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The Steel Wave (World War II: 1939-1945 #2)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  3,743 ratings  ·  248 reviews
General Dwight Eisenhower once again commands a diverse army that must find its single purpose in the destruction of Hitler's European fortress. His primary subordinates, Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery, must prove that this unique blend of Allied armies can successfully confront the might of Adolf Hitler's forces, who have already conquered Western Europe. On the coas ...more
Hardcover, 493 pages
Published May 13th 2008 by Ballantine Books (first published 2008)
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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueCatch-22 by Joseph HellerSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Best War Novels
176th out of 656 books — 653 voters
Gods and Generals by Jeff ShaaraThe Last Full Measure by Jeff ShaaraGone for Soldiers by Jeff ShaaraRise to Rebellion by Jeff ShaaraThe Glorious Cause by Jeff Shaara
Best of Jeff Shaara
8th out of 21 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mr. Matt
In fiction the middle book in a trilogy often suffers. It is a transition from point A to point B. The first book introduces the crisis. In the second book the main characters suffer a set back. In the final book the crisis comes to a head and the good guys emerge victorious. This doesn't really apply to Shara's brand of historical fiction.

The Steel Wave, I think, will be the best of the three books. It is the tipping point. The Germans have been rocked back in Africa and Italy and are sufferin
I'm a Shaara fan because of the way he makes war personal. You feel like you know and admire and respect the main players in his books, and understand their motivations for the decisions they make. This book had none of that. Every character sounded the same to me--no personality. I also felt like there were a lot of boring details that made it hard to see the big picture of what happened on D-Day. It ended up being a hard book to get through for me.
This is considered a historical novel because rather than being a history of the D-Day landings it focuses on some of the key participants and tells their story and conversations in a narrative format. But the author did his research and got the details right. The main characters it follows in alternating chapters are Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, Gen. George Patton, Sgt. Jesse Adams of the 82nd Airborne and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel for the German viewpoint. There are a few other characters included ...more
Steven Peterson
Jeff Shaara’s father famously authored the historical novel, “Gettysburg.” Since, fils has written a prequel and a sequel to his father’s opus, as well as similar historical novels about the Revolutionary War, the Mexican American War, the First World War, and the Second World War. This is the second of a World War II trilogy, the first having focused on the American war in the Sahara. The focus here is D-Day.

Much has been written about D-Day—fictional and historical. Is there still room for yet
Heh, I just noticed that I finished reading this book about the Normandy Invasion on D-Day.

I had more difficulty getting into this Jeff Shaara novel than I usually do. I think it is because I already knew a lot about the build-up to the invasion. Once D-Day rolled around in the book it got much better. Shaara does a good job describing battle scenes and also does a fine job going over the tactics of the commanders.

I actually felt sorry or the Germans near the end of the book, especially Rommel a
Zohar -
This is the second book of a trilogy by Jeff Shaara (the first being "The Rising Tide) of what's being called "fictional history". The topic for this book is the events leading up and after D-Day (January thru September 1944) seeing through the eyes of the aggressor (Eisenhower), the defender (Rommel), generals (Bradley, Patton, von Rundstedt) and an ordinary soldier (Sergeant Jesse Adams, a paratrooper of the 82nd Airborne.).

The beauty of these books is the way the author weaves the contrastin
"Dundee nodded, slowly, tried to see Henley's face, gone now, as though he never existed. The word came to him again, the word they all understood: expendable. He put his hand on his waist, felt for the pouch, the rocks. He pulled the pouch around in front of him, unfastened the strap, held it up. Mission accomplished. Those bloody engineers had better make some use of this. We lost a good man...for a bag of rocks."

The second novel in Jeff Shaara's trilogy of World War II begins with a covert o
Jason Golomb
Author Jeff Shaara incorporates two real-life quotes in the early pages of his World War II novel, "The Steel Wave", that help set the tone for their respective country's approach, aims and well-known results:

"In war, there is no prize for runner-up."
U.S. General Omar Bradley

"We Germans have far greater and more urgent duty towards civilization to perform...WE, like the Japanese, can only fulfill it by the sword. War is a biological necessity."
Friedrich Von Bernhardi

"Steel Wave" is the second in
"I realized that the greatest drama here is not the event but the raw and frightening uncertainty for everyone involved." So states Jeff Shaara in his introduction to the second volume in his WWII trilogy, and wow, did he ever come through! Though the events of this horrendous war have been chewed over for more than half a century, Shaara brings a sense of immediacy to his recounting that stimulates genuine anxiety in the reader. He's definitely hit his stride as historical novelist, bringing to ...more
Victoria_Grossack Grossack
The Steel Wave is so realistic that I have to wonder if it is actually fiction. I suppose that Shaara decided to go for that classification to give him more leeway in creating thoughts and conversations of his characters. However, the attitudes and language and all the details appear incredibly well researched.

