The Last Battle

ISBN: 978-1482949988
Review Date:

Full Title: The Last Battle: When U.S. and German Soldiers Joined Forces in the Waning Hours of World War II in Europe

During WW2, Germany kept a number of highly valued prisoners at various locations, one such place being Schloss Itter, a castle in occupied Austria. Among those held at Schloss Itter were a number of high ranking Frenchmen, including former Prime Minister Édouard Daladier, former Prime Minister Paul Reynaud, General Maurice Gamelin, General Maxime Weygand, politician Michel Clemenceau (who was also the son of former Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau), and others. In the final days of the war, a unlikely battle took place at Schloss Itter during which a strangely mixed force of US Army troops, German Army troops, and Austrian resistance fighters banded together to attack the German SS men holding the castle, racing against time to rescue the prominent prisoners before the ardent Nazis considered the thought of harming the captives.

Stephen Harding's The Last Battle chronicled this little-known engagement. While only a small number of pages were devoted to the actual battle itself, its wide-ranging background stories about each member of the large cast made this book an interesting read about these French leaders who might not be well understood by American readers. The writing itself was rather dry at a few places throughout the book, but the information provided gave evidence to the amount of time Harding must have devoted to research and interviews.

I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. Joe Barrett did a good job with the reading, but his performance could not overcome the few dry segments mentioned earlier.

While I found The Last Battle interesting, I would not recommend it as a title to purchase, but rather something to check out from the local library.

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Related People:
» Daladier, Édouard
» Gamelin, Maurice
» Weygand, Maxime

Famous WW2 Quote
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935