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No Less Than Victory.

No Less Than Victory

Jeff Shaara

Ballantine Books, 2009. $28.00, cloth, 449 pp.

Few authors write historical fiction better than Jeff Shaara, and his latest novel meets this expectation. The third book in his World War II trilogy, No Less Than Victory continues the masterful retelling of the war in Europe from the Battle of the Bulge to Germany's unconditional surrender. As his father did in The Killer Angels, Shaara creates a story that is both fiction and non-fiction at the same time. He reconstructs conversations about which no records exist, yet his extensive documentary research allows him to portray them accurately. In one chapter, the reader might experience General Dwight D. Eisenhower speaking with his senior commanders and staffers about strategic options relating to the campaign in Europe. In another chapter, the reader will see the war from the tactical level through the perspective of one of Shaara's fictional characters--perhaps in a B-17 cockpit or in a snow-covered foxhole in the Ardennes Forest. In this way, Shaara effectively weaves a narrative--employing both real and fictional personalities--that provides a top to bottom understanding of the final six months of the war.

What was it like to experience the intense cold of the December 1944 Battle of the Bulge or to bail out of a burning B-17 cockpit? In general terms, Jeff Shaara's visceral descriptions give the reader a historically accurate portrayal of combat conditions in World War II. This reviewer discovered a few minor historical inaccuracies in the story but they did not detract from the overall quality of the novel. For those readers seeking an entertaining and engaging book that describes good history, Shaara's No Less than Victory will not disappoint.

REVIEW BY JOHN J. ABBATIELLO, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY

COPYRIGHT 2010 U.S. Air Force Academy, Department of English
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Author:Abbatiello, John J.
Publication:War, Literature & The Arts
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Jan 1, 2010
Words:337
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