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An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 (Liberation Trilogy) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 15. Mai 2007

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  • Taschenbuch: 681 Seiten
  • Verlag: Owlet Paperbacks; Auflage: Revised (15. Mai 2007)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0805087249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087246
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,8 x 3,3 x 21 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 88.825 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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In An Army at Dawn,, a comprehensive look at the 1942-1943 Allied invasion of North Africa, author Rick Atkinson posits that the campaign was, along with the battles of Stalingrad and Midway, where the "Axis ... forever lost the initiative" and the "fable of 3rd Reich invincibility was dissolved." Additionally, it forestalled a premature and potentially disastrous cross-channel invasion of France and served as a grueling "testing ground" for an as-yet inexperienced American army. Lastly, by relegating Great Britain to what Atkinson calls the status of "junior partner" in the war effort, North Africa marked the beginning of American geopolitical hegemony. Although his prose is occasionally overwrought, Atkinson's account is a superior one, an agile, well-informed mix of informed strategic overview and intimate battlefield-and-barracks anecdotes. (Tobacco-starved soldiers took to smoking cigarettes made of toilet paper and eucalyptus leaves.) Especially interesting are Atkinson's straightforward accounts of the many "feuds, tiffs and spats" among British and American commanders, politicians, and strategists and his honest assessments of their--and their soldiers'--performance and behavior, for better and for worse. This is an engrossing, extremely accessible account of a grim and too-often overlooked military campaign. --H. O'Billovich -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.


“A splendid book... The emphasis throughout is on the human drama of men at war.” ―The Washington Post Book World

“Exceptional... A work strong in narrative flow and character portraits of the principle commanders... A highly pleasurable read.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“A master of the telling profile... This vivid, personality-driven account of the campaign to drive Axis forces from North Africa shows the political side of waging war, even at the tactical level.” ―Chicago Tribune

“In his gripping An Army at Dawn, Rick Atkinson skilfully chronicles... the invasion of North Africa in World War II... [This is] the first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, in which Mr. Atkinson intends to tell the entire story of the U.S. armed forces in the European theatre. Based on this book, he is off to a rip-roaring start. An Army at Dawn may be the best World War II battle narrative since Cornelius Ryan's classics, The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far.” ―Max Boot, The Wall Street Journal

“A book that stands shoulder to shoulder with the other major books about the war, such as the fine writing of Cornelius Ryan and John Keegan.” ―Associated Press

“Atkinson's book is eminently friendly and readable, but without compromising normal standards of accuracy and objectivity. More than a military history, it is a social and psychological inquiry as well. His account of the Kasserine Pass disaster is alone worth the price of the book and stands as an exciting preview of the rich volumes to come. I heartily recommend this human, sensitive, unpretentious work.” ―Paul Fussell, author of Doing Battle and Wartime

“This is a wonderful book--popular history at its best. It is impressively researched and superbly written, and it brings to life in full detail one of the vitally important but relatively ‘forgotten' campaigns of World War II. What Bruce Catton and Shelby Foote did for the Civil War in their trilogies, Rick Atkinson is doing for World War II in the European Theater.” ―Professor Mark A. Stoler, author of Allies and Adversaries

“One of the most compelling pieces of military history I've ever read, An Army at Dawn will become a military history and strategy studies classic. Atkinson writes with incredible insight and mastery of the details, and he is always mindful of the larger picture. He goes from the highest political levels to the deepest foxhole without missing a beat. This is history at its finest.” ―Gen. Wesley K. Clark, U.S.A. (ret.), former NATO supreme commander

“Rick Atkinson has done a beautiful job of research and writing in An Army at Dawn. This is the North African campaign--warts, snafus, feuding allies, incompetence--unvarnished. It whets my appetite for the rest of the Liberation Trilogy Atkinson has promised us.” ―Joseph L. Galloway, co-author of We Were Soldiers Once... and Young

“A masterpiece. Rick Atkinson strikes the right balance between minor tactical engagements and high strategic direction, and he brings soldiers at every level to life, from private to general. An Army at Dawn is history with a soldier's face.” ―General Gordon R. Sullivan, U.S.A. (ret.), former Army chief of staff

“For sheer drama, the Tunisian campaign far overshadowed any other phase of the Second World War. Rick Atkinson has told the story with zest and brutal realism. His account will be a monument among accounts of World War II.” ―John S. D. Eisenhower, author of Allies and The Bitter Woods

