A world at stake


   When the fighting began, the United States and its allies didn’t have enough troops on the ground. The supply system was chaotic; soldiers wore the same uniforms for months. Coalition members didn’t trust each other; for example, some British officers thought American soldiers didn’t have the guts to fight. And battlefield mistakes cost countless soldiers’ lives.
   Iraq 2003? No, North Africa 1942. Operation TORCH, the Allied invasion to rout Nazi Germany’s armies from North Africa, is vividly described in "An Army at Dawn" by Rick Atkinson (2002, Henry Holt and Company). It’s the first volume in Atkinson’s World War II narrative, Liberation Trilogy. The second volume is "The Day of Battle."
   “Army" is a riveting account of America’s baptism by the fire of war. It’s a story peopled by farm boys, insurance salesmen, high school coaches and high school boys called to serve their country. And on the stage of history with them are Eisenhower, Patton, Montgomery, Rommel, Churchill, Roosevelt and the rest of the larger than life figures of that great conflict.