Academic journal article Military Review

The Rising Tide

Academic journal article Military Review

The Rising Tide

Article excerpt

THE RISING TIDE, Jeff Shaara, Ballantine Books, New York, 2007, 536 pages, $15.95.

The Rising Tide is the first of three historical novels Jeff Shaara intends to write about the North African and European campaigns of World War II. As both a novel and a history, the book is a compromise, and as with most compromises, it ends with acceptable but not memorable results. The history is superficial, and the novel does little to develop characters of interest. Shaara advances the story by focusing on his primary characters, some of them famous and others composites of several Soldiers. Generals Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, and Erwin Rommel represent the former, and Private Jack Logan and Sergeant Jesse Adams the latter.

Quite heavy-handed at times, Shaara never misses a chance to mention General Bernard Montgomery's tendency to be hesitant and cautious. Since Shaara tells much of the story through Patton's experiences, there is no shortage of commentary regarding Montgomery's timidity, but the author piles on by having Rommel make the same observations regarding "Monty's" lack of audacity.

There are some strengths to the book. Shaara makes the point that Rommel would have won his North African campaign had he received the ammunition and gasoline he requested, suggesting that what a commander wants to do and what he can do are limited by fuel, ammunition, and equipment, an obvious point often forgotten by armchair generals. …

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