TO THE ELBE. Jeff Shaara's World War II trilogy culminates with No Less Than Victory: A Novel of World War II. Regular readers will have seen The Rising Tide reviewed and The Steel Wave reviewed over the past three years. It just worked out that the third book in the trilogy provides Book Review No. 3. I must correct some observations from the previous reviews. I described some of the enlisted men and non-coms of Rising Tide as fictional. That's not correct: No Less Than Victory includes surviving characters in the required "where are they now" afterword -- the experiences of the men in the foxholes might be less imagined than the experiences of the commanders who also feature in the series. I also speculated, based on the presence of paratroopers in Steel Wave, on the presence of the bridge too far and of Bastogne in No Less Than Victory. Those battles received mention, but most of the action takes place on the ground, in the snow. Cold, tired, hungry, all the way to the Czech border, exactly as my dad described it. The principal characters serve with the 106th Infantry Division, an inexperienced division that acquitted itself better against what was left of Hitler's first string than anyone expected. The 87th Infantry Division, which was Sgt. Karlson's outfit, makes a cameo appearance when one of the survivors of the 106th wonders, with the 87th to his right, what it would be like to serve in General Patton's Third Army.

(Cross-posted to 50 Book Challenge.)

No comments: