cover image Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge

Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge

Antony Beevor. Viking, $35 (480p) ISBN 978-0-670-02531-2

Acclaimed British historian Beevor (The Second World War) uses detailed archival research to tell the story of how scattered and surprised American soldiers fought a series of desperate, isolated battles and turned what could have been the worst military defeat in American history into victory. The story of the Battle of the Bulge has been told well many times; to be different, Beevor has included the actions of the French and Americans in the 6th Army Group on the French-German border, which most historians consider to be related but a separate battle. Beevor does add some new and interesting insights, including a discussion of the rampant corruption and criminal activity in the areas under American control, the strain between the French and the other Allies, the difficulty of integrating the resistance movements into the regular forces, and the plight of the civilians caught up in the battle. In addition, he analyzes the significant command problems confronting Supreme Commander Eisenhower: Field Marshal Montgomery’s ego, Gen. Bradley’s hesitancy, and Gen. Hodge’s incompetence. For those already familiar with the battle, Beevor’s intriguing analysis and engaging writing style expertly illuminate both the soldiers’ and generals’ experiences. [em](Nov) [/em]