the dense ceiling, the plane in front of him barely visible. Wetness began to smear the Plexiglas cone in front of him, heavy mist from the clouds. In training, he had been told that the bombardier had the best seat in the plane, as far forward as you could sit, right in the nose, a clear view in every direction but behind. Even the pilot couldn’t see downward, had to rely on the planes flying in formation beneath him to keep their distance. But in the dense cloud cover, there was nothing to see, streams of rain still flowing across the Plexiglas, and now, blindness, the clouds thicker still, no sign of the plane in front of him at all.

Behind him to the left sat the navigator, silent as well, staring into his instruments. The blindness in front of them was annoying, then agonizing, the plane still shimmying, small bounces in the rough air, the pilot using his skills to keep his plane at precisely the attitude of those around him. The bombardier leaned as far forward as his safety belt would allow, searched the dense gray above them for some break, the first signs of sunlight, made a low curse shared by every American in the Eighth Air Force. British weather . . .

There had been nothing unusual about this mission, the men awakened at four in the morning, a quick breakfast, then out to the massive sea of planes. The preparation and inspection of the plane had been done by the ground crew, always in the dark, men who did not have the flight crew’s luxury of sleeping as late as four. But as they gathered beside their own bird, eight of the ten-man crew pitched in, working alongside the ground crew for the final preparation, while the pilot and copilot perched high in the cockpit ran through their checklists, inspections of their own. Like the other crewmen, the bombardier had helped pull the enormous props in a slow turn, rolling the engines over manually, loosening the oil. He knew very little about engines, had never owned a car, never earned that particular badge that inspired pride in the mechanics, a cake of grease under the fingernails. But oil seemed important to those who knew, maybe as much as gasoline, and the need for plenty of both wasn’t lost on anyone. If the ground crew said the oil needed to be loosened up, then by God he would pitch in to loosen it up. After some predetermined number of pulls, the chief mechanic gave the word, and the pull of the heavy prop blades became easier, the slow stuttering of the engines, the small generator igniting the sparks that would gradually kick each of the four engines into motion. The crews would stand back, admiring, their efforts paying off in a huge belch of smoke and thunder, the props turning on their own. Even the older mechanics seemed to enjoy that brief moment, swallowed by the exhaust, the hard sounds rolling inside them, deafening, all the power that would take this great bird up to visit the enemy one more time.

With the engines warming up, the pilot had given the usual hand signal, the order to climb aboard. The bomber’s crew would move toward the hatches, and the veterans could predict who would be first in line. It was always the newest man, this time a show of eagerness by the ball turret gunner, a man who did not yet know how scared he should be. As the crew moved toward the hatches, the men who stayed behind had one more job, offering a helping hand, some a final pat on the rump, or a few words meant to impart luck. There were customs now, some of the ground crew reciting the same quick prayer or making the same pledge, to buy the first drink or light the first cigarette. See you tonight. Give those Nazi bastards one for me. Some had written names or brief messages on the bombs themselves, usually profane, a vulgar greeting no one else would ever read. All of this had begun at random, but by now it had become ceremony, and the brief chatter held meaning, had become comforting repetition to all of them. There was another ceremony as well. As the crew passed beneath the nose, each man reached up to tap the shiny metal below the brightly painted head of an alligator, all teeth and glowing eyes. The plane had been named Big Gator, some of her original crew insisting that she be endowed with a symbol of something to inspire fear in the enemy. No one had asked if any Germans actually knew what an alligator was, but the flight engineer had come from Louisiana bayou country, and he had made the argument that none of the others could dispute. Not even the pilot had argued. As long as the painted emblem was ferocious, Big Gator worked just fine. This morning, they were embarking on their thirty-second mission, and thus far, only one man had sustained more than a minor combat wound: the ball turret gunner, replaced now by this new man who seemed to believe he would shoot down the entire Luftwaffe.

With longevity came even greater superstition, especially for the ground crew. There was a desperate awareness of the odds, of fate. Thirty-one successful missions was an unnerving statistic by now, rarer by the week. It was the reason for all the rituals, the most religious among them believing that God must somehow be paying particular attention. If someone said a prayer, the same prayer, it might encourage a Divine smile toward this bird that would bring these men home one more time.

