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

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

by Rick Atkinson

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

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.

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
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Rick Atkinson was a staff writer and senior editor at The Washington Post for more than twenty years. He is the bestselling author of An Army at Dawn, The Long Gray Line, In the Company of Soldiers, and Crusade. His many awards include Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and history. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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.

Table of Contents

List of Mapsxvi
Map Legendxvii
Allied Chain of Commandxix
Part 1
A Meeting with the Dutchman21
Gathering the Ships33
Rendezvous at Cherchel42
On the Knees of the Gods49
A Man Must Believe in His Luck57
"In the Night, All Cats Are Grey"69
In Barbary78
To the Last Man91
"Glory Enough for Us All"103
A Sword in Algiers116
A Blue Flag over Oran124
"An Orgy of Disorder"130
Battle for the Kasbah141
"It's All Over for Now"148
Part 2
4.Pushing East163
"We Live in Tragic Hours"163
A Cold Country with a Hot Sun167
Fat Geese on a Pond187
5.Primus in Carthago194
"Go for the Swine with a Blithe Heart"194
"The Dead Salute the Gods"201
"Jerry Is Counterattacking!"217
6.A Country of Defiles237
"They Shot the Little Son of a Bitch"250
"This Is the Hand of God"256
Part 3
The Ice-Cream Front265
Speedy Valley270
"The Touch of the World"280
The Sinners' Concourse295
8.A Bits and Pieces War301
"Goats Set Out to Lure a Tiger"301
"This Can't Happen to Us"312
"The Mortal Dangers That Beset Us"317
"A Good Night for a Mass Murder"327
A Hostile Debouchment339
None Returned348
"Sometimes That Is Not Good Enough"353
"This Place Is Too Hot"366
"Order, Counter-order, and Disorder"373
"Lay Roughly on the Tanks"382
Part 4
10.The World We Knew Is a Long Time Dead395
Vigil in Red Oak395
"We Know There'll Be Troubles of Every Sort"398
"One Needs Luck in War"406
"The Devil Is Come Down"416
11.Over the Top431
"Give Them Some Steel!"431
"Search Your Soul"444
Night Closes Down453
"I Had a Plan ... Now I Have None"464
12.The Inner Keep480
Hell's Corner480
Hammering Home the Cork490
"Count Your Children Now, Adolf!"499

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An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Filled with elegant writing, I found myself rereading and savoring many passages of this rich, densely detailed, and tragic story. I could read only a few pages at a time before needing time to think about it. History classes I have taken and those I have taught glossed over the North Africa campaign as merely a prelude to the main event in Europe. Now I know better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An Army at Dawn is an extraordinary book. It reminds us that the first Army boot that hit the beach was in North Africa, not Normandy.The book also makes it quite clear that a fighting machine like the U.S. Army just doesn't automatically happen. It takes the courage to learn from mistakes and to be succesful, one must bring maximum force to bear in fighting the enemy. The powerful narrative smoothly moves from the generals to the privates in the foxholes. The research is quite impressive. The book is superbly written. I can't wait for the next volume.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm only about half way thru this book but it's very, very good at illuminating a theatre in the war that never seems to get the attention that surrounds D-Day and the Northern Europe actions. Can't wait to finish the book but then wonder how long I'll have to wait on volume 2? Recommended
Guest More than 1 year ago
An Army At Dawn is the first full-scale study of the American Army in the North African Campaign of World War II to appear in many years. If less in-depth than the official histories in the Green Book series, it is a far easier read. Atkinson has a gift for shifting from the high command to the impact of war upon the lonely frontline rifleman. He is, moreover, an excellent stylist and his writing is superb. Unlike the increasingly common practice in more popular histories of ignoring notes and sources, both are included. The maps are also surprisingly good, if as always too few in number. Overall this is an excellent book and the only complaint is that the publication schedule for the next two volumes in the Liberation Trilogy means that the wait will be too long!
tripledawg More than 1 year ago
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.
Henrys8 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Never before has a book sucked me in before I even finished reading the prologue! Rick Atkinson has a writing style reminiscent of other journalists/authors such as Cornelius Ryan and Ernie Pyle. This book appeals to the historians looking to broaden the knowledge of the subject, to those just beginning to take interest in military conflict. I can wait for the release of the next book in the Liberation Trilogy!
Anonymous 9 months ago
It was an amazing read. I was shocked into reality in the description of poor communication and coordination thru this African campaign. Plus he battle scenes and successes and failures in them were shocking in numbers of casualties. I felt that way he author captured the essence of war perfectly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an excellent book. A very in depth look into the planning and execution of The United States entry into the war. I have read many great books on the history of WWII and this ranks among the very top. After reading this you must read the 2 companion books about the battles of Sicily and into Europe's mainland.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a single chapter of El Alamein, not a word about Tobruk! Don't like his writing style. E. Cosio
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PhrogJK More than 1 year ago
The beginning of the trilogy on WW II by Ray Atkinson. This trilogy is the best I have read on that war. All three books in the trilogy are 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Atkinson doors a great job of finding the balance between detail and readability. Very readable book while doing the subject justice.
rgfoste More than 1 year ago
Rick Atkinson does the best job of recapping what went on for the Americans in WWII. He does it like a news reporter. This what was going on. This is what happened. This is the result. If you know nothing about WWII this will get you started. If you've read a lot this will summarize it for. The right mix of facts, personal incidents and perspective. He does not judge the generals, just tells you what was going on.
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I have the benefit of listening to an uncle who fought in this area. Rick Atkinson's research and narrative of this part of the conflict is an accurate and riviting book to read. Don't miss this one.
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jfk1942 More than 1 year ago
I learned a lot from reading Rick's book. I didn't realize how rough of a time our men had it in Afiica. I highly recommend the book and will get the other 2 volumes.