by Gerald AstorThis book was created by weaving together the individual stories of the men who participated in The Battle of the Bulge near the end of World War ll. The German military offensive was a last ditch attempt by Adolph Hitler to recapture territory that had been lost to the Allied armies and the term “bulge” refers to the resultant break in the Allied front lines. Early on, the German operation had some success due to the operation’s surprise factor, and the strength of German force thrown behind it, not to mention the subterfuge.
Astor helps us to get to know the men of all ranks and from both sides of the conflict and then brings the stories from these men to us as they relate to the battle in chronological order for the six or eight weeks of the military engagement.
The first few hours and days especially come across as very tense and exciting moments. If you want to learn how grueling and terrible the battle was you will certainly learn that from this book. War can often be viewed with rose-colored glasses when looked at from many decades removed from the action. That is not the case here. It is gritty, cold, wet, and pain and hunger filled. You could almost sense that some of these men would have wished for a quick battlefield death compared to the ordeals that they ended up having to go through.
The book is the story of heroes and villains on both sides of the conflict and a portrait of the ugliness of war and of humanity. It is a story and a book that should be read in every history class because it makes the war more tangible.
We learn that the Battle of the Bulge ended up being the nail in NAZI Germany’s coffin, but it was a very costly battle to both the Allies and Germany in terms of lives lost and wounded.
Before reading A Blood-Dimmed Tide, I had known next to nothing about this battle of WWII, and thanks to this book I now know more about the battle, the war, and a little more about the good and bad of humanity.