The superstitions were reinforced by the number of combat missions they were required to fly, what had become a sore point to every crewman in the Eighth Air Force. Originally, each crewman was expected to complete twenty-five missions, a number that had become some sort of magic achievement. As a man passed twenty, the rituals became more intense, some drawing one more X on the wall beside their beds, some refusing the poker games for fear of draining away their luck. Then the number of missions had been raised to thirty, and the grumbling had erupted into unguarded cursing toward the air commanders. But the missions continued, the superstitions adjusted, and the new men, the replacements, seemed not to know the difference. After a time, word had come, some officer knowing to pass along the order and then duck for cover. The number had been raised to thirty-five. The protests had erupted again, but the brass had been inflexible and unapologetic. As the bombing campaigns intensified, the flow of new crews from the training centers was too slow to keep up with the need for more and more aircraft. That was the official explanation. But word had filtered through the hangars and barracks that the number of missions had been raised because so many of the crews were being killed. Experienced crewmen had already begun to grumble that thirty-five might become a luxury, that someone far up the chain of command had already decided the number would continue to rise. The men who had seen so many from their own squadrons fall out of the sky were beginning to believe that they would have to fly as many missions as it would take for them to be killed.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 178 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 179 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    Completes the Jeff Shaara WWII trilogy

    Some plot lines or story threads are left incomplete. Balanced view of each side of the war, and discussed from the senior strategists as well as the GI's in the foxholes. Would have been interesting and even more balanced to have had the same foxhole-level story on the German side.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    Good Job

    As usual like his father Jeff does a great job of bringing history to life.I liked the characters, especially Benson. & Higgins. I can't wait till next year when he starts the new series on the Pacific.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    Another Shaara Hit..!

    Both Michael and Jeff Shaara's books fill that unique niche in the book world. Both write historical fiction that is based upon actual events but is not the same old "histories" that offer only the details of the events. Their books let the reader "feel" the events that transpired and help the reader understand what it meant for these men and women to "live" through the history that was taking place. I highly recommend their books as a supplement to the true histories for a better understanding of these events of history. I have read all their books and will continue to read all their future offerings.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    I bought this book for my dad for Christmas

    We are huge Jeff Shaara fans, and my husband loved this book. My dad is a WWII vet (although of the South Pacific, in the Navy), and we went to a book-signing event at our local Barnes & Noble and had Mr. Shaara inscribe a personal message. Dad read it before New Year's!

    Jeff Shaara picked up where his dad left off in his focusing on small details of real wars and fleshing out real people using imagined encounters with fictional ones. I feel he's easily as talented as his father was. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Another Classic from Jeff Shaara

    I have found this to be the perfect conclusion to the WWII trilogy. Shaara continues to use his unique style to move the plot forward. I found the depiction of the characters engaging. He has the ability to put you into the narrative, feel the cold, smell the gunpowder, and grieve the carnage of war. The narrative moves along at a brisk pace. This is a classic in hisorical fiction. Highly recommended to all who are interested in WWII.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    Excellent!

    One of the best, most well-researched fictional accounts of WW2 I've ever read. Jeff Shaara nails it.

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  • Posted September 28, 2012

    History should be taught this way!

    Another superb offering from Jeff Shaara!
    His father's "Killer Angels" first got me hooked and I always wondered at the seemingly "seamless" transition when Jeff took up the task of completing the Civil War trilogy. Father and son were so obviously on the same wavelength.
    I have never found history to be a "dry" subject but it appears often to be thought so, particularly by the younger generation, but Michael and Jeff Shaara's books should be required reading in history classes at school. Often taught as a boring list of events and dates, history is ultimately about the people and that is where the Shaaras excel.........they take you inside the particpants and allow you to watch the events, as they happen, through their eyes. Close your eyes and you can smell the blood, sweat and powdersmoke and feel the tears.
    No Less Than Victory gives an extraordinary insight into what it was like to BE THERE, in the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge in that cold and miserable winer of 1944/45. Other, non-fiction, histories will give more detail, but NLTV allows one to experience those happenings on the personal level from the "poor bloody infantry" who froze in the snow and mud to the "brass" at Ike's SHAEF HQ.
    Make sure you read it in the warm - you'll still feel cold, wet and miserable at times! And if this your first Shaara, then read the others....travel back in time to D Day, Gettysburg, Bunker Hill and a hundred other momentous events and make personal acquaintances of the fascinating cast of characters who shaped history. Yes, this IS the way history should be taught!

