An Army at Dawn
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 2 Jul 2014
Full Title: An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, Volume One of the Liberation Trilogy Paperback
Having already checked out Rick Atkinson's The Day of Battle previously, picking up An Army at Dawn now meant that I would be reading his "Liberation" trilogy out of order. Despite this fact, I had enjoyed An Army at Dawn just as much. The first in the series, An Army at Dawn chronicled the early days of the WW2-era US military, having so much potential, but suffering from inexperience. Putting the Desert War up on the same level as Stalingrad and Midway was perhaps a bit of a stretch, but nevertheless Atkinson ably portrayed the series of events subsequent to the Operation Torch landings as important lessons in the growth of generals like Omar Bradley, George Patton, and Dwight Eisenhower and as trials for the citizen soldiers. Readers looking for small unit tactics would not find them in these pages, but the author's description of the general strategy and how the outcome affected subsequent world events would probably delight many history enthusiasts. The only minor complaint I had with the book was Atkinson's decidedly American-centric point of view, which led to the downplaying of other nations' efforts in the various actions, especially those of the British allies who fought alongside. This shortcoming by no means detract from this otherwise good book, besides the fact that one should always seek out books with various perspectives in order to gain the full picture.
I had viewed this book in its audio book format. Rick Atkinson read the book himself, something that I had always enjoyed immensely as no one knew better on how to present the text as well as the one who put them on paper. His well-presented voice accompanied his well-written narratives quite perfectly.
I had enjoyed An Army at Dawn as much as I had with The Day of Battle. I had already found the third and final volume of the series, The Guns at Last Light, at the local library and very much look forward to checking it out.
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