No Silent Night: The Christmas Battle for Bastogne

Leo Barron, Author, Don Cygan, Author
Leo Barron and Don Cygan. NAL Caliber, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-451-23813-9
Paperback - 413 pages - 978-0-451-41485-4
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-101-60273-7
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In a thoroughly researched, densely packed WWII study, historian/military instructor Barron and history teacher/ex-journalist Cygan explore the battle of Bastogne, a key point in the decisive Battle of the Bulge. Utilizing first-hand reports and participant interviews—alongside extensive work in secondary sources—they recreate the days leading up to Germany's doomed, last-ditch Wacht am Rhein offensive, as well as the battle itself, from the perspective of a vast array of participants from both sides. Part textbook study, part military narrative, the book achieves an almost literary quality in dramatized scenes that draws from both recorded conversations and the language of official orders. At some points, the authors try too hard to be comprehensive, causing the narrative to bog down in the sheer wealth of information. In general, though, the in-depth coverage of this historic battle succeeds in painting a colorful, realistic picture of how an all-or-nothing gamble by Hitler turned into a "climactic showdown" for both sides. This may very well be an authoritative work on the subject, yet one that reads more like an action-packed adventure than a scholarly tome. Agent: George Bick, Doug Grad Literary Agency. (Nov.)
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