guess I’ve been in a World War Two mindset these days. Saw Jeff Shaara’s The Rising Tide in one of those curbside libraries and it caught my eye. I’ve never read any of Shaara’s books and even though this is book one of three (and since it’s a used book, it’s doubtful I’ll stumble over the other two like this), I decided to give it a try.
So The Rising Tide has an interesting premise – the author fictionalizes history just a bit, telling the stories of WW2 from the battles in North Africa to the Torch invasion to Sicily to the beachheads of Italy. But rather than relate the facts, he tells it from the points-of-view of characters involved.
First off, there are two totally-fictional characters (I’m assuming fiction, but not totally sure) , one an American tanker, the other a paratrooper, with whom we follow through their various campaigns. But, weirdly (and wonderfully, because it works) we also ride in the heads of famous people (Rommel, Patton, Eisenhower) and see the war from their viewpoints.
In all, it’s a fascinating book that tells most of what really happened (along with maps of a various campaigns) in a compelling format. And I’ll admit, I learned a lot, including the fact that the American troops were actually fighting against various French units in the North African invasions. Also, I had only a passing understanding of Kasserine Pass (we were supposed to see it in our Tunisian tour but opted for Zama (Hannibal’s big failure) instead) but the book really gave me a detailed understanding of what occurred there.
I wasn’t sure if a fictionalization of actual living people would work but the author pulled it off. Who knows – I’ll keep this fellow in mind when I’m hunting about the Norfolk bookstores in a few weeks.