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  • Posted July 15, 2012

    Great Book.

    Last in the series. Great book. Great series.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    No Less Than Victory

    This was a fine finish to the trilogy. It takes you to Algeria and the battle with Rommel, to Italy and into Eurpoe for the invasion. I had not read much before about the struggle the troops had going inland from the beaches and finally across the Rhine, so that was good reading. I liked all the books very much and recommend this set to anyone. The character development was great and you could picture yourself right there with them. I recommend you also read the 4th book to this series, 'The Final Storm', about the Okinawa campaign and the ending of the war with Japan. Great reading all--could hardly put these books down. I also recommend you read the 'Corps' series by WEB Griffith, which starts with 'Semper Fi'-really great writing and hard to put down.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A must read book!

    A thrilling novel that had me reading whenever i could.But a story is only so long for as i draw near the end i think to myself what a wounderful book. The book takes you to WW2 and as I know the point of view changes through out the book which gives you a whole view of the war. As I conclude this I will say that this is a wonderful book that you should consider reading. Any history fan would be very intersted with this book for as I am inthralled with it and I intend to read others.

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  • Posted August 13, 2011

    Consistent series

    Entertaining & educational

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    He shoots and scores

    Could't put it down.All three books make you feel like your right there with the real heros that answered their countrys call to defend us all

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Good Parts Outweigh the Bad

    I find this author to be maddening. He can write brilliant accounts of the violence and fear faced by men in action (like Chapter One), then blither his way through questionable dialog between famous officers and politicians (like Chapter Two). His account of the Battle of the Bulge is excellent. But when it peters out not quite halfway through the book the reader is left with a fairly mediocre summation of the end of the war in Europe by famous men talking to each other. I enjoyed the book, and I'd read it again, but it could have been so much better.

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  • Posted July 22, 2011

    Great series

    Really enjoyed first 3 books of the series, covers material well and explians how some of the main characters came together and interacted

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  • Posted May 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is a terrific action-packed WWII fictional account of the end of the European part of the war

    With the great success of the Normandy invasion, Allied Commanders all the way up to Five Star General Eisenhower feels strongly that the European theatre of Operation would soon be over. The German army battered is in full retreat.

    Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt knows the war is over unless they can somehow turn around the blitzkrieg allies who are racing across France into Germany from the west and the Russians from the east. He decides to draw the last line in the icy mountainous Ardennes where he plans to isolate the Americans and from there seize Antwerp. If this Hail Mary desperation fails, the Field Marshal knows it is a short matter of time before Berlin goes Russian as the Eastern front is collapsing also.

    This is a terrific action-packed WWII fictional account of the end of the European part of the war starting with the last German counteroffensive at the Battle of the Bulge; for the earlier parts of the war see The Steel Wave and The Rising Tide. Ironically real life persona like Ike never comes across as breathing especially in his case since the audience never learns how he felt knowing he sent so many to die at D Day and more to follow in the Ardennes even with a just cause. Military fiction readers will enjoy the fall of the Third Reich, but this tale is limited mostly to the western front as if the Russians were not coming.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    NO LESS THAN VICTORY fills in the gaps to the story of WWII

    Jeff Shaara's 3rd volume of his WWII trilogy fills in the gaps between other books and movies about WWII. Live the key characters and what happened behind the scenes. Great read for WWII buffs!

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Various Perspectives on WWII in Europe

    This is the third in a series of books on WWII in Europe written from the perspectives of various generals and footsoldiers from US, Britain, and Germany. Fascinating to see the various perspectives as the Battle of the Bulge unfolds. I recommend this book to WWII and military history enthusiasts.

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  • Posted January 24, 2010

    Another excellent book

    This volume was as good as the other 2 in the trilogy. If you like historical fiction (although I don't know if this is technically considered historical fiction) you'll love this trilogy. Very readable, it holds your interest and provides a lot of information about WWII.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    Picks up where he left off!!!

    Very engrossing. The best part of this is even though I know the historical outcome I still find myself flipping the pages to see what is going to happen next. Very good book, can't wait for the next one!

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    Great for your WWII collection!

    This book is the 3rd in a series and it closed out the series perfectly.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 179 Customer Reviews

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