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The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe
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The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  306 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
American s are justly proud of th e role their country played in liberating Europe from Nazi tyranny. For many years, we have celebrated the courage of Allied soldiers, sailors, and aircrews who defeated Hitler's regime and restored freedom to the continent. But in recounting the heroism of the "greatest generation," Americans often overlook the wartime experiences of Euro ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Free Press
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Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history_modern
A very interesting, balanced and at times confronting book that successfully tries to tackle the complex history of the liberation of Europe by the Allied powers.

I found the nuanced, multi-faceted, well-researched, methodologically accurate and substantially propaganda-free approach by the author something really refreshing, and also something quite uncommonly found in books about this potentially touchy and an highly-sensitive subject even now, 70 years after the end of WWII.

What hit me as one
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I had a number of gripes about this book, I ended up deciding that it was a pretty important book. First the gripes:

1. In the preface he suggests that the reason European nations chose not to participate with the US in the “coalition of the willing” in Iraq was that, having experienced WWII on their own soil and recognizing the terrible price paid by those liberated (as well as the difficulty of the liberators), European countries had a more realistic (and “dark”) understanding of the t
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, world-war-2
The thing about rating a book under such a limited system such as a star rating is that on a personal level one can rate a classic as much as an obscure history tome. This is because in the end it is what one gets out of the book be it entertainment for the sheer enjoyment of a ripping yarn or for the information that is learnt. There have been plenty of fine books that I have learnt a lot from that I have rated highly but others have not. Fine. That is life.

But it has been an interesting read
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-history
Absolutely wonderful book showing the human cost paid by the people of Europe during the Liberation from Nazi Germany occupation and its aftermaths. The book is organised in four parts: liberation of the west (France, Belgium and Netherlands), advance and victory in Germany (inc. Russian Army), the return home of refugees and the war relief efforts (UNRRA) and finally the holocaust.

The author presents the material in a clear and organised manner, each parts starts with a summary of the main eve
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's frankly impossible for anyone to understand and mentally process just how many people were irrevocably affected by the very act of Liberation in 1944-45. Whether it was due to the direct attack via bombings, reprisals by retreating Fascist forces, revenge taken by advancing Soviet forces, or the sheer masses of displaced people (POWs, conscripted labor, and those Jews who'd survived to see the end of the war) suddenly freed from camps across central Europe, the end result was millions upon ...more
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A look at WWII from a non-American point of view. Instead of the typical, "We went over there, helped stop the madness, and lost so many of our own for a worthy cause" this book looks at the choas from the point of view of those noncombatants whose backyard the war was in. Perhaps the children of the European nations recieve more of this type of history than we do as Americans. It was eye-opening for me to hear of the trials that still existed even after the Germans were driven back off previous ...more
carl  theaker
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2

Author Hitchcock is like the coach, who being the father of the star
athlete on the team, berates him continually to curry favor with the
parents of the other less talented kids, and to show he's really a fair

The trials and tribulations of the peoples in German occupied
territories during their liberation are the subject, the Armies of the
USA and Britain are the whipping boys for the author's

The story is a valid, and interesting one, it's the tone that
grates. The modern te
Steve Smits
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Themes of WWII military history (in Europe) are well-recognized by those with even the most casual interest. The astonishing perfidy of the German aggressors, the devastation wrought in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union followed by its massive counter offensive with millions of resuting casualties to its armed forces, the horrific murderousness of Germans directed at Jews and others, the story of the awakening of the American war machine and its stalwart actions on the western front -- these a ...more
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The classic historical narrative of liberation in Europe at the end of World War II is one of celebration, thanksgiving, gratitude, relief. One thinks of images of joyful civilians throwing flowers at Allied jeeps, at soldiers being kissed by grateful young women, of celebrating crowds lining the streets in Paris and other cities. This narrative isn't inaccurate - far from it, all of these things did take place - but it isn't the entire story, and the focus on the more uplifting aspects of liber ...more
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I am interested in WWII books, I chose The Bitter Road to Freedom by William I. Hitchcock. It focusses where other histories often fail to mention or gloss over, namely the often horrible experiences of the civilians as their farms, village, towns and cities became battlefields. The experience of the guys doing the actual fighting are also gone into. What is not in the book except peripherally is much detail on command decisions. If you have ever wondered why the French citizens of Caen we ...more
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