The book won’t be released until May but I just finished an advance copy I got on Thanksgiving.
It’s the third book in a series and I must admit I didn’t read the first two but now plan to.
The three books comprise the Liberation Trilogy by Rick Atkinson and in order are;
An Army At Dawn:The War in North Africa 1942-1943.
The Day Of Battle:The War in Sicily and Italy 1943-1944.
The Guns At Last Light:The War in western Europe 1944-1945.
The story opens with the landing at Normandy on D-Day and ends with…
I don’t want to spoil the ending but let’s just say it involves redecorating Germany with napalm and white phosphorus.
It’s a fabulously detailed account of WWII in a macro and micro perspective.
There’s a lot in here that I already knew, such as;
Patton was manic; Montgomery was a pompous pain in the ass; Eisenhower’s competency was questioned by nearly everyone and the French contribution the war effort was virtually nil.
What I didn’t know was the author’s revelation of how the war took a toll on the front line GI Joes.
We herald these heroes as the Greatest Generation and rightfully so for defeating the Nazis.
Unfortunately they were not super heroes but humans and subject to human frailties.
The American war effort suffered from thousands of cases of desertion; combat fatigue (previously called shell shock and now known as post traumatic stress); waste; inefficiency and lack of matériel.
There were many cases of American troops raping local women they liberated,extensive looting, and shooting surrendering Germans in droves.
Such are the consequences of human behavior subjected to horrors of war.
My point is not that this should be excused.
Rather, these are some of the actions of what we call the greatest generation.
Why then aren’t our brothers and friends and neighbors, who were plucked from college dorms and loading docks or construction sites and sent to Vietnam accorded the same veneration?
Did they not suffer the same hardships?
Why aren’t our children coming back from endless tours in Iraq and Afghanistan heralded for their sacrifices?
It’s time to stop blaming the victim.
Damaged veterans got that way in the service to this country, not because they made a decision to behave in a damaged way.
When I was in Russia 25 years ago, WWII veterans wore their medals and campaign ribbons on civilian attire so the populace could recognize them.
Our veterans are forced to wear ribbons of shame because we all know that any one in the armed forces these days is a baby killer unable to function in any other segment of society, right?
It makes me sick to my stomach to think that our government has more to offer some one who sneaks into this country illegally for their own personal benefit than real heroes who put it all on the line.
One day a year to commemorate veterans and put TVs on sale is pitiful.
Honor veterans everyday.