Together We Stand: America, Britain, and the Forging of an Alliance

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By the middle of 1942, Allied fortunes had reached their lowest ebb, Britain's military command was in tatters and the U.S., Britain's new ally, had only fledgling, severly under-trained forces. It seemed all might be lost in the Middle East, while collapse seemed inevitable in Russia. Yet at this crucial time, America and Britain began to work together, and it was this alliance of the weary combatant and naive newcomer, fighting shoulder to shoulder under shared command for the first time in North Africa, that ...
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The Third Translation: A Novel

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Overview

By the middle of 1942, Allied fortunes had reached their lowest ebb, Britain's military command was in tatters and the U.S., Britain's new ally, had only fledgling, severly under-trained forces. It seemed all might be lost in the Middle East, while collapse seemed inevitable in Russia. Yet at this crucial time, America and Britain began to work together, and it was this alliance of the weary combatant and naive newcomer, fighting shoulder to shoulder under shared command for the first time in North Africa, that would eventually lead to the defeat of the Axis powers in the west.

Whilst drawing on a wide range of archival material from around the world and offering new perspectives and analysis to a critical period of World War II, Together We Stand is also about the men and women who found themselves caught up in this struggle, people drawn from all parts of the globe, from all ranks and services, to make up these polyglot Allied forces.

From the heat and dust of the Western Desert to the mud and mountains of Northern Tunisia, Holland retells the remarkable stories of these brave soldiers and charts the extraordinary first days of an alliance that has worked together ever since.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After years of relative neglect, historians of WWII are rediscovering the savage fighting in North Africa and developing a renewed appreciation of its importance. Rick Atkinson's superb An Army at Dawn (2002) approached the subject from an American perspective. Now comes British journalist and historian Holland with a compelling and detailed account of the same campaign. Holland (Fortress Malta) picks up in 1942, following two years of desultory fighting in the North African desert. The decision of the Anglo-American alliance to invade Northwest Africa first-instead of France-transformed the desert campaign into a major front. Early fighting favored the Axis since the British suffered from "interwar apathy" and inferior equipment, and the Americans were also plagued by inexperience, inadequate training and poor leadership. But the Allies learned from their setbacks and eventually drove the Axis out of Africa. Despite personality clashes, the Americans and the British learned to collaborate, setting the stage for "the strongest military alliance in history." Entertaining though scholarly, this exhaustively researched narrative moves seamlessly from the exalted strategy conferences of generals and presidents to the individual grunt on the front line, offering as complete a portrait of this important episode in WWII as we are likely to see. (Feb. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Vigorous account of the war in the North African desert, in which, perhaps improbably, the Allies emerged victorious. For the first two years of the conflict, Commonwealth and Free French forces fought against Rommel's Afrika Korps alone. In almost every way, they were the lesser force. As British historian Holland (Fortress Malta, not reviewed) writes, the differences came mostly in military organization. German soldiers were trained, for instance, to act independently, and the lowliest private was expected to be able to take command as the situation required; British soldiers, by contrast, were required to wait for orders on high before taking action. Rommel's forces were highly mobile and highly coordinated, while the British divisions tended to be unwieldy. And German arms, such as the 88mm cannon and the Mark IV tank, were superior to their British counterparts ("one looks solid, strong and formidable," Holland writes, "the other lightweight and ineffective"). The American arrival in the African theater roughly coincided with a massive British reorganization of forces with an eye to solving institutional problems; the fall of Tobruk and the German threat to Cairo did much to overcome inertia, as old generals were sacked and new ones such as Bernard Montgomery came on board. At the same time, Sherman tanks and 105mm howitzers began to pour in, finally giving the Allied forces the wherewithal to meet Rommel on equivalent terms and, late in 1942, leading to victory at the Battle of El Alamein, when "Churchill had his victory at last" and the tide began to turn against the Axis. Holland's narrative is leisurely and anecdotal, drawing on the memories of dozens of players, including thephotographer Cecil Beaton and the journalist and author Alan Moorehead-who, contemporary correspondents might note, was openly critical of the biggest single British disadvantage: "Quick-decision men . . . it's what we lacked most."A British rejoinder and worthy complement to Rick Atkinson's An Army at Dawn (2002).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401352530
  • Publisher: Miramax Books
  • Publication date: 2/15/2006
  • Pages: 720

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