An Army At Dawn is an absolute masterpiece. Atkinson conveys both the human drama and historical significance of this campaign with a power and intensity that is nothing short of electrifying. This book is storytelling--and history--at its most riveting.” ―Andrew Carroll, editor of War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars

“Rick Atkinson combines meticulous research and attention to detail with an extraordinary ability to tell a story. It is a rich and powerful narrative which is certain to become a classic.” ―Ronald Spector, author of At War At Sea and Eagle Against the Sun

“Atkinson's An Army at Dawn is a superb account of the Allied invasion of North Africa. From the foxhole to Eisenhower's supreme headquarters, Atkinson has captured the essence of war in one of the most neglected campaigns of World War II.” ―Carlo D'Este, author of Patton and Eisenhower

“Atkinson's writing is lucid, vivid... Among the many pleasures of an Army at Dawn are the carefully placed details--shells that whistle into the water with a smoky hiss; a colonel with 'slicked hair and a wolfish mustache'; a man dying before he can fire the pistols strapped in his holster.” ―Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“What distinguishes his narrative is the way he fuses the generals' war... with the experiences of front-line combat soldiers.” ―Raleigh News & Observer

“Brilliant... This is history and war in the hands of a gifted and unflinching writer.” ―The Kansas City Star

“The most thorough and satisfying history yet of the campaigns in North Africa . . . Given his success with modern military history, the penetrating historical insights Atkinson brings to bear on America's 1942-43 invasion of the North African coast are not surprising.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Atkinson, author of the best-selling The Long Grey Line (1989), a chronicle of the West Point class of 1966, here debuts an ambitious three-volume saga about the North African and European theaters of World War II. This first volume covers the conception of Operation Torch through the German surrender in Tunisia in May 1943 and reveals the author's skill in balancing big-picture strategizing with unit-level tactical fighting... The ground of every battle is precisely assessed, with the author apprising readers of how often the experienced German army was superior to the green American army in exploiting hills and roads. Having personally tramped over the battlefields in Morocco and Tunisia, Atkinson incorporates their look--the mud, the dust, and the cactus. An exemplary work that feeds anticipation of the succeeding volumes.” ―Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

“Atkinson 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.” ―Mark Ellis, Albany State University Library, Georgia, Library Journal

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6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Jonnie10 am 10. Februar 2010
Format: Taschenbuch
There isn't much that I can say here that hasn't already been said by the previous reviewer (a 'cousin' I notice!), other than 'Thank you, Mr.Atkinson!' I originally bought this book in the hope of gaining background information for a new wargames campaign that I wanted to start, having finally grown tired of 'doing' the Russian Front for the last 25 years or so. Thankfully,I wasn't disappointed. Rick Atkinson has written a wonderfully readable and fascinating book that is totally unbiased; I can read it again and again. Mr Atkinson's work is packed with delightful (and often humourous) details that have left me with an urge to learn more about the North African Campaign of 1942 -1943. What I actually found the most intriguing, however, was the bitter in-fighting and national rivalry that went on amongst the so-called 'Allies' which left me wondering how we ever managed to win! My own father (now deceased) served as a young Lieutenant in a (British) armoured car unit in Tunisia (later Sicily / Italy) and confirmed to me much of what the author says, including the remark about referring to American troops as "our Italians". He and his mates also referred to the Italians as "The Gentlemen," the French as "the REAL enemy" and in one instance they even shot down an aircraft of the "American Luftwaffe" that had had the audacity to strafe their vehicles in error (the pilot happily survived and was duly made into the 'tea boy' for his sins, being returned a few days later after having 'bought' his freedom by promising a case of Scotch in return!(I'm serious). As for the Germans, well, they were their usual efficient, disciplined and extremely annoying selves as ever (I live in Germany and I married a German, so I'm allowed to say that).Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von James Gallen am 19. August 2008
Format: Taschenbuch
"An Army At Dawn" tells the of the American Army from its first taste of battle in Operation Torch, the Invasion of French North Africa, through the closing of the Tunisian campaign. Author Rick Atkinson does an excellent job of blending the stories of individual soldiers and actions with the big picture of generals and theatre-wide implications. The rivalries between the Americans, French and British are given fair play.

