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'Alamo In The Ardennes'

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by Martin Bull, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Jun 20, 2002
    Likes Received:
    London, England.
    Oh, dear.:( If this is one of your favourite books, don't read on.

    'Alamo In The Ardennes' by John C McManus ( Wiley, 2007 ) tells the hitherto neglected story of the various units involved in the desperate defence of the Clervaux area against Manteuffel's 5th Army during the opening phases of the Ardennes Offensive.

    As such, it's a book I was really looking forward to reading ; it covers some dramatic action which was vitally important in delaying the German advance on Bastogne. So far, so good.

    But, to me, the book is spoilt by the author's vivid imagination. He seems to revel in describing violent death and wounding. This is OK if used occasionally for dramatic effect. But, open this book at almost any page - as I just did to write this posting...well, here are some samples : -

    'One burst could tear a man to pieces'
    '(Germans ) screamed in fury and desperation as fragments gashed through them'
    'Deadly fire swept through the enemy soldiers, tearing holes in their bodies'
    '( The German's) head exploded into a red and grey halo of blood and brains'
    'The air stank of burned flesh - sickly sweet, distinctly crispy, like a strange mixture of spoiled meat and charcoal'
    'A shell sliced him into two pieces'
    'The severed remains of the crewman burned into a melted lump...'

    And so on, and on, and on......and I'm not even a third of the way through ! :rolleyes: These aren't direct quotes from veterans - they are the authors' words.

    Maybe it's a cultural or personal thing - I like a 'good read' as much as anyone, but I prefer less graphic stuff from Beevor, Hastings, Middlebrook, etc. Compaed to this, Toland or Whiting read like Official Historians.....

    A great, great pity - there's an amazing story being told in this book, but I'm finding the style too distracting. To me it reads more like one of those old 'Commando' or 'Battle' comics.....:(

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