14.5.16

DIGGING THE PANAMA CANAL THROUGH THE WEHRMACHT.

That's one of the more memorable lines from Rick Atkinson's The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe , 1944-1945, which will be Book Review No. 5.  (If I don't get to work on these reviews, it will be like digging the Panama Canal through my study.)  The observation came from a member of the Allies, observing the way U. S. logistics worked.  That is, once the logistics started working.  At the beginning of the story, the Germans were losing the war in the west faster than the Allies could win it, partially because Genl Sherman's maxim, "No army dependent on wagons can operate more than a hundred miles from its base because the teams going and coming consume the contents of their wagons" has a corollary when it's a motorized army and the gasoline is being delivered from refineries an ocean away.  And yes, the Germans of the era thought the U. S. didn't fight fair, because lots of tanks and even more artillery shells.

Thus I've finally worked my way through Mr Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy, starting with An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, reviewed here and The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, reviewed here.  As I noted in previous reviews, these are works of history, thus there are no spoilers.  (Logistics plus morale prevailed.)  There is, however, more written down, or perhaps there are vignettes that earlier authors glossed over yet add interest to the story.  A sample: before the Engineers blew up the swastika at N├╝rnberg's Zeppelin Field, the Army's senior rabbi conducted a memorial service on the grounds.  There are other such nuggets throughout the book, which might work equally well as an introduction to the European Theater or as an addition to a well-stocked library such as mine.

Make of you will that it took the Allies less time to win that war than it took Mr Atkinson to write his trilogy, let alone for me to finish reading and reviewing the components.

That is all.

(Cross-posted to Fifty Book Challenge.)

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