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Saturday, November 6, 2010

No Less Than Victory: A Novel of World War II by Jeff Shaara

No Less Than Victory: A Novel of World War II is the final book in Shaara’s World War II trilogy is very similar to the second book, which makes sense since it is a continuation of the same campaign. The Allies continue their quest to push across France and into Germany. Patton looms as a larger and larger character. The part of the noble German soldier, previously played by Rommell is filled by Karl Rudolf Gerd Von Rundstedt, so much so that the reader may not even miss the Rommell character at all.

The battle sequences are stirringly told. The “Battle of the Bulge” is told quite well from the point of view of three of the very few soldiers of the 106th  that made it through the battle without being killed or captured (this was Kurt Vonnegut’s unit, by the way, but he does not appear in the book).


 Shaara spends a lot of time in the book among the inner circle of Hitler’s loyal command, with people like Albert Speer and Martin Bormann. It is an interesting choice to do so, but I would have preferred that he had not done it. It would have been even more interesting to have looked at the common foot soldier that continued to fight after the war was completely lost and seen what their motivations were (perhaps this interest comes from a college class I had more than 20 years ago where we met a man who was just that – a common foot soldier who abandoned the Eastern Front and marched across Austria and Germany to surrender to American troops).

Eisenhower at Ohrdruf


Shaara’s tale of the liberation of the Ohrdruf concentration camp was shocking, visceral and powerful. Very well done.

I would rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on November 6, 2010.

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