Jeff Shaara has recently turned his attention to World War II in his latest book entitled The Rising Tide. It is the first book of a trilogy covering the European theater.
The book primarily follows Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Erwin General, American paratroop Sergeant Jesse Adams, and American tank gunner Private Jack Logan. He interweaves others – primarily George Patton – throughout the book in accordance with the context. The book covers the North Africa and Sicily campaigns.
If you have never read one of Shaara’s books, be prepared for a first-hand type account. He writes from the first person, which is extremely hard to do, as you might imagine, since he is not the person written about. However, Shaara is able to pull it off. This style provides an engaging and interesting look at the major and minor players in the campaigns. In particular, I like the parts of the book covering Jack Logan because it is a first-hand account of American tankers in action against the German panzers. Shaara describes Logan’s first experience in combat (with the M3 Stuart – a light tank) against the Germans – capturing the frustration of the Americans after learning that their tanks are far inferior to the German tanks.
Although there are parts that drag along, for the most part the pages fly by. Shaara is able to interweave a history lesson amongst the thoughts of the characters. You experience the frustrations of Rommel with regard to the lack of material support from Hitler or Mussolini and the reasons why his Tunisia campaign failed – primarily because of a rival general’s decision to withhold vital tanks and men.
In short, Shaara provides a wonderful window into the minds of the major and minor participants in the North Africa and Sicily campaigns.