Joe's Reviews > An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943

An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson
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's review
Aug 19, 2010

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Like every red-blooded American male, I thought myself deeply acquainted with the ins and outs of World War II. Rick Atkinson's An Army at Dawn showed me how little I knew about America's prelude to our invasion of Europe - the African campaign of '42 and '43.
Like every good historical writer, Atkinson blends compelling storytelling with exhaustive research and attention to detail. Though he focuses on the perspectives of Eisenhower and Patton, Atkinson acquaints readers with the French and British commanders as well as explaining the enigmatic Erwin Rommel.
An Army at Dawn is the story of World War II most are less familiar with. Eisenhower is unsure of himself and has not settled into being the decisive leader the world would come to know in coming years. France is divided and the first bloodbath of Americans is not on the beaches of Normandy, but in West Africa at the hands of the Vichy French. Patton, however, is just as crazy in Africa as he will show himself to be in Europe. His observations and comments excerpted from his diary are among the most interesting (and amusing) parts of the book.
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