ELEVENTH MONTH, ELEVENTH DAY, ELEVENTH HOUR: Armistice Day, 1918: World War I and Its Violent Climax
A tight focus—the activities of the British and American troops on the final morning of WWI—has yielded a somewhat sprawling study for Persico, who coauthored Colin Powell's My American Journey and whose Roosevelt's Secret War made the cover of several book reviews. Some soldiers laid down their arms and waited quietly for 11 a.m.; others suffered heavy casualties (a total of about 10,000) because aggressive commanders (including General Pershing) insisted on launching assaults right up to the last minute. Incidents of the final morning are sandwiched between an episodic overview of the Anglo-American experience on the Western Front (to the detriment of other nations and theaters of war) and capsule biographies of prominent and ground-level players in the war. The narratives of battles are something of a mixed bag, but more than commonly readable for the lay reader. Although not satisfyingly organized, the book is a good introduction to what it covers for new students of WWI. Agent, ICM. (On sale Nov. 2)
Forecast: While there is no significant armistice anniversary at which this book is timed, a History Channel documentary based on the book will create more new students of WWI, who will know where to turn next.