The theme of this book is that the American Army which went ashore in Operation Torch was not fit for heavy combat. From General Eisenhower on down to the privates, it had lessons to learn which were better learned against French and Italians than Germans. Through adversity the army learned to hate and to fight, the generals learned to command and the wheat was separated from the chaff. The Army which was unfit at Dawn was, by Dusk, ready for the battles which lay ahead.

This book gives the reader a good understanding of the North African Theatre of the war. I had read about it previously, but this put it into a new perspective. I often judge a book by whether it whets my appetite for more. This one passes that test. As I was reading this one, I kept wanting to read more about World War II, the North African campaign and North Africa itself. A book that can do that is a worthy read.
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233 von 242 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Brilliant, compulsively readable, and well balanced 22. Oktober 2002
Von David J. Loftus - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I read the first two pages of the prologue to this hefty volume and I was HOOKED! Mr. Atkinson writes beautifully, sensitively, and fairly about this huge, complex historical era.
The first of a projected three volumes about the U.S. role in the World War II liberation of Europe, _An Army at Dawn_ deals with the North Africa campaign, which many general readers have tended to neglect in favor of Italy, Normandy, and beyond. Atkinson admirably addresses this problem.
Somehow, the author has found just the right mix of detail -- from personal notes out of soldiers' diaries and letters home, to the reparations paid to Algerians for traffic fatalities caused by Allies -- versus big picture aspects, from the British and American political maneuverings at Casablanca to the larger troop movements and battle strategy. I got a kick out of the references to GI passwords in various battles, jokes and ditties (although it's not clear whether Atkinson realizes the couplet quoted on p. 526 is from Spike Jones's wartime hit, "Der Fuehrer's Face"), as well as the graver tales of of triumph and tragedy.
Don't let the size of this tome intimidate you (541 pages of text, 83 pages of notes, 28 pages of bibliographical source listings) -- because the book reads smoothly and compulsively. And there are plenty of excellent maps sprinkled throughout the book, at just the right places.
The author does not spare us the details of Allied political and personal squabbles (particularly British condescension toward American battleworthiness and courage -- not altogether undeserved, but not fair, either), absurdities, and atrocities.
Hard core historians may quibble with some of Atkinson's judgments, or even his facts, but I can't imagine anyone writing a more excellent account for the general reader. General Fredendall is said to be "unencumbered by charisma." With excellent intelligence, Ike's team decided there would be no German offensive on the eve of Kasserine Pass, which was "measured, reasonable, and wrong."
Don't take my word for it: Read those first two pages, and I guarantee you'll want to read this book (and await the other two volumes breathlessly) too.
97 von 102 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An Excellent account of the War in North Africa 2. Dezember 2002
Von David W. Nicholas - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Rick Atkinson has been writing military history for about a decade now. He started with books on West Point (which covered Viet Nam rather thoroughly) and the Gulf War, and now he's turned his sights on World War II. He definitely has a modern appraisal of war: the one previous reviewer who complains about Atkinson not recounting any acts of "selfless heroism" by U.S. troops is basically correct. The difference is in focus, though, not that Atkinson doesn't want to portray American soldiers as brave. He doesn't recount any instances of selfless heroism on the part of Germans, Italians, or British soldiers either. To Atkinson, war is a nasty, merciless, vicious, bloody mess, where mistakes cost lives, and almost everyone makes these mistakes, at least starting out.
For one thing, while the book does concentrate a good deal on the front-line soldiers and their ordeals, it spends more time concentrating on the command structure of the U.S. Army, and its compatriots and opponents. While he doesn't name *every* regimental commander, he sure names a lot of them, and the division commanders in the American army at least are described in some detail. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of the first president Roosevelt and cousin of the second one, gets a wonderful portrait that makes you sympathize with him, and almost gives you the feeling you know him, though he died in 1944. The author's particular favorite among the generals (he's said this in an interview) is Terry de la Mesa Allen, the commander of the 1st Infantry Division (and Gen. Roosevelt's boss), but even he isn't spared when he makes an unwise attack and loses several hundred casualties.
