The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945

Author:I. C. LeMoyne
Position:Judge Advocate, U.S. Navy
Pages:291-299
 
FREE EXCERPT
2013] BOOK REVIEWS 291
THE GUNS AT LAST LIGHT: THE WAR IN WESTERN
EUROPE, 1944–19451
REVIEWED BY COMMANDER I. C. LEMOYNE*
You will enter the continent of Europe and, in
conjunction with the other united nations, undertake
operations aimed at the heart of Germany and the
destruction of her armed forces.2
I. Introduction
I wanted to dislike this book. Asked to read another historical
account of the Allied victory in WWII centered exclusively on the
ground war in Western Europe, yet another paean to “the Greatest
Generation” focused entirely on the United States Army, filling more
than 600 pages of text with copious notes, was not exciting to me. It is
the contrarian in me, my own venal service pride, a sense that I had been
over this ground enough already; I truly expected to dislike this book.
Guns at Last Light, the final installment of Rick Atkinson’s
Liberation Trilogy,3 is a masterpiece of contemporary narrative history.
Mr. Atkinson, already an award-winning journalist and historian,4 has
crafted a seminal work that is important reading for all military officers
and civilian policy-makers in military affairs.
After identifying in Part II Atkinson’s reasons for writing Guns at
Last Light, Part III of this review explores his background as a
* Judge Advocate, U.S. Navy. Student, 62d Judge Advocate Officer Graduate Course,
The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, U.S. Army, Charlottesville,
Virginia.
1 RICK ATKINSON, THE GUNS AT LAST LIGHT: THE WAR IN WESTERN EUROPE, 1944–1945
(2012).
2 Id. at 12 (quoting from the order of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to Commander,
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, General Dwight D. Eisenhower
before the invasion in June 1944).
3 Rick Atkinson, The Liberation Trilogy consists of three books: AN ARMY AT DAWN:
THE WAR IN NORTH AFRICA, 1942–1943 (2002), THE DAY OF BATTLE: THE WAR IN SICILY
AND ITALY, 1943–1944 (2007), GUNS AT LAST LIGHT: THE WAR IN WESTERN EUROPE,
1944–1945 (2012), http://liberationtrilogy.com (last visited Sept. 11, 2013).
4 Notably, 1982 Pulitzer Prize for National Journalism, 2003 Pulitzer Prize for History
are available at http://www.pulitzer.org/1999 and http://www.pulitzer.org/2003.
Additional awards may be found at http://www.liberationtrilogy.com.

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