A modern master of the historical novel, Jeff Shaara has painted brilliant depictions of the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, and World War I. Now he embarks upon his most ambitious epic, a trilogy about the military conflict that defined the twentieth century. The Rising Tide begins a staggering work of fiction bound to be a new generation's most poignant chronicle of World War II. With you-are-there immediacy, painstaking historical detail, and all-inclusive points of view, Shaara portrays the momentous and increasingly dramatic events that pulled America into the vortex of this monumental conflict. As Hitler conquers Poland, Norway, France, and most of Western Europe, England struggles to hold the line. When Germany's ally Japan launches a stunning attack on Pearl Harbor, America is drawn into the war, fighting to hold back the Japanese conquest of the Pacific, while standing side-by-side with their British ally, the last hope for turning the tide of the war.
Shaara (To the Last Man; Gone for Soldiers), who has written bestselling and critically acclaimed historical novels covering the American Revolution through World War I, takes on World War II in the wonderful first volume of a planned trilogy. As the book begins, Hitler's forces control western Europe, and U.S. troops face off against the Germans in North Africa. From fall 1942 through spring 1943, the Allies battle Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps. Shaara evokes the agony of desert warfare and the utter chaos of an airborne assault through the experiences of Pvt. Jack Logan, a tank gunner, and Sgt. Jesse Adams, a paratrooper. The challenges-and frequent frustrations-of command are seen through the eyes of such luminaries as generals Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton and Rommel. The Allied victory in Africa is followed by the conquest of Sicily and the invasion of mainland Italy in 1943. With the Italian campaign sputtering, the Allies turn to planning for the decisive event of the European theater, the cross-channel invasion of France, which is where Shaara concludes this sprawling, masterful opening act. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Brilliant
Posted July 12, 2010 by Fred Hermann , BoltonSuperb, well written engrossing moves along provides the best understandable description of the African campaign I have ever read
November 07, 2005
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Excerpt from The Rising Tide by Jeff Shaara
1. THE DESERT RAT
The Libyan Desert May 27, 1942
They huddled in the chill, encased in hard steel, waiting, energized by rumors. Behind them, to the east, the black horizon was visible, silhouetted by the first glow of sunrise. The wireless radio was chattering, the voices of nervous officers far behind the line, the men in tents, who pored over maps, unsure, powerless to do anything about an enemy who might be anywhere at all.
They had climbed into the tank at the first sign of daylight, each of the four men finding his place, their commander perched higher than the rest, settling into his seat just beneath the hatch of the turret. It was still too dark in the west, and the narrow view through the prism of the periscope was too confining, and so he stood, his head and shoulders outside the hatch. The long, thin barrel of the two-pound cannon was just below him, pointing westward, where the enemy was thought to be. He stared until his eyes watered, tried to see the horizon. But it would not be there, not yet, not until the sun had given them enough light to distinguish dull, flat ground from the empty sky.
The air was sharp and cold, but that would not last. Once the sun rose, the heat would come again, and the infantry, a mass of men waiting far behind their armor wall, would seek whatever shelter they had, waking the insects and the scorpions and the snakes. The tank was as good a shelter as a man had in the desert, but there was a price for shade. The thick steel made a perfect oven, and the men would man their posts and glance instinctively toward the hatches, hoping for the faintest wisp of breeze. He blinked, wiped his eyes with a dirty hand, annoyed at the crackling intrusion from the wireless.
"Turn that off!"
"Sir, can't do that, you know. Orders. The captain ..."
He ignored the young man's protest, stared out again. The sun would quickly rise, nothing to block the light, no mountains, no trees, no rolling terrain. In a few short minutes he could see flecks of detail, an uneven field pockmarked by small rocks. There was a shadow, right in front of him, beneath the barrel of the two-pounder. It was his, of course, the low, hulking form of the tank. It makes us a target, he thought. But, then, the Germans are in the west, will have to attack straight into the rising sun. We'll be able to see them first, certainly. Stupid tactic. But what isn't stupid out here? Sitting in a fat tin can, armed with a two-pound pop gun, hoping like hell we see him before he sees us.
There was a loud squawk from the wireless.
"Dammit, at least turn that thing down!"
"Sir, I think it's Captain Digby. He's upset about something."
Digby. He stared at the horizon, clear, distinct, thought of the officer who sat sucking on that idiotic pipe. His tank smells like a Turkish whorehouse. And he's upset. Good. Bloody fool. Carries fat rolls of maps so he can find his way. In a place with no landmarks, no signposts. Stuffs the damned maps into his ammo holders, and so, he runs out of ammo. Begs the rest of us for help. Just look at the sun, Captain. All the signpost you need.
The radio squawked again, and he heard the voice now. Yep. Digby.
"Rec report ... enemy in motion ... zzzzzzzzz ... two hundred ... zzzzzzzz." The wireless seemed to go dead, and he looked to the north, could see the British tanks in a ragged line. The crews had climbed into their vehicles, and most of the tank commanders were standing up, searching for something across the vast emptiness. He still looked to the north, thought, yep, there's Digby. The sixth tank over. Brew yourself a cup of tea, Captain. There's nothing out here but us Rats.