There are things the book doesn't cover, that's true. It makes almost no mention of the technical difficulties American troops had when first confronting the Axis armies, and almost no mention of the inferiority of early equipment like the Stuart tank or early tank destroyers. When later equipment arrives (the M-10 Wolverine for instance) you only know it when the American army has some destroyed. Atkinson, however, is much more interested in the people, and especially the leaders, than he is in the gizmos.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's not that long (less than 600 pages of text) and the narrative flows wonderfully. There are numerous anecdotes that are priceless: Italian soldiers surrendering carrying dirty pictures in their pockets along with the address of a cousin who lives in Detroit or Brooklyn, Patton complaining at Casablanca that the president's Secret Service agents all smelled of liquor, Ernest Harmon (the second commander of the 1st Armored Division in the campaign) is described as a cobra without the snake charmer. The narrative flow is wonderful, the maps illustrate the action well. The only quibble I did have was wondering which actions involving the British Army he was choosing to include, or exclude. Never could tell what his criteria was. That aside, and the note about the author not wanting to emphasize heroism, this is an extraordinary and compelling book, perhaps the best on World War II in a decade, perhaps even longer.
153 von 165 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Brilliant Synthesis 15. Oktober 2002
Von Bruce Loveitt - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This book will be the definitive work, from the American point of view, on the war in North Africa, covering the period when the United States got involved (November 1942) up until the German surrender in Tunisia (May 1943). Mr. Atkinson effectively sets the stage by showing the sorry state the U.S. military had fallen into prior to the decision to invade North Africa. He points out that in September 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, the U.S. Army had ranked seventeenth in the world in size and combat power, just behind Romania. When 136 German divisions conquered Western Europe in the Spring of 1940, our War Department reported that we could only field five divisions! Mr. Atkinson writes, "Equipment and weaponry were pathetic. Soldiers trained with drainpipes for antitank guns, stovepipes for mortar tubes, and brooms for rifles...Only six medium tanks had been built in 1939.....This in part reflected an enduring loyalty to the horse...The Army's cavalry chief assured Congress in 1941 that four well-spaced horsemen could charge half a mile across an open field to destroy an enemy machine-gun nest without sustaining a scratch." This sort of information helps you to appreciate what had to be overcome in order for us to play our part in the expulsion of the Axis forces from North Africa! Mr. Atkinson doesn't fail to show us what other problems had to be overcome...Eisenhower having to learn "on the job" how to be Supreme Commander; having to build and then hold together the Allied coalition...this was very difficult, as many top men in the British military had nothing but disdain for Eisenhower's abilities and also for the abilities of the American troops (and many of the top American brass, such as Eisenower, Bradley and Patton were Anglophobic, so it worked both ways!); the administrative and logistical nightmares....the actual amphibious landings, getting supplies to the troops, coordinating the actions of the British and American forces, etc.; plus the number one problem of building an effective fighting force, made up of officers who hadn't been in battle since WWI (and that was a type of battle that had little relevance in the current situation!) and green troops that had never experienced combat. So, as Mr. Atkinson states, North Africa was the place where U.S. forces (and their superiors) learned to integrate and coordinate their actions both with themselves and with their Allies; and on a more basic level, where we learned how to hate and kill the enemy. North Africa prepared us for what we had to do later on in Italy and, of course, after June 6th, 1944. Mr. Atkinson is very evenhanded in his account. He doesn't hesitate to point out the mistakes made by both the British and the Americans. Eisenhower, Patton, Montgomery, Alexander, etc. all come in for their share of criticism as well as being praised, when praise it due. One thing that really surprised me was the sheer level of backbiting that went on...the nasty comments made by the British about the Americans, and vice-versa. The author is also very good at pointing out the numerous strategic and tactical errors made on the various battlefields. Mistakes were made by not only the top brass, but also by people in charge at lower levels. Very basic errors were made....such as not sending out reconnaisance units, initiating tank attacks without proper artillery or air support, etc. Many brave men were sent to their deaths in useless and ill-conceived actions. Sometimes just the sheer confusion of the battlefield was responsible, or just plain error....planes bombing their own men or artillery falling short, etc. Another area where Mr. Atkinson excels is in the "thumbnail" sketch of the numerous personalities that are integral to the story. The writing is sharp, witty and, quite often, eloquent. Here are just a few sentences concerning General Patton: "More than a quarter-century had gone by since his first intoxicating taste of battle and fame, during the Punitive Expedition to Mexico in 1916, when he had briefly become a national hero for killing three banditos and strapping their bodies to his automobile running boards like game trophies.....At the age of fifty, upon reading J.F.C. Fuller's classic 'Generalship: It's Diseases and Their Cures,' Patton had wept bitterly because eighty-nine of