Crusade in Europe

ISBN: 0-385-41619-9
Review Date:

Dwight Eisenhower's 1948 memoir Crusade in Europe detailed his experience as a commanding general in North Africa and Europe during WW2. He successfully captured the situations and conditions in which he made his key decisions, explaining to the readers the "why" and "how" that shaped the courses of the war. His interactions with other military figures and statesmen, not only American but other Allied nations as well, also allowed interesting insight into his life and career. Although he noted that he detested of being a politician early on in his life, his very talent in this arena allowed him to succeed in managing the different goals of various Allied nations. Writing like a soldier, his narratives were structured and undecorated, making the reading dry at certain parts, but at the same time the reader could easily pick up the great deal of information that he packed into this volume.

Given that this book was a memoir and not a history, some of the more controversial things were whitewashed, especially given that it was written so soon after WW2 and so shortly before the start of the Cold War. Tension between Bernard Montgomery and George Patton were downplayed, for example, while the failure of Operation Market Garden was blamed as much on poor weather as poor strategic design. Some of the demands from Charles de Gaulle which had troubled Eisenhower were only briefly touched upon. One possible conjecture for the whitewashing and selective telling of events was the preparation for higher positions, which would explain Eisenhower's stress that the commanders under his leadership were working nearly harmoniously succeeded in their tasks. He also took his opportunities in striking at the practices and mentalities of the Soviets, which was not surprising in 1948 when tensions were beginning to escalate with the Soviet Union. Finally, given that Eisenhower's successful military career had been made possible by his superior George Marshall, Marshall was heralded in this book to be a near-perfect leader.

That this book was Eisenhower's memoir and not a biography written by a neutral third person would be an important thing to keep in mind when reading this book; given that caveat, the book would be highly recommended by WW2DB for this first-person tale of the European War.

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Famous WW2 Quote
"All that silly talk about the advance of science and such leaves me cold. Give me peace and a retarded science."

Thomas Dodd, late 1945