Against All Odds: A True Story of Ultimate Courage and Survival in World War II

Alex Kershaw. Dutton Caliber, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-18374-8

Kershaw follows up The First Wave with another gripping chronicle of WWII, this time focusing on the U.S. Army’s 3rd Division. Documenting the group’s invasion of North Africa in 1942 and subsequent advance across Italy, France, and Germany, Kershaw highlights the exploits of Medal of Honor recipients including Maurice Britt, Audie Murphy, and Keith Ware. At the four-month siege of Anzio, Italy, Britt, a former football player for the Detroit Lions, lost his right arm. Evacuated to the U.S. as a “vital propaganda figure,” he made radio appearances while 3rd Division regiments liberated Rome and landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy. Audie Murphy and Keith Ware earned their medals of honor for leading counterattacks in the Colmar Pocket, an area of “formidable German resistance” in Alsace, France, during the harsh winter of 1944–1945. After crossing the Rhine River into Germany, 3rd Division units stormed Nuremberg, concluding “an epic odyssey of combat and liberation” fought by “arguably the finest U.S. infantry division of World War II.” Though the transitions between top commanders and frontline soldiers are sometimes awkward, Kershaw describes his subjects’ heroic acts with earthy exuberance and lucidly explains military strategy. WWII buffs will be enthralled. (Mar.)
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