the one hundred great commanders profiled were younger than he. Now, when he was fifty-six, his hour had come round." Mr. Atkinson is also very good at describing the nuts and bolts of the various battles. The descriptions are clear, vivid and exciting. Some readers with a strong interest in the military aspects may be a bit disappointed in the maps. They are few and, barely, adequate. But this is a minor quibble. A more serious criticism might be that there is very little here concerning the view from the German and Italian side. But I don't think such criticism would be fair, because Mr. Atkinson's intent was never to show the war in North Africa from all points of view. He wanted to show the difficulties involved in the U.S. becoming an effective fighting force, the animosity that had to be overcome so that the Americans and British could start to form an effective alliance and, lastly, to set the stage for volume II of his "Liberation Trilogy"- the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943. He has accomplished what he set out to do, and he has done so brilliantly.
234 von 285 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
an unbalanced story 4. November 2002
Von Barry Dwyer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
There can be no doubt that this book represents an impressive synthesis of its massive source material with flashes of stylistic brilliance glinting in the narrative, but, it is not so much history as historical journalism written with a pre-conceived point of view that can be found on p. 4 of the author's Prologue: "The brave and the virtuous appear throughout the North African campaign, to be sure, but so do the cowardly, the venal and the foolish." It is the latter group on which Atkinson dwells throughout this unremittingly grim account of the North African campaign. And when a would-be historian has an agenda, all bets are off.
The book's title suggests he's going to tell the story of the American army in its baptism of fire in the European theater. Fine, then tell the whole story. There is precious little information here about the combat training the participating divisions prior to deployment. There is zero info on their amphibious training, and TORCH was the largest amphibious assault ever attempted.
If the author is going to tell the reader how green the troops were, he needs to tell them why.
Intent upon stressing the horror of combat and ugliness of war, the author cannot bring himself to offer the reader countervailing views, such as the generosity and selfless heroism of the American GI.
As an example of this tunnel vision, we read on pp. 143-44 about 60th Infantry's attempt to take the Kasbah and the nearby lighthouse. We're told only that its commander, after meeting heavy resistance, ordered that objective bypassed. We're not told that two of LTC Dilley's men, LT Dushane and Cpl. Czar, did take the lighthouse after charging across barbed wire to, then bringing out enemy POWs. Or that, during the Kasbah attack, those same 2 heroes commandeered a damaged artillery piece and fired it at advancing French armor, Dushane being killed in the process. (Atkinson doesn't name the 60th's CO in his & does not put names to other such persons throughout his book.)
The author provides many quotes from Ernie Pyle, but you won't read the one from HERE IS YOUR WAR about GIs giving emaciated Arab children their rations, the only ones they had coming ashore, so that for days they had to eat oranges.
And while Atkinson cites numerous accounts from books and diaries written by commanders and troops, plus other official and unofficial sources, not once does he describe at length one act of selfless valor. And there were many. For instance, during the months of April and May 1943 alone, 10 Distinguished Service Crosses (2nd only to the Medal of Honor) and 100s of Silver Stars were awarded to officers and men engaged in combat during that period. After all, this would contradict his grim, negative thesis.
This is not to say that instances of cowardice, lousy leadership and command snafus weren't evident throughout the campaign, but it is meant to state that this author owes his readers a more balanced view than the one he delivers in this exercise in journalistic history.
23 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Destined to be a history classic of WWII 10. Oktober 2002
Von Kenneth S. Smith - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a fine history of the US Army's campaign in North Africa. Rick Atkinson writes with great skill and this book is a pleasure to read. The US Army entered the campaign poorly trained, ill equipped, and in some cases poorly led, and the German Army made it pay dearly until incompetent officers were relieved and the combat units learned how to fight effectively against professionals. The author does not hold back and relates the bad with the good. I was disgusted with the "cover your butt" attitude that prevailed that got many good field commanders canned and incompetents rewarded. One can only wonder at the waste and stupidity that cost so many fine young Americans their lives. It was the battles fought in North Africa that trained the likes of Eisenhower, Bradley, and Patton, Clark, and others for the coming campaigns in Europe, and the lessons were expensive. The book covers all the major engagements with views from the command positions down to small unit actions in a lively manner. As the title indicates, "An Army at Dawn" was "An Army Just Waking Up"!
--Ken Smith ...
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