The book is about D-Day. Nevertheless, it starts before D-Day itself, covering a lot of the planning. I liked very much how the very first section covered a group of men several months bef
Sam & Hilary
I'd love to give this novel 5 stars, but I feel I should leave some room for better books to come. I only have two complaints. First, Shaara went into great detail of the planning and preparation of the D-Day invasion, unfortunately he didn't choose to spend much time on the actual beach landings. Secondly, no fault of Shaara's, but due to Pattons uninvolvement of the D-Day invasion, his presence was missed in this story until the very end. I suppose that makes me want to read the 3rd book that ...more
This is an excellent book. As with all of Jeff Shaara's books it provides the history through the words of those who lived it. His ability to build the events using historical documents from those who lived it makes his works come alive. I highly recommend this and any of Shaara's work to people who are interested in learning more about the various struggles our nation has been involved in.
This book follows the author's "The Rising Tide," which I previously reviewed. The same general comments obtain here. This novel is largely about the invasion in Normandy, but covers considerable time both before and after 6 June 44.

Again, the characters include the high (Ike, FDR, Winnie) and the low (a German machine gunner, jump troopers with the 82d Airborne). Fortunately, in this story the good guys always prevail in the end, but there are many moments when one feels blessed that our oppon
Jul 10, 2015 Steve added it
Shelves: bookreporter
World War II is a frequently mined swath of history. Writers
and historians have trod back and forth across those fields of
battle, physically and figuratively, churning out a neverending
stream of books on the subject, all with varying perspectives,
opinions and conclusions. Hollywood has added its visual
representation on many aspects of the war. One section that always
draws major attention is the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6,
1944. With the considerable coverage of this event, one would th
Listened to this book on the way to the beach and back. It was good listen for the trip about D Day and the landing of the American, British and Canadian troops on the beaches of Normandy. June 1944, I liked the details about British General Montgomery, Nazi/German General Rommel, the American Generals, Eisenhower, Bradley, and references to Patton the 3rd Army that he headed.

General Dwight Eisenhower once again commands a diverse army that must find its single purpose in the destruction of Hitl
I just finished listening to the second of Jeff Shaara's WWII trilogy. Like the first in the series, The Rising Tide, this book focuses on a few key individuals, in this case primarily Eisenhower and Rommel, and a recurring character, Sergeant Jesse Adams of the US 82nd Airborne. Adams is not a historical figure but an amalgamation; a device that Shaara uses frequently in his books to illustrate the plight of the common man in battle.

The book is not a slam-bang actioner, with the majority of cha
This book is the second volume of a triology focusing on America's involvement in World War II.

Somehow, I overlooked this #2 and in November 2012, I read #3 No Less Than Victory.

Rommel, under the watchful eye of the Gestapo, was to be eliminated.
Having stayed true to his oath, serving his country,
reminds me of Robert E. Lee, staying true to his state of Virginia.
Rommel, however, is a sad sitiuation, with Hitler's paranoia preventing Rommel from being the effective Field Marshal.

Montgomery, dro
 Dr. Michael Galvin
I enjoyed this book much more than Shaara's earlier WWII book. My criticism of Shaara (and this may be unfair) is that his dialogue does not ring true. If you've spent time in the company of men in either the military or on a sports team you know the language is much more colorful than Shaara portrays. Maybe he is trying to reach a broad audience and doesn't want to offend the more prudish reader or the very young but I find the lack of realistic dialogue a bit detracting.
Fritz Worley
Amazing book. Really enjoyed it cover to cover as would anybody who likes World War 2 history. Only problem in the whole trilogy (and this kills me every time I see it on tv or especially when I read it) he talks about bullets hitting and "sparking." Bullets are made of lead and they do not and never have sparked when they hit anything. I can almost understand it on tv for visual effect to let the veiwer see how close the shots are. but there is zero reason to have such a glaring error in an oth ...more
I think this is the 3rd Shaara book that I've read and the second (albeit out of order) in the WWII series. I'm sensing a pattern to his books: several low ranked individuals who are actual people combined with several high ranked very public people set in an important battle/siege/campaign that takes place of several months. That is NOT a problem. There are so many interesting details and the narrative is sympathetic to both sides of the conflict. The issues of poor communication, inadequate re ...more
Andy Alexis
Enjoyable historical fiction about the DDay landing. The parts that work best are those from the point of view of the common soldier; the parts that seem stiff and cartoonish, IMHO, are those from the points of view of well known figures like the constantly "cigar-chomping" Winston Churchill and gruff but lovable George Patton. My view of these figures, though, is colored by the audiobook version I listened to: in this version, the voice the narrator used for Eisenhowever, for example, sounded t ...more
Tyler Lee
Similar to the style of Michael Shaara's book "The Killer Angels" where the for was the battle of Gettysburg, this book is the story of D-Day of WWII. When you read this book, you see the war on both sides from the top brass all the way down to the lowest foot soldier. This style of writing leads to greater understanding of what the soldiers went through and even better, most of it is historically accurate (the reason I say most is because nobody knows the actual thoughts inside of someone's hea ...more
John Findlay
I really enjoyed this book about D-Day and the Normandy campaign. While it is historical fiction, that designation is probably mostly because the dialogue was made up; the book reads more like a true historical account of the campaign. Shaara makes historical figures like Ike, Bradley, Patton, and Montgomery come alive but also tells the story through the eyes of lower ranking soldiers of whom most of us have never heard. After reading this book, I have a much better picture of what it was like ...more
An enjoyable, easy to read account of the middle stages of World War II. Although historical fiction, and therefore not entirely fact based I suppose, I found Sasra's descriptions of the soldiers reactions to combat to be more natural and descriptive than anything I have read in a historical book.

This book gave the reader a view into the historical events that you don't normally get with a history book. I found the focus on the individual soldiers to be an effective vehicle to tell the story of
The way Jeff Sharra wrote the book is perfect. This is not a non-fiction book; however, this book is a novel that is 100% based in history. The events and characters are; howerver, the dialogue is created by the author. This noval on world war two can only be enjoyed by those that like history, for this book goes through the landings and airboarn opps in France during 1944, from both the axis and allies' perspective. Anyone that enjoys war novels will love this book. So if you read Jeff Shaara's ...more
Jess Hughes
This is the second book in World War II trilogy dealing with the war in Europe and North Africa. The installment deals with the planning and invasion of Western Europe by way of France at Normandy, June 6, 1944 and ends just before the Battle of the Bulge in December.

Again, Shaara tells the story of bloody combat and political haggling that went on behind the scenes during the planning for the invasion through the eyes of historical characters, both allies and German.

The characters include grou
It reads like a movie. Lots of descriptive action, lots of dialog. Scenes alternated between the front and various general's offices on both sides. This one covers D-Day from the planning to the near aftermath. While I liked the pacing in the first half of the book, it did get a bit repetitive after a while. The battle scenes focused on a few paratroopers, and their story was pretty intense - you didn't know how Shaara would write their outcome. But once the battle scenes ended, the focus moved ...more
If you are looking for a WWII novel about D-Day explaining the before, during and after and getting up close and personal into the mindsets of real characters from the Allied forces and from the German military, then look no further. You simply cannot find a more well-written or a more interesting view from both sides that really shows the courage and the apprehensions of those soldiers involved, the justifications of successes and failures from the officers and the obstacles faced from both sid ...more
The Steel Wave: A Novel of World War II is the second book in Shaara's World War II series and is a superior book to the first in almost every way. There is a lot more action (hundreds of pages) and it is intense. The political wrangling that Eisenhower had to endure and master is a theme in every book, but is strongest in this one. The title of the book comes from a comment that Rommel makes about the Allied invasion coming in like a wave of steel into France.

Rommel continues on as a major c
This is the second book in Jeff Shaara's stirring trilogy of the military conflict in the European Theater during WWII. It begins with the initial planning for Operation Overlord, the Allies' massive invasion of France through the beaches at Normandy. As with the first book, Shaara masterfully alternates between the strategy and politics of the Allied and Axis commanders and the lives of the common soldiers on the ground. In this installment, the same paratrooper who participated in the African ...more
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Jeff Shaara, a descendant of Italian immigrants, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey ("Shaara" was originally spelled "Sciarra"). He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Criminology. From age 16, Jeff operated a rare coin business, first out of his home, then in a retail store. After moving to Tampa, Jeff became one of the most widely know ...more
More about Jeff Shaara...

Other Books in the Series

World War II: 1939-1945 (4 books)
  • The Rising Tide (World War II: 1939-1945, #1)
  • No Less Than Victory (World War II: 1939-1945, #3)
  • The Final Storm (World War II: 1939-1945, #4)

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“We had a tough fight here, but dammit, we’re getting the job done. The First and the Twenty-ninth took heavy casualties all day yesterday, and they’re still taking them now.” 0 likes
“Dammit, you’ve got a job to do! He tried to pull energy—confidence—from the faces of the others, even from men who had never done this before.” 0 likes
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