Firefall

Ed Ruggero, Author, Ruggero, Author, Paul McCarthy, Editor Atria Books $22 (368p) ISBN 978-0-671-73010-9
American Army Rangers parachuting into the winter German countryside believe they are part of a peaceful multinational training exercise but, in a frighteningly believable vision of possible European political developments, a fanatical German Reserve Army contingent has begun a military coup to drive out the American presence. Major Mark Isen, hero of Ruggero's 38 North Yankee and The Common Defense , first attributes the lack of coordination and suppport for his exercise to miscommunication. Soon, however, the deadly truth emerges: the Rangers are the target of enemy fire. Frightened, cold, hungry, exhausted, the men group and regroup, relying on training that may not, in this peacetime Army, be appropriate. Without air support, with faltering communications, they struggle to hold their positions while the politicians in Berlin and Washington posture and strategize. As the fighting reaches its bloody climax, civilians and Rangers alike become casualties. Unlikely heroes emerge as panic and despair begin to destroy the command structure. The men die in the forests and against the roadsides; they lose their comrades and their minds. Ruggero's concentration on ground maneuvers, focused tightly on the Rangers in their terrifying isolation, is a powerful indictment of the possible consequences of our current military draw-down. No peace dividend here. The author, a former Army infantry officer, is a professor of English at West Point. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/02/1994
Release date: 05/01/1994
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-671-73011-6
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