Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Book Review - "The Rising Tide" by Jeff Shaara

Even though I am a geneaholic, I still find time to read historical fiction, mystery/political fiction and current events non-fiction books. This usually occurs while watching TV shows (especially baseball games or game shows) or while away from home.

I have enjoyed at least 5 of Jeff Shaara's earlier works on the Revolutionary War (Rise to Rebellion, The Glorious Cause), the Mexican-American War (Gone for Soldiers) and the Civil War (Gods and Generals, The Last Full Measure). I have tried to review each of these on the blog. He also has written one about world War I (To the Last Man) that I have not read yet.

His latest work is The Rising Tide, which covers the first part of the American involvement in World War II. The action starts after Pearl Harbor, and focuses on the campaign in North Africa and the invasion of Sicily and Italy. The characters of Erwin Rommel, Albert Kesselring, Bernard Montgomery, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, Wayne Clark and others are portrayed - most of it based on their memoirs and contemporary reports. The most telling segments are those of Jack Logan (a tank gunner captured in North Africa by the Germans) and Jesse Adams (a paratrooper who lands in Sicily) - you get the feel for what they experienced as part of small cogs in a big war machine.

This book is the first of a trilogy about World War II from the American view - I think the next volume will be about D-Day and defeating Germany, and the third will be about the war in the Pacific to defeat Japan.

These books are very interesting to me - Shaara puts you in the middle of the action while keeping to the historical record. You can understand the pressures put on each character - personal, command, political - and their response. The books have excellent maps of each battle to help you understand the terrain and the vital movements of both sides. I now have a better understanding of the leaders and the situations that are recounted in the book.

How about you? What historical or genealogical books have you read recently? Recommend some to me!

2 comments:

Barbara said...

I, too, read a lot of historical fiction and recently read "The Rising Tide." (Sorry, I don't know how to do the tags. I also learned a lot from this book about the the U.S. involvement in WWI and how that all came to be. And I, too, appreciated the personal accounts (fictional or real). I look foward to the next two books, though I was hoping Shaara would continue to follow the war into Italy because my father served in Northern Italy.

I've read Shaara's Civil War trilogy--the two you mentioned and "Killer Angels"). I've also read Shelby Foote's Civil War Trilogy, and Civil War books by James McPherson--the Civil War being my main interested after genealogy.

A recommendation I have is "The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice." by Alex Kershaw.

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