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An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943
RICK ATKINSON

An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson
949 reviews (2002) (0p)
Pulitzer Prize for History Winner

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Book Description

In the first volume of a remarkable trilogy, Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson provides the definitive history of the war in North Africa.

The liberation of Europe and the destruction of the Third Reich is an epic story of courage and calamity, of miscalculation and enduring triumph. An Army at Dawn begins on the eve of Operation TORCH, the daring amphibious invasion of Morocco and Algeria. After three days of hard fighting against the French, American and British troops push deeper into North Africa.

But the confidence gained after several early victories soon wanes; casualties mount rapidly; battle plans prove ineffectual, and hope for a quick and decisive victory evaporates. The Allies discover that they are woefully unprepared to fight and win this war. North Africa becomes a proving ground: it is here that American officers learn how to lead, here that soldiers learn how to hate, here that an entire army learns what it will take to vanquish a formidable enemy. Many great battle captains emerged in North Africa, including Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and Montgomery. Atkinson brings these commanders vividly to life. He takes us to the front lines of every major battle -- from Oran to Kasserine to Tunis. In North Africa, the Allied coalition came into its own, the enemy forever lost the initiative, and the United States -- for the first time -- began to act like a great power.

Atkinson casts a clear eye on the dark tragedies that haunt every war. The first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, An Army At Dawn is history of the highest order -- brilliantly researched, rich with new material and surprising insights, the deeply human story of a monumental battle for the future of civilization.


Amazon.com Review
In An Army at Dawn,, a comprehensive look at the 1942-1943 Allied invasion of North Africa, author Rick Atkinson posits that the campaign was, along with the battles of Stalingrad and Midway, where the "Axis ... forever lost the initiative" and the "fable of 3rd Reich invincibility was dissolved." Additionally, it forestalled a premature and potentially disastrous cross-channel invasion of France and served as a grueling "testing ground" for an as-yet inexperienced American army. Lastly, by relegating Great Britain to what Atkinson calls the status of "junior partner" in the war effort, North Africa marked the beginning of American geopolitical hegemony. Although his prose is occasionally overwrought, Atkinson's account is a superior one, an agile, well-informed mix of informed strategic overview and intimate battlefield-and-barracks anecdotes. (Tobacco-starved soldiers took to smoking cigarettes made of toilet paper and eucalyptus leaves.) Especially interesting are Atkinson's straightforward accounts of the many "feuds, tiffs and spats" among British and American commanders, politicians, and strategists and his honest assessments of their--and their soldiers'--performance and behavior, for better and for worse. This is an engrossing, extremely accessible account of a grim and too-often overlooked military campaign. --H. O'Billovich


Rick Atkinson Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 1  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 1  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 1 An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 ·  